Leadership Brandon Graduates

Leadership Brandon

The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Leadership Brandon Class of 2009. Thirty-four class members were recognized after the completion of the year- long program. Graduation ceremonies were held in May at Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association. University of South Florida Head Football Coach, Jim Leavitt, was the keynote speaker for the event. The Leadership Brandon program is a series of seminars, tours and interactive presentations concentrating on various phases of leadership development and community awareness. The program is open to all. Nominations for the Class of 2010 are currently underway.

For more information or to make a nomination, contact Crystal Colegrove at 689-1221, ext. 8824, or ccolegrove@brandonchamber.com. Nomination forms for the Class of 2010 are also available at www.brandonchamber.com.

Mortgage Help Offered

The DCF Office on Homelessness will begin accepting Emergency Financial Assistance for Housing Program (EFAHP) applications in July. The program can pay up to $400 once per year for overdue rent or mortgage payments or for a security deposit for a household that is homeless, being evicted or whose housing has been damaged by fire, a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Applications are available at www.dcf.state.fl.us/homelessness or by calling 1-877-891-6445.

Better Your Business

Upcoming seminars at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, located at 330 Pauls Dr., Ste.100, in Brandon, include: Smart Start Your Business, on Tuesday, July 14, from 10 a.m.–12 Noon; Marketing Series Part I, on Tuesday, August 4, from 10 a.m.–12 Noon; and Marketing Series Part II, on Tuesday, August 11, from 10 a.m.–12 Noon.

For more information, call 689-1221.

Advantage Center’s Board Meets

The Brandon Community Advantage Center Board of Directors meets the second Thursday of the month at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce building at 330 Pauls Dr. in Brandon. The BCAC is a freestanding special events center and multi-use facility for the greater Brandon area. Meetings start at 4:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

For more information, call 413-8878.

MOMS Club Invites New Members

MOMS Club of Valrico, a nonprofit organization providing support to stay-at-home moms and their children, offers a monthly calendar filled with park days, holiday parties, field trips, Moms Night Outs, weekly playgroups and other activities.

Contact Valrico MOMS Club at valricomomsclub@yahoo.com or call Diane at 661-0860 for more information.

Volunteers Needed

Cynthia Pinckney Ministries, Inc. is looking for storage unit help on Saturdays, August 8, September 5, October 10, November 7, 14 and 21, at Public Storage, located at 1351 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon.

For more information, call 657-8770.

Company Needs Your Votes

Marilyn and Brian Custer of Freedom Excursions offer a care-free day on the water to American heroes, taking wounded soldiers from the VA as well as their families on water excursions. Each trip is catered to the physical abilities and desires of the participants. They have been able to offer these wonderful opportunities by volunteering their own time, as well as donations from friends and neighbors. Freedom Excursions has entered a photo contest to win $5,000, with an opportunity to win $10,000. Winners are determined by viewer votes. So, help them by giving them your vote. To vote, please visit www.DiscoverBoating.com, clicking on “Video and Photo Contest,” then “View & Rate Photo’s.” The title of the photo is: “What are you Waiting for?”

To learn more about Freedom Excursions, please visit www.freedomexcursions.org.

Republicans Move Locations

The Hillsborough County Republican Party recently moved locations from 800 W. Lumsden Rd. to 1602 Oakfield Dr., Ste. 207, in Brandon.

For more information, call 657-6499.

Come Picnic at Plaza Bella

Picnic at the Plaza will be held at Plaza Bella, located at 1078 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, on Saturday, July 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., benefiting the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO). Donations are welcome.

For more information, call 689-0523.

Chamber Offers New Savings Program

The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the second release of the “Dining Dollars” card for $5, which offers cardholders an opportunity to receive discounts at 14 chamber-affiliated restaurants until December. The “Dining Dollars” cards are available at the chamber, located at 330 Pauls Dr., Ste. 100, Brandon, or online at www.brandonchamber.com.

For more information, call 689-1221 or email jnoah@brandonchamber.com.

Group Presents Local CEOs

YP Brandon presents CEO Unplugged on Thursday, July 16, from 6-7:30 p.m. at River Hills Country Club, located at 3943 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico. Tickets are $10 to attend, with refreshments included.

For more information, contact Amy at abelliveau@brandonchamber.com or visit www.ypbrandon.com.

Recycle Your Cell Phone For Soldiers

Drop off your unused cell phones at Pak Mail, located at 2420 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon, so that they can be recycled. The proceeds from the recycling are used to purchase one-hour phone cards for our soldiers. A free one-hour phone card will be included with any package shipped to an APO or FPO.

For more information, call 643-0405.

Free Car Seat Check-Ups

Babies“R”Us, located at 11201 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon, will host a complimentary Buckle Up & Boogie Workshop on the last Tuesday of every month – July 28, August 25, September 29, October 27, November 24 and December 29 – at 6:30 p.m., where new and expectant parents will learn about the features and benefits of car safety seats as well as how to safely select, properly use and correctly install the seats.

For more information, please call 685-7899.

Convoy of Hope Coming

A Convoy of Hope outreach is a special event that will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds, located at 4800 N U.S. Hwy. 301 in Tampa, on Saturday, August 1, designed to help families in need across the United States.

Churches or organizations that desire to be part of this endeavor, please contact the Cynthia Pinckney Ministries with a list of names of members from your church/organization desiring to participate at cp@cynthiapinckneyministries.org.

To learn more about Convoy of Hope, visit www.convoyofhope.org.

Brandon Christian Hosts VBS

Vacation Bible School “The Boomerang Express-It All Comes Back to Jesus” will take place at Brandon Christian Church, located at 910 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, from Monday, July 27-Friday, July 31. It will begin with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by activities.

For more information, call 689-4021.

New Jewish Course Unveils

At a graduation barbecue held in June, the upcoming course, Soulquest: The Journey Through Life, Death and Beyond, was unveiled through Chabad of Brandon, a local Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) chapter located at 3207 Hurley Grove Way in Valrico. Due to begin in November, the course will address the afterlife and reincarnation according to Jewish tradition and mysticism.

For more information, please visit www.chabadbrandon.org or call 657-9393.

Presbyterian Church Hosts VBS

Crocodile Dock will be hosted at Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale, located at 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, from Monday-Thursday, August 10-13, for kids ages 4-14, running from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Each day concludes at Firefly Finale—a celebration that gets everyone involved in living what they’ve learned at 8:15 p.m. Kids at Crocodile Dock will join nearly a million children sharing God’s love in a hands-on mission project, helping disaster victims in North America.

For more information, call 654-3699.

Church Helps Those in Mourning

Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale, located at 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave., will start a new bereavement support group on Thursdays in July from 6:30-8 p.m. and will meet for seven weeks.

To attend, call 654-3699, 416-4202 or email Maryfrances8@verizon.net.

Truth Told at Campo YMCA

The Campo YMCA and CBMC of Brandon are teaming up to bring the Truth Project to Campo, located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico, meeting Wednesday mornings for 13 weeks. Join any time, as it is a progressive study until Wednesday, September 2, from 6-7:30 a.m. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided.

Contact Dan Shock at 299-9219 for more information.

Back-to-School Extravaganza Hosted

A Back-to-School Extravaganza will be held at Bay Life Church, located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon, on August 22, from 9-12 Noon. The community is welcome to purchase used clothing for back to school students in kindergarten-12th grade. All items are just $1. All proceeds go to benefit missions. Donated items for the sale are being accepted until Sunday, August 16.

For additional information, contact Beverly at 661-3696, ext. 231.

Church Opens Food Pantry to Community

New Berean Baptist Church, located at 740 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, welcomes residents to its food pantry and clothes closet on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All those in need can get one bag of food and clothing.

For more information, call 643-7600 or visit www.newbereanbaptistchurch.org.

St. Andrew’s Preschool Now Enrolling

St. Andrew’s United Methodist Preschool, located at 3315 Bryan Rd., is now enrolling 3- and 4-year-olds for the 2009-2010 school year. St. Andrew’s Preschool provides a half-day program, which includes a full curriculum with emphasis on readiness skills to prepare children both academically and socially for kindergarten. The school takes pride in its Gold Seal Accreditation.

Call Gwen Taylor at 689-1207 to register or for additional information or visit www.standrewsbrandon.org.

Vendors Wanted for Craft Show

Horizon Christian Church, located at 1720 St. Cloud Ave. in Valrico, will host its Second Annual Christmas in July Craft Fair on Saturday, July 25, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. It is a free event open to the public. Come one, come all to see a showcase of all different kinds of crafts displayed. Vendors are needed for this inside show. Limited space is available, so please call to reserve your $5 table today.

Please call the church office 689-1457 to reserve your table today.

Soccer League Announces Registration

Brandon Area Youth Soccer League’s (BAYSL) Coach’s Registration will take place on Thursday, August 13, from 6-9 p.m. at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, located at 2561 E. S.R. 60 in Valrico. Player Registration will be at the J.C. Handly Athletic Complex, located at 3104 S. Kings Ave. in Brandon, on Wednesday, August 26, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Thursday, August 27, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; and Thursday, August 27, from 6-9 p.m. Two more will be on Saturday, August 29, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, August 30, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., both being held at Dick’s Sporting Goods, located at 459 Brandon Town Center Mall in Brandon.

For more information, please visit www.brandonsoccer.com or call 684-5948.

Athletes Needed for Triathlon

A free triathlon clinic will be held on Sunday, August 9, from 7:30-10 a.m. at AJ’s Bikes and Boards shop, located at 1538 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. This free triathlon clinic, by Tri-Freddie Coaching, is geared for all level of athletes – from those that have never competed in a triathlon to the experienced athlete. This 2.5 hour clinic will cover all aspects of swimming, biking and running. Nutrition, transition, heart rate training and race strategy will also be discussed. There will also be a “Bike 101” portion on basic bike maintenance and how to change a flat tire.

RSVP by email at freddie@trifreddie.com or visit www.trifreddie.com for more information on triathlon and run coaching programs.

Mommy & Me Classes Offered & More

Brandon Ballet, located at 161 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, offers a fun class that will introduce your child to listening, memorization, musicality and coordination, spanning Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Tuesday, August 18. The classes are open to mommies and 2-year-olds (Must be 2 as of September 1, 2009) and run from 10:30-11 a.m. (30 minute sessions).The cost is $27.50 per month.

Ballet Bootcamp will have a ballet class each day. In addition, a specific ballet from the beginning to the end. Daily activities will include: videos, mime, dance history, nutrition, arts and crafts and much more. Tuition for ages 4-5 is $110, age 6 (Ballet 1) and up is $140. All tuition includes a $5 fee for supplies.

For more information, please call 684-4282 or visit www.brandondance.com.

Baseball Tryouts Unveil

The Brandon Panther 10U AAU competitive baseball team will be holding tryouts at the Bloomingdale Little League fields for the upcoming 2009/2010 season. The 10U tryouts (child cannot turn 11 years old before May 1, 2010) will be held Friday July 31, at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 1, at 1 p.m. Players are expected to attend both sessions.

For more information, please contact Jeff Cooper at 787-0369 or at mauiman7@aol.com.

Come Earn a Pokemon Badge

The Brandon Area Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) League welcomes players to its free weekly league, meeting at the Bloomingdale Library, located at 1905 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, on Sundays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. New players and experienced players are welcome.

For more information about Pokemon Organized Play, please visit www.go-pokemon.com/op. For information about the league, please contact Teri Smith at tncsmith@mac.com or 436-0206.

Free Events Announced at Resource Center

The Brandon Family Support & Resource Center, located at 1277 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon, will host the following free events: Back-to-School Block Party: There will be various school supply giveaways, refreshments, face painting and more. Community kids will receive the necessary tools for entering school, with the event being held on Saturday, July 18, from 10 a.m.–12 Noon; Bike Rodeo: This event includes safety information, an obstacle skills course, helmet giveaways (while supplies last), bike inspections and more, taking place on Saturday, July 18, from 10 a.m.-12 Noon; and Kindergarten Transition: This two-hour orientation will teach the child and their family the transition and orientation to kindergarten, being held on Tuesday, July 21, from 5:30– 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 740-4634.

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Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.