YMCA of Lake Wales
A strong and healthy body and mind help to enrich the spirit of the individual and the community as a whole. The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Lake Wales recognizes the need for opportunities to build the mind and body, and the group works hard to create extracurricular activities that help young athletes develop better physical and social skills and become more successful in life. The Lake Wales Blue Marlins is a new swim team for the community, created to help achieve physical fitness, mental acuity, and develop the tools to achieve success in career and life. A co-ed team, boys and girls who swim as members of the Lake Wales Blue Marlins will learn teamwork, responsibility and commitment and enjoy a whole lot of fun while learning important lessons for life. This month, they will also learn the joy of success as the YMCA of Lake Wales is honored with the April Dyer Difference Award in Polk County.
Renee Camper, Executive Director of Childcare Services, Ana Pizarro, Swimming Coach, YMCA swimmer Mallory, David Dlugokecki, GM
Row One - Kevin Lei and Simon Scharff
Row Two - Lindsay Woods, Shalee Woods, Jaci Byrd, Lily Weaver, McKenna Ramos and David Dlugokecki, General Manager.
Dyer Difference Awards Bok Academy Group
Bok Academy is named for philanthropist Edward Bok, whose Bok Tower Gardens are a place of sanctuary, beauty, serenity and peace. The academy named in his honor educates “renaissance thinkers for a digital age, providing a global perspective, an ethos of service, and a keen understanding of the digital world.” This summer, one school organization, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Bok Academy, is sending ten of its members to a Leadership Camp at South Eastern University. Students who attend the leadership camp will learn how to become better leaders for their campuses and communities. In keeping with Bok Academy’s tradition of encouraging “exposure to the integrated nature of knowledge and life,” the student athletes will learn how to make a positive impact on community and become strong, independent, and caring contributors to any community in which they live. Encouraging leadership, good citizenry, and community participation are all important to members of the Dyer Difference Award Selection Committee, and instilling those qualities in others is why the committee chose the Bok Academy FCA as the June recipient of the Dyer Difference Award in Polk County.Type your paragraph here.
Polk County - Lake Wales Little League
Approximately 1,600 children in the community are supported through the Lake Wales Little League program. Children from the ages of four to sixteen can participate in the program. Along with traditional Little League games and teams, Lake Wales Little League has its own Challenger League for special needs individuals in the community ages five to 99 who face additional physical and emotional challenges, giving them the same outlet for their abundant energy and a way to gain all the strengths of teamwork, coping, coordination, and strategy which otherwise might not be available. And while the program is run exclusively by volunteers, there are equipment, signage, field caretaking, and uniform needs that need to be addressed. The Dyer Difference Award will assist with those costs and with providing scholarships for children whose families can’t afford the uniforms and program fees. It’s a home run for everyone in the community and something the Dyer Difference Committee was proud to support.
Lake Wales Little League President Jim Maggard, Vice-President Michelle Maggard, and Dyer General Manager David Dlugokecki.
Polk County - Lake Wales Soccer Club
Nearly 500 children between the ages of three and 19 participate in the Lake Wales Soccer Club. Some children play competitively, and others play just for fun, but everyone has a great time, and along the way, the children get exercise, learn valuable lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship, and develop confidence and purpose. And though soccer can be an expensive sport for a child, the Lake Wales Soccer Club never turns away a player, even when there are financial limitations and the child’s family cannot afford to pay. Coaches and board members are all volunteers, and the club keeps prices low enough for most families to afford. It also provides scholarships for children who receive free and reduced school lunches. That commitment to sharing soccer with every child in the community caught the attention of the Dyer Difference Award Committee, which recognized the Lake Wales Soccer Club with the September Dyer Difference Award.
Left to right: Robbie Shields, David Dlugokecki, Melissa Guhman, Tony Mathewson
Lake Wales High School Football Team
Will & Tatiana Dyer with the Lake Wales High School Football Team
Polk County Award Recipients 2019
Lake Wales Highlander Booster Club
The Highlander Booster Club is taking pride to a whole new level by trying to bridge the gap
between the past and the present moving forward into the future. A Hall of Fame Committee has been
formed to design and coordinate an inaugural Highlander Hall of Fame Event on Saturday, May 4th at the
Lake Ashton Country Club. The evening will recognize living and deceased Lake Wales High School
alumni who have distinguished themselves as outstanding representatives of any Lake Wales High School
athletic team through accomplishment, leadership, support, service and/or character. In addition to
recognizing the Highlander Hall of Famers, the event will also help raise much-needed funds for Lake
Wales High School Athletics. This sense of community and school pride helped the Dyer Difference
Award Committee decide to recognize the Highlander Booster Club with the February Dyer Difference
Will & Tatiana Dyer award Highlander Booster Club Secretary Shelli Jacobs and David Dlugokecki with the
February Dyer Difference Award
Empowering our communities, accelerating the future.
Photo: Megan Gillis, Diane Forcier (Zachary's mother), Zachary Kirkland, Scott Kirkland (Zachary's father), and General Manager David Dlugokecki.
Silly Sock Saturdays
Being in the hospital is no fun for anyone, but it’s especially hard for the smallest patients – little children. Even at the tender age of 14, Winter Haven teenager Zachary Kirkland realized this and decided to do something to help make a tough day a little brighter. Every month, Silly Sock Saturdays visits Lakeland Regional Health Hospital in Winter Park with a satchel full of socks – usually around 60 pairs of silly socks, along with coloring books, crayons, play, and craft items to help coax smiles and make the time pass more quickly. He shared his inspiration with the Points of Light Foundation, saying, “I’ve been taught to have an attitude of servitude my entire life, at school, in church and scouts. Giving back to my community is just something that is a part of normal life.”
Because each of the bags distributed by Silly Sock Saturdays costs $8 - $10 per bag, the organization founded by Kirkland is hosting its annual bowling fundraiser on July 27th at Cypress Lanes in Winter Park. To help ensure that Silly Sock Saturdays continues to spread joy, smiles, and well…silliness, the staff at Dyer Kia and Dyer Chevrolet chose to don their own silly socks and award Silly Sock Saturdays the May Dyer Difference Award.