Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Bring Europe Home! Host a Spanish Student This Summer

A local organization that facilitates intercultural experiences for Spanish students is seeking host families for students who will be in Polk County from July 2 through July 27, 2011. The students are aged 13 to 19. Housing for two adult chaperons is also being sought.

According to Teresa Martinez, President of the Institute of Spanish Communications, Inc., the host families will be asked to provide room and board for the visitors for the duration of their stay, as well as transportation to and from Polk State College’s Winter Haven campus four days a week. The students, participants in the Padre Manyanet Language Program, will be engaged in English language training and exposed to a range of cross-cultural experiences throughout central Florida.

“Over the years,” said Martinez, “We have found that the host family adds a great deal of value to the young visitors’ experience — but also that the family is enriched by the experience as well. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring a bit of Europe to your home, without even having to get a passport!”

Polk County families interested in learning more about the experience should contact the Institute of Spanish Communications, Inc. at (863) 646-5141 or by e-mail:

Inquiries should be made no later than May 31, 2011.


USF Poly offers MBA info sessions

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a professional degree designed to prepare graduates for managerial roles in business and not-for-profit organizations

To help prospective students learn more about its MBA programs, the University of South Florida Polytechnic will offer the following free MBA information sessions:

May 11

Noon and 5 PM

USFP Blue Sky West

116 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland

May 12

Noon and 5 PM

USF Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland

May 17

6 PM

USF Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland

May 25

6 PM

USF Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland

USFP’s “flex MBA” program features flexible part-time and full-time formats, convenient evening/weekend schedules, accommodations for extensive and limited work experiences, an individualized professional development plan with access to internships, professional mentors, and executive learning opportunities. It is the only local program holding the most prestigious accreditation through AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

For more information call (863) 667.7058, email or visit


Tiger Town to Host Junior College State Championships

Some of the best baseball players in the state of Florida will be in Lakeland May 7-11 as Tigertown hosts the 2011 Florida Community College Activities Association (FCCAA) State Tournament.

The tournament begins at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. as Chipola (33-19) takes on Lake-Sumter (26-20).  The action continues at 1:00 p.m. when State College of Florida (33-18) takes on Broward (26-16).  At 4:00 p.m. Santa Fe (35-9-1), currently ranked #1 in the country, battles Northwest Florida State (36-13) ranked #9 in the country.  The last game on day one has Polk State College (40-10-1), currently ranked #2 in the state and #6 in the country taking on Indian River (28-20-1) at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets to the FCCAA tournament will be available as follows:
Tournament Pass – $25
Daily Pass – $10 ($9 for children 14 and under)
Championship Game Ticket Only – $5
Parking is Free

The winner of the tournament will advance to the National Junior College Activities Association (JUCO) 54th Annual World Series to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado at Suplizio Field May 28-June 4.
The full FCCAA schedule is listed below.  For more information please visit or contact the Tigers at (863) 686-8075.

Saturday, May 7
10:00 a.m.        Chipola vs. Lake-Sumter
1:00 p.m.        Broward vs. State College of Florida
4:00 p.m.        Santa Fe vs. Northwest Florida State
7:00 p.m.        Polk State College vs. Indian River

Sunday, May 8

10:00 a.m.        Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
1:00 p.m.        Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser
4:00 p.m.        Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
7:00 p.m.        Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Monday, May 9

1:00 p.m.        Game 9
4:00 p.m.        Game 10
7:00 p.m.              Game 11

Tuesday, May 10

1:00 p.m.        Game 12
4:00 p.m.        Game 13

Wednesday, May 11

10:00 a.m.             Game 14 (Championship)
1:00 p.m.              Game 15 (If necessary)


Chamber Presents The Restaurant Mom

Is your business ready for LEGOLAND Florida Visitors?

This October, the demographics of visitors to Polk County will change. As LEGOLAND Florida puts the finishing touches on the brand’s newest and largest theme park, Polk County businesses are gearing up for visiting families.

Although LEGOLAND Florida will be a destination for visitors of all ages, the park is designed for children ages two to 12. The Central Florida Visitors and Convention Bureau expects hundreds of thousands of young children, parents and grandparents to visit Polk County!

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, The Lakeland Center and the Central Florida Visitors and Convention Bureau have partnered to offer a free presentation on specific strategies designed to help businesses become more family-friendly on Wednesday, May 25 from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at The Lakeland Center, 701 West Lime Street in Lakeland.

Julie Casey, The Restaurant Mom, is the industry’s leading expert on family-friendly dining and will be presenting keys to increasing revenues through the family market segment.  As a former restaurant employee herself, The Restaurant Mom knows what it is like to be on both sides of the table, and brings many years of research in consumer dining behavior to her presentation.  All businesses related to the hospitality industry will gain valuable insight from this presentation, not just restaurants! Learn more about Julie Casey at

LEGOLAND Florida stands to make a huge impact on the economy of Polk County, especially when businesses are poised and ready to serve!

This presentation is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.  Please make your reservations today at  The reservation deadline is May 20.


Alabama Native Taking Donations to Storm Victims

Alabama native, Angie Birdwell now calls Lakeland home. As the Director of the Lakeland Campus of Webster University, Angie is a familiar face to many Chamber members.

This weekend, Angie and her family are making an important trek to her home state; one with significance for family members and friends stranded in the tornado-ravaged areas of the state.

In partnership with a Red Cross Distribution Center, Angie is collecting much needed clothes, shoes and personal hygiene items. To expedite the process, all donations should be separated and labeled as mens, womens, or childrens.

Help Angie and her family load up the truck! Donations are accepted at Webster University from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., now until Thursday (May 5). The campus is located at 1479 Town Center Drive, Ste 202 – on the second floor at Lakeside Village.