Category Archives: Member Announcements


Student Leaders to Represent Communities at 54th Florida YMCA State Assembly

Nearly 500 students representing 25 high schools and 12 State YMCA Associations will travel to the 54th Annual Florida YMCA Youth In Government – “YIG” – State Assembly, held at the state capitol in Tallahassee this Thursday, February 24th to Saturday, February 26th. Students will have the opportunity to serve in the actual Senate and House chambers and Supreme Court during the 3-day session. State Assembly convenes Thursday evening with the swearing-in of Youth Governor Alex Fahnlander (Fort Myers – Lee County YMCA) and Lt. Governor Chelsea Jordan (Lakeland – West Central Florida YMCA), then gavels into order at the capitol on Friday morning at 9:00 AM and adjourns sine die on Saturday at 3:20 PM.

The students attending this year’s assembly continue a tradition that spans more than a half-century, with many YMCA Youth In Government alumni now serving at the local, state and national levels. Notable alumni in public service include newly elected US Congressman Dennis Ross of Lakeland, Florida Speaker of the House Dean Cannon of Winter Park, State Representative Seth McKeel of Lakeland, and newly appointed Circuit Judge Nicholas Thompson of the Twentieth Circuit Court in Lee County.

When asked about his experience in the program, Congressman Ross explained how Youth In Government “fosters those leadership qualities in students which are necessary for their future success – dedication, commitment, compromise, and respect. I know first hand, I participated in the program when I was in high school, and it lit the fire of my desire to become a legislator.”

The YMCA Youth In Government State Assembly represents the culmination of the year-round YMCA civic engagement and service-learning program that offers high school students in both school and YMCA-based chapters around the state the opportunity to participate in a youth-run, youth-led model government process. Youth Governor Alex Fahnlander, along with her fellow 11 Presiding Officers have served as a youth “Board of Directors” for the program since their election last February, meeting throughout the year to plan and facilitate the program for their peers.

Youth Governor Fahnlander has stated that reforming Florida’s foster care system and protecting funding for arts-related education are the top priorities for her administration’s FY2012 state budget and legislative agenda. House Speaker Nathaniel Rossum (Orlando – Central Florida YMCA) and Senate President Hilary Jessup (Fort Myers – Lee County YMCA) have made increasing efficient mass transit and tax incentives for bringing new, innovative manufacturing jobs to Florida the top issues on their respective legislative dockets during the session. Current issues such as financing high-speed rail and teacher merit pay/tenure are also the subjects of student legislation expected to reach the floor in both chambers.

2011 marks the 75th Anniversary for the national YMCA Youth In Government movement. Clement “Pete” Duran of the Albany YMCA established the program in New York in 1936. The Florida program – then the Florida YMCA Youth Legislature – was first held in December of 1957 under the leadership of T. Aubrey Morse of the Tallahassee YMCA. Today, YMCA Youth In Government provides service learning and civic engagement opportunities for over 56,000 students around the United States.


USFP Engineering Expo Honors Engineers Week

The University of South Florida Polytechnic will present an Engineering Expo Feb. 24 from 1 pm to 4 pm in the LTB auditorium.  Sponsored by the USFP Engineering Club, the event is being held in honor of Engineers Week, an internationally recognized event that occurs Feb. 20-26.

The event is free and open to the public.  It will feature engineering displays from local and out-of-state organizations and companies as well as research exhibits from USFP faculty members and students.  The event will also have hands-on-activities and show engineering-related movies and scientific videos.

Sponsored by the USFP Engineering Club, the event is being held in honor of Engineers Week, an internationally recognized event that occurs Feb. 20-26. For more details contact Rebekah Pratt at or (863) 667-7728.


French-American symposium explores trade possibilities

To promote trade between France and Florida, the University of South Florida Polytechnic and the Central Florida Development Council held a French-American Symposium on Trade Feb. 7 at CFDC’s office in Auburndale.   The event focused on policies and programs that will help define central Florida as an innovation hub and a business destination for French technology companies and a model of university-industry partnerships that will foster research, innovation and entrepreneurship. France is a major trading partner with Florida and has growing business and investment interests in the State. Similarly, Florida seeks new opportunities for business in France.

More than 60 people attended the symposium, including local and French officials and business leaders, university researchers, economic development officer, entrepreneurs and civic leaders.

Featured speakers included Gael de Maisonneuve, consul general of France in Miami, and Michael Schiffhauer, senior director of field operations and European trade development, Enterprise Florida.

“To enhance Florida’s competitiveness we want to make it a worldwide destination for business and investment, not just tourism” said Schiffhauer, noting that more than 180 major French companies have a presence in the Sunshine State. “We’re part of a global society, and foreign investment is crucial for our long-term development. We hope to promote synergy between Florida and France. What we do today will have a lasting effect. Enterprise Florida stands with you to help build the future.”

According to de Maisonneuve, more than 80 Florida companies have operations in France. “We love America,” he said. “We have a long history of friendship and a healthy and active dialogue. We enjoy a spirit of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.”

The symposium was the first of a series of events sponsored by the Florida-France Linkage Institute, one of 11 Florida Binational Institutes created by the Florida Legislature to promote business, educational, cultural, and scientific exchange between Florida and other nations and regions of the world. Originally entrusted to USF, Florida State and Miami Dade College, the FFLI has been recently extended to USF Polytechnic in view of its important and promising network of relationships with France and its particular mission regarding science and technology. Didier Rousselière, director of global partnerships at USF Poly, also serves as co-director of FFLI.

“The symposium on trade arose from the developing relationship with partners in the South of France to bring additional academic excellence, research capabilities and business opportunities to USF Polytechnic and this region,” says Rousseliere. “The event was preceded by the establishment of a series of partnerships with business and engineering schools, research labs and business incubators. It will be followed by more exchange programs that will support research, innovation, academic programs and internship opportunities, business ventures and opportunities.”

According to Rousseliere, the event showcased USF Polytechnic’s model of applied science, technology focus and university-industry partnerships, the role of its business incubation program, particularly the soft landing zone program, and the policies, efforts and initiatives at all levels that are converging to create an innovative ecosystem focused on developing the 21st century model of education, clusters of industry and world presence that will drive the economy forward in years to come.

“USF Polytechnic has a global frame of reference,” said Dr. Joe McCann, assistant dean, College of Technology and Innovation. “We look for multicultural effectiveness and want to help create students who can work effectively across cultures.”

Part of the outcome from the symposium came in the creation of an economic intelligence office to help further identify business opportunities between central Florida and southeastern France, and the soft landing zone designation for our Blue Sky business incubation program, which will help market our region internationally.

To that end, USFP will sign an agreement with the PACA East incubator in France’s Sophia Antipolis technology park within the next three months. The university also arranged for a program of videoconferences with three innovative French companies in the IT field that seek help setting up U.S. operations in the near future.


PACE Center for Girls Seeking Board Members

Those looking to make an impact in the community should consider board service.

PACE Center for Girls offers a unique learning environment for young women who might be at risk in the traditional school setting. Board members who are dedicated, caring and committed to making a difference in Lakeland and Polk County are invaluable to the success of PACE.

To learn more about PACE Center for Girls and to inquire about requirements for board service, please contact board member Eleanor Gardner at (863) 284-2633 or


FSC to Offer Premier CPA Exam Prep Class; Open to Public

As part of its mission to fully prepare students for employment upon graduation, Florida Southern College is now offering a high-quality CPA exam prep class for aspiring certified public accountants. This new 10-week series of classes is open to the public as well as Florida Southern College students.

The first course begins Saturday, March 12, and will meet on subsequent Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This high-quality prep class will allow students to receive instruction from faculty members who hold doctorates and who also have professional accounting experience.

This premier class offering will be based on the Gleim CPA Review System, a course of study that is rapid, thorough, and proven to provide optimum results as students prepare for this professional exam. The size of the CPA exam prep class at FSC will be limited in order to better facilitate small-group study, personal attention, and a strong likelihood for student success.

Among other benefits of Florida Southern’s CPA exam class: The cost is affordable at $2,299. FSC offers a pay-as-you-go option and is offering a 25 percent discount for firms that sign up four or more participants. Free parking on campus and free lunches with peers and instructors will be provided. In addition, students may retake any portion of the course, given they meet certain restrictions.

Those interested should call 863-680-4279 or send an e-mail to for more information. Visit to register.

About the CPA Exam

The CPA exam has its origins in New York’s 1896 public accounting legislation. In 1917, the American Institute of CPAs began to prepare and grade a uniform CPA exam. The CPA exam is currently used to measure the technical competence of aspiring CPAs in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. The CPA exam is divided into four units: Business Environment and Concepts; Auditing and Attestation; Regulation; and Financial Accounting and Reporting.