April 20, 2011

State of the Phlock - PhiP


As always, Parrot Head chapters around the world made significant contributions to the welfare of the environment, their community and to their fellow man in 2010 … and they had a BLAST while doing so!  Meeting of the Minds, in the face of uncharacteristically cold weather, was another unqualified success featuring four full days of good friends & good music, with some libations thrown in, and our visitors truly did “Party with a Purpose!”  Some 230 PHiP Club Members hauled themselves out of bed on Saturday morning to participate in the Zonta Walk with Team ParrotHead raising more than $20,000, once again, about half of the event total.  Parrot Heads also contributed to Wesley House Family Services, the KW Police Athletic League and the Florida Keys SPCA to the tune of more than $20,000 while simultaneously donating an entire van load of toys to the Salvation Army for their annual holiday toy drive.  In a truly humanitarian effort, Parrot Heads also donated a record high 111 pints of blood to the Community Blood Center of South Florida, a 69% increase overall, in what has become the local blood bank’s largest blood drive of the year.  Not to be outdone, the Margaritaville-sponsored Gypsy Video Contest raised more than $9,000 which was gifted to the Florida Keys Cancer Foundation.


Beginning on April 21, 2010, Parrot Heads across the country stepped up to assist in the mitigation of damages caused by the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Disaster.  In true PH fashion, our chapters & members contributed dollars, needed supplies, volunteer time & effort in virtually all areas, including wildlife rescue & rehabilitation, water quality monitoring & control, beach cleanup and oil reclamation efforts all along the entire shoreline of our beloved Northern Caribbean. Parrot Head efforts were rewarded with the man himself, Jimmy Buffett, hosting a benefit concert on the beach in Gulf Shores , AL on July 11 which was attended by tens of thousands of people in Hawaiian shirts and parrot hats and broadcast live worldwide on CMT and Sirius XM.   


In what has become the norm, the "ParrotHead Nation" continued to grow and prosper as we added a total of twelve new chapters to our ranks. What began with the Atlanta Parrot Head Club 20 years ago has grown exponentially as we ended 2010 with an all-time high of 240 chapters in the United States , Canada and Australia ... 3 different countries, 47 states and 4 Canadian provinces. Our total membership showed another increase of 3.1% with almost 28,000 dedicated, fun-loving Parrot Heads amongst the ranks. Again, it's apparent that the "ParrotHead Nation" is not only alive and well, but continues to thrive.


Now, for the big news ... With the economy still in a stagnant state, Parrot Head Clubs collectively raised for and/or donated more than $2.9 million to charitable organizations in 2010, an increase of 5.5% over the previous year. Equally significant, Parrot Heads carried on the tradition of volunteerism as 2010 saw an increase of 15.8% as chapters worldwide donated an estimated 215,000 man-hours to philanthropic and environmental activities. The upshot … In the period 2002 – 2010, Parrot Head Clubs have collectively contributed more than $22 million and approximately 2.7 million man-hours to aid our communities, our environment and our fellow man!


The PHiP commitment to education was again evidenced with our continued endowment of the Mary Loraine "Peets" Buffett Memorial Scholarship awarded annually by the Alumni Association of Jimmy Buffett's alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi . Additionally, the PHiP scholarship program again awarded scholarships to 3 qualified & worthy candidates after evaluating close to 100 applicants.


In 2010, PHiP retained its National Status with both the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life campaign and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Walk program and Parrot Heads continue to be the single largest supporter of the Zonta Club of Key West with contributions made during Meeting of the Minds. For many of our chapters, Special Olympics is a favored cause while many Clubs prepare & serve a monthly meal to their local Ronald McDonald Houses.


And, there's more to the story! These numbers, while spectacular, do not include those efforts which are not measured by dollars or man-hours and Parrot Heads never cease to amaze in their creativity:


Parrot Heads are always gathering stuff ... canned goods, pet supplies, clothing, pop tops, old cell phones, used ink cartridges, and, of course, toys; all distributed to the appropriate agencies that get the goods to where they do the most good. OH, and let's not forget the trash ... Virtually every Club works diligently to keep our nation's beaches, lakes, and highways clean with regular trash collection sessions.


Parrot Heads are doers ... Many chapters sponsor Bowling tournaments, Volleyball tournaments, Golf tournaments, a Cornhole tournament and even a Kickball tournament. Chili and gumbo cook-offs are also favorite fundraisers for a number of Clubs.


Parrot Heads participate ... Most all Parrot Head Clubs build and enter a float in their local community parades, be it Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, St. Patrick's Day ... You name it; if there's a local parade, Parrot Heads will be prancing and no less than two dozen chapters won awards in 2009 for Best of Show, Best Float, etc.


From Poker Runs & Pub Crawls to the dreaded Polar Plunge, the picture is clear ... the good deeds that Parrot Heads perform for the benefit of the community, the environment and our fellow man often cannot be measured in quantitative terms, yet are so vital to the recipients and should be a constant source of satisfaction to each of us.


In the annals of PHiP history, 2010 will be recorded as another banner year … We did, in fact, make a difference and we left this world a little better than we found it.  Along the way, we managed to have a lot of fun … we cavorted with old friends, we made new friends and, sadly, we bid farewell to far too many beloved friends.


So, to each and every one of you, a heartfelt THANK YOU for a job well done! You truly are "Angels in Tropical Shirts" and you should be very proud of yourselves and your accomplishments.


Spring is here, summer is nigh and the concert season is upon us ... Time to do what we do best: Have fun and "Party with a Purpose!"


Till next time, may all your dreams be tropical!


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