Cedar Creek Lake Parrot Head Club!
It started with a few great friends back in 2000 at a private launch party for Margaritaville Tequila that included a private concert by Club Trini. Being long time Jimmy Buffett fans, we were lined up at the front of the stage and enjoyed a fantastic couple of hours with Jimmy! By the end of the drive home, we were ready to launch a Parrot Head Club in an area where all the surrounding towns combined have less than 15,000 in population. We were confident that we would have other members of the community join us as Parrot Heads, and in a few short months we had over a hundred members and we were able to say “Here we are”.
As the Club continued to grow, we were able to put on amazing events and find ways to help our local community. Some of the groups we were able to help with cash donations and volunteers included the local volunteer fire departments, area schools, the YMCA, the local Humane Society, the local library, East Texas Crisis Center, local food banks and several more! We also helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity. In addition, we started a yearly tradition of adopting families that would not have a Christmas without us. Each year we get volunteers from our Club to adopt one or more families and shop for the children, bring Christmas dinner to the families and find other ways to help. Over the last 17 years we have been able to help over 500 families have a “Christmas in the Caribbean” that they would not have been able to celebrate without some help.
Over the past 15 years, our Club has sponsored the Olympic Village at our area Special Olympics event. We provide food, drinks, games and prizes for the athletes and provide an area for the athletes to relax between events. Our members stage individual and group photographs on our pirate ship and give each athlete a souvenir picture. By providing smiles, hugs and fun for these Special Olympians we have found a way to help these folks that may be physically impaired but have huge dreams and desires. As they run their races and participate in their events, our goal is to make their “Someday I Will” today.
We live in an area where a large number of students and their families are below the poverty line and only a small percentage of the high school graduates have an opportunity to go on to college. Our Club provides seven - $1,500 scholarships every year; one to a deserving student at each of the seven area high schools in our community and we always encourage the students to find ways to give back to their school and community. We award our scholarships not based on grades or test scores but on the student’s community service and how they can choose to help other people even when they don’t have much themselves. Each year we help give the opportunity to seven dreamers with a “School Boy Heart” to fulfill their dream and go to college.
A few years ago, a longtime member of our Club passed away – he was a man that lived to give back to his community. He was a Veteran, an advocate for those with a physical handicap and a community leader. In his honor, our Club undertook our biggest project ever. Because we are a lake community we decided to build a handicap accessible fishing pier with accessible parking dedicated to our Military Service Members and our Veterans. This project involved every member of the Club in one way or another and we are proud to have completed and dedicated this project in April of 2013 at a cost of over $80,000. Our combined Club efforts raised over $50,000 in cash and an additional $30,000 in material and labor was donated from various suppliers and contractors. This project involved hundreds of man hours from our members and now the pier is open and being used 24 hours a day by the entire community, especially those with a disability, Military Members and Veterans. We have been able to provide our “One Particular Harbour” to hundreds of people in our community that want to fish, relax, watch a sunset or just enjoy the lake.
Our club has been able to provide all sorts of events for our members to “Party with a Purpose” we have at least one or two events each month and some of the bigger events are our Luau, Chili and BBQ Cook-off, and our Annual Poker Run.
The Poker Run gets bigger and bigger each year and is open to the public – this year we had over 1,000 participants and raised over $70,000 in one day for our charitable work. On Sunday after the event we meet to compare notes and recap the event there are always “Stories we Could Tell”!
In the years we since we started the Club, we have been able to have a positive effect on the lake community we live in on a daily basis. We are known as the “brightly clad folks” in our community that love to have a good time and love to help anyway we can. Our club was the proud recipient of the 2013 Golden Coconut Award! We started the club with a few people and “Here we are” seventeen years later with over 600 members making us the 3rd largest club in the PHIP community and a profound sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that we can make a difference. We have taken “Here we Are” to a whole new level and look forward to accomplishing even more!