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Networking with the Phantom of Youkey Theater

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 2, 2018) — You won’t want to miss this romantic and mysterious Business After Hours on Tuesday night, May 15, 2018. The RP Funding Center presents The Phantom of the Youkey Theater for one night only! Enjoy wonderful hors d’oeuvres, libations, and over 200 fellow member-investors. The classic black & white silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, will be playing as guests explore the Youkey Theater in hopes of catching a glimpse of the rumored Phantom of the Youkey Theater!

The party is starting earlier this month since we could not wait until our traditional Thursday to hold the event. So, please join us on Tuesday! We encourage you to adjust your schedule to attend this special event.

“The team and I at RP Funding Center are excited to host Business After Hours for a second year. We believe we have put together a Phantom of the Opera evening that will allow Chamber members to network and socialize in a special setting,” comments Tony Camarillo, Executive Director of the RP Funding Center.

The historic centerpiece of the RP Funding Center is the 2,226 seat Youkey Theater. The theater is named for Robert Youkey, former Lakeland City Manager, who had the vision to build the Lakeland Center for his community. The theater is home to the annual Broadway & Special engagements; the Imperial Symphony Orchestra; and is ideally suited for dance events, plays and concerts. The theater also offers the flexibility for meetings and general sessions and other corporate events.

05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the disfigured Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he “loves” a star. The film remains most famous for Chaney’s ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere. The film was released on November 25, 1925.

Before you enter the Youkey Theater, please take time to meet the teen CEOs from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk). They will be displaying their product and services and are excited to meet with you. You won’t want to miss this! Meet new contacts! Reconnect with fellow members!

Name: Business After Hours with The Phantom of the Youkey Theater

Register Now:  https://bit.ly/2jolIOb

Location: RP Funding Center, 701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL 33815

Date/Time Information:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

Contact Information:  Katie McBride (863) 688-8551 ext 236, or kmcbride@lakelandchamber.com

Fees/Admission:  $10 investors | $30 non-members


RP Funding Center

Central Florida’s premiere entertainment, sports and convention venue offers loads of indoor entertainment, and is within walking distance of downtown Lakeland’s unique shopping and dining options.

Arena, Theater, Exhibit Hall and Conference Center

The RP Funding Center is the only multipurpose facility in Central Florida with four distinct venues under one roof: the 10,000-seat George Jenkins Arena, 2,186-seat Youkey Theater, 28,000-square feet Exhibit Hall, and 34,000-square feet Conference Center.

Broadway Series

Theatre lovers enjoying a Central Florida vacation will enjoy The RP Funding Center’s annual Broadway Series, featuring five nationally touring productions. Enjoy upbeat musicals, on the edge-of-your-seat dramas and timeless classics. Locals who subscribe to their Broadway Series Subscription Package receive entrance into all five shows, free parking, priority seating, special discounts and 10 percent off pre-show dining.

Entertainment Series

The RP Funding Center’s annual Entertainment Series brings down the house with thrilling live concerts, ballets, standup comedy, dance performances and more.

Famous groups and performers who have and will take part in the entertainment series include The Tenors, Neil Sedaka, various Dancing with the Stars alumni, America’s Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho and Kathy Griffin.

Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic

If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic, you must go. Professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash, shiny gold buckles, and most importantly, the title of champion – it’s a boot scootin’ good time.

Public Ice Skating

One of the coolest things to do at The RP Funding Center in November and December is ice skating. Dates are scheduled to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and sometimes summer vacation.


Annual favorites for Central Florida visitors include Collectorama, featuring collectibles including currency, knives, watches more; Buckler Arts & Craft Show, which occurs in the summer and fall; The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the winter; Snowbird Extravaganza, which features 50,000 sq. ft. of vendors and entertainment; the Log & Timber Home Show and Lakeland VW Classic, which is held outdoors and features multiple vendors and a parts swap. The RP Funding Center also hosts multiple knife and gun shows each year, and the occasional boating and hunting expo.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes.


New Agape Mission Market

johnJoin Bishop John Noonan for the blessing of the new Agape Mission Market on May 14, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.

This farmer’s market style food pantry is the first of its kind in Polk County.

Catholic Charities Polk County Ministries has plans to develop additional Agape Mission Markets in Lakeland and Winter Haven to serve those in need.


Free Seminar on Eminent Domain in Preparation for US Highway 92 Expansion and Improvement

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 30, 2018) — The Florida Department of Transportation project to expand and improve US 92 (New Tampa Highway) from County Line Road to Wabash has been funded for 2020 and 2021 for obtaining right of way.

Now is the time for any business or landowner to take action to protect their property rights and/or get fair compensation for their business or property. Learn more about how you can prepare for this FDOT project, and the actions needed to protect your property and business with Guest Speaker Deborah Ruster of Peterson & Myers. Before joining Peterson & Myers, Deborah Ruster was a senior condemnation attorney with the Department of Transportation for six years. Since then she has been in private practice representing property owners and governments in eminent domain cases.

This seminar is free to the public and will cover topics such as how this project will impact you, what forms of compensation may be available, and what tricks and traps to look out for.

Sponsorships available!

Name: Enlightened Byte: Eminent Domain Timeline

Date: May 24, 2018

Time: 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM EDT

Location:  Peggy Brown Building, 215 S Lake Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801

Contact Information:  Send an Email or call (863) 688-8551 ext. 229

Fees/Admission:  Free with required registration – limited space available.

Registration:  https://bit.ly/2HB32W6 or at www.lakelandchamber.com



Belk Charity Day Sale

100% of $5 Ticket Sale Proceeds Go to Local Charities

First 100 Customers Receive Gift Cards, Chance to Win More


Thousands of participating charities across Belk’s 16-state footprint benefit from Belk’s semi-annual charity sales. Belk believes in supporting the communities it serves and wants to continue that tradition.


Belk’s spring charity sale of the year will take place Saturday, May 5 from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. in all Belk stores. The four-hour, in-store shopping event is an excellent fundraising tool for participating organizations that sell $5 tickets to their supporters. It’s also an opportunity for customers to give back to local nonprofits while taking advantage of special in-store discounts on purchases during the event.


On the morning of the Belk Charity Sale, the first 100 customers to arrive at each store will receive a Belk gift card, ranging in value from $5 to $100 and a chance to win one of three $1,000 Belk gift cards being awarded companywide. All customers will receive $5 back on their first purchase. Also, participating charities and schools will be registered to win one of three $1,000 donations from Belk in a company-wide drawing.


Last year, the two Belk Charity Sale events raised more than $13 million for thousands of schools and community nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Belk markets.


In addition to buying tickets from participating nonprofits, beginning Monday, April 23 tickets may also be purchased at Belk stores, with all revenues from in-store ticket sales equally divided among participating charities and schools in each local store.


Charity representatives interested in taking part in this one-of-a-kind fundraising event should contact their local Belk store manager for more information. In order to participate in the Belk Charity Sale, organizations must have an IRS Section 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service.


For more information about the Belk Spring Charity Sale, contact your local Belk store @ (863)688-7872 or visit belk.com/charitysale.


GEICO Business Academy Earns Top National Accreditation

downloadNational Career Academy Coalition Honors GEICO Business Academy as Model Academy

Lakeland, FL, April 26, 2018: The National Career Academy Coalition, a group dedicated to the support and sustainability of career academies (ncacinc.com), awarded the GEICO Academy of Advanced Business Management at George Jenkins High School the highest category of accreditation: Model Academy. The GEICO Academy is the 68th career academy in the United States to earn NCAC Model Academy recognition. To date, five of George Jenkins academies have earned Model Academy status: GEICO Business (2018), Engineering and Architecture (2018), Design & Technology (2017), Medical (2017) and Law (2017).
GJ’s GEICO Academy staff, students and advisory board members worked for months to compile documentation to meet the NCAC 10 Standards of Practice requirements:
1. Defined Mission and Goals
2. Academy Design
3. Host Community and High School
4. Faculty and Staff
5. Professional Development and Continuous Learning
6. Governance and Leadership
7. Teaching and Learning
8. Employer, Post-Secondary Education, and Community Involvement
9. Student Assessment
10. Sustainability

The application process was started in August, 2017 and completed in April, 2018. Academy teachers met with Polk District personnel on a regular basis to work on the NCAC standards requirements. After submission of the required documentation, NCAC officials performed an in-person evaluation, including a tour of the academies and interviews with staff, students and advisory board members. GEICO Academy student ambassadors, Christopher Rex and Evan Cole, worked with academy advisory board members and teachers to develop a presentation that was shown to the NCAC reviewers during their evaluation. They did an exceptional job and were lauded for having produced one of the best presentations District personnel had experienced.

The GEICO Academy of Advanced Business Management was started in 2011 to provide skills for student success in college and careers. The academy offers several courses, including: Digital Information Technology, Accounting Applications Honors, Entrepreneurship Honors and Management/HR Honors. Academy students also have the opportunity to earn professional level certifications in Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and Internet Business. Students learn about money management, marketing, production, customer service, networking and many other soft and hard business skills. Through GEICO and other community partners, Academy students get to meet and learn from community professionals and participate with monthly guest speakers and field trips.

For more information, please contact GEICO Academy Instructor, Stacy Huey at stacy.huey@polk-fl.net or the Academy Administrator, Brad Hiers at william.hiers@polk-fl.net.