President Carl James called on Daniel Warren to introduce the speaker for the October 28th program. Daniel introduced the Director of the Waycross Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mr. Patrick Simmons to share with the club about the exciting opportunities in Waycross and Ware County.
He told of opportunities for local citizens as well as visitors from Georgia, the nation, and the world who visit the unique area that we call home.
The Tourism Bureau has an aggressive advertising campaign to publicize attractions in Ware County and the surrounding area. Billboards have been placed along Interstate 95 and an attractive full-color brochure has been published that features nine areas to visit for fun and adventure for all ages.
A large map of the Okefenokee Swamp lists numerous camping areas and activities in an easy-to-read format. Mr. Simmons said there is a plan in the works to apply for the Okefenokee Swamp to become a World Heritage Site.
Mr. Simmons noted various activities planned during the holidays in the community:

  • Okefenokee Swamp Park’s 75th Anniversary Celebration during all of October and the Christmas Lights show beginning the end of November thru December.
  • Laura Walker Park Christmas in the Park on December 18th
  • Obadiah’s has been reopened by the Lloyd family as an events venue
  • Heritage Center and Southern Forest World will have Veteran’s Day

Activities to honor those who have served on November 11th.
Downtown Waycross has had new businesses launch in recent months. Nearly all the available rental spaces are occupied. Waycross upcoming events include:

  • Taste of The Chamber is November 18th
  • The Christmas Shop opens on November 12th
  • Christmas Parade is December 12th

There are many more events. Mr. Simmons announced that his office will aid in promoting upcoming events for the community. If you have an event upcoming, for more information visit WaycrossTourism.com or call the Waycross Convention and Visitors Bureau @ 912-287-2969


It is with much enthusiasm that I introduce to you, Juliana Claire Ponciano.
Claire is the daughter of Fayedan Ponciano. Claire is ranked 11th among 369 Ware County High School seniors. When asked what she attributes to her academic success. Claire stated, “my success to the entire Filipino community that supports me, here in Waycross, in Florida, and on the other side of the world in the Philippines. Mostly, I attribute it to my mom and God, who were always by my side at every challenge and every victory.
Claire’s Honors and Activities at WCHS include: (Just to name a few)

  • All “A” Honor Roll (K-12)
  • Future Business Leaders of America: Chapter Senior Officer (2021 – Present); Chapter Reporter (2020 – 2021)
  • FBLA Social Media Ambassador (2019 – 2020)
  • Ware County BETA Club: historian/Reporter (2019 – Present)
  • Georgia/Alabama Regional Leadership Representative (2021 – Present)
  • Chapter Historian (2020 – 2021)
  • Georgia Center/Civic Engagement (Leadership Team) Aug. 2021. – Present
  • United Nations Secretary-General (2021 – Present)
  • Georgia Youth Assembly Secretary (2020 – 2021)
  • Georgia Youth Assembly House Committee Chairman (2019 – 2020)
  • Dear Asian Girl Podcast Social Media Manager (2020 – Present)
  • Women of Color Conference: Social Media Marketing Specialist (2020 – 2021)
  • Ware County Bridge to Success: Youth Leader (2021 – Present)
  • Georgia Paper Bridges: State Executive Board Member (2020 – Present) Ware County Chapter Co-Director (2020 – Present)
  • Ware County Rifle Team
  • Georgia High School Association Literary
  • Waycross Rotary Club Speech Competition
  • K. 21st Century Leaders: EarthCare Institute
  • Georgia Student Technology Competition/Ware County
  • Technology Fair
  • National Honor Society

Claire has been involved in several community activities including:
Ware County FBLA

  • 8th place in the state for Healthcare Administration (2020)
  • 1st place in the region for Website Design (2020) Ware County BETA Club
  • 2nd place in the nation for Lead Outside the Box Challenge (2021)
  • Named as Georgia/Alabama Region Leadership Representative (2021)
  • 3rd place in the nation for Division I Creative Writing Event (2020) Ware County Rifle Team:
  • 1st place Georgia State National Junior Olympics Match (2020 – 21)
  • 4th place in Georgia All-State Rifle Team
  • 1st place in Team Precision Rifle Event in the 2020 Annual Gator Invit.
  • 1st place in Team Precision Rifle Event in the 2019 Annual Gator Georgia Student Technology Competition:
  • 3rd place in the state for Digital Photo Production in 2021 Georgia High School Association Literary:
  • 2nd place in the region in Personal Essay/Narrative Category 2002
  • 3rd place in the region in Personal Essay/Narrative Category 2019 Waycross Rotary Club Speech Competition:
  • 3rd place in the Zone Level Competition (2021)
  • 2nd place in the High School Level Competition (2021) 21st Century Leaders: EarthCare Institute
  • Best Evaluator in Toastmaster’s Public Speaking Workshop (2021)
  • Dear Asian Youth (Social Media Manager) – July 2020 – present

On a personal note, Claire is passionate about uplifting marginalized communities and empowering her fellow youth through education and celebration.
She volunteers at organizations dedicated to these values. She also loves to read and write and hopes to combine her love for literature with her passion for
helping others to create a more and just world for the future generations that will follow us.
After graduation from Ware County High School, Claire plans to attend college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, then go onto medical school to become either a neurologist or a neurosurgeon.


Al Jacobson reported that the October Red Cross Blood Drive was a great success. The goal was 120 donors. One hundred sixty-one (161) volunteers came to give blood. One hundred forty (140) were able to give blood.
Someone had donated $500.00 to offer new volunteers $40.00 to participate. Expecting 12 or 13 new donors, 35 showed up! Somehow the funds were found to reward each one. The hope is that they will continue to contribute regularly. Al asks that if any members would like to contribute money to the Red Cross Blood Drive incentive fund, it would be greatly appreciated and put to good use.


Members are asked to help in the final workday on Saturday, November 6th to be ready for opening day, Tuesday, November 9th.
Craig Head said to contact him or sign up at the next meet for parking duties. Volunteers are needed for each day of the fair.
Jonathan Daniel is taking orders for fair passes for members of their immediate family (spouses, children, grandchildren, etc.). Each pass is $5.00. Please supply a picture of each individual.

Bill Deason is signing up members to work selling tickets during the fair.
See him if you are interested.
Cretia Dowling is asking members to sign up to supply deserts for the nightly meal. Please contact her to coordinate the date(s) that you will be able to help.

Unity for Service

Our Motto - Unity for Service
The motto was adopted in 1917.
Its originator, Charles Berkey,
said the motto was inspired
by the 133rd Psalm, which says
“Behold how good and pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity.”

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