Jessica Kirby welcomed Rotarians and guests.
 
President Joel Ivy called the meeting to order. Steve Moore led the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
 
Jack Lowman handled introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians, who were: Allison “Al” Lewis, guest of Stacy Campbell-Domineck, Doug McCall from the Rotary Club of Wallasey, England, and Mac Cantrel from the Rotary Club of Columbus, Georgia.
 
Don Selvage was happy to remind everyone that Tuesday is the run-off special election for the Lakeland City Commission race. Dan Borneman, Linda Bagley Wiggs, and many others were happy to be able to meet in-person. District Governor Mark Scolnick was happy to remind everyone to make a donation to Polio Plus…with just $600 more our club will match the Tampa Rotary Club’s Polio Plus contributions for the year.  Irma Cole was happy that she completed her emergency response training course. Jack Lowman is happy that you can type in Lakeland Rotary Clock on Google maps and find it as a location.  Amanda Walls was thankful for how many of our club members are nominated for Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Honors Awards and for knowing Jack Lowman and his grill master ability, which helped her Swan Derby team to raise money for Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine last weekend.  Jessica Kirby was happy her daughter is tuning 18 on Sunday.
 
President Joel then announced that on Monday, May 3rd at 3:00 pm the club will present a $25,000 check to the City Commission for our AED project. Anyone who can and wants to attend is welcome.  DG Mark reminded everyone to register for the district conference, to be held on Zoom May 14-15th. He also reminded everyone about the District membership challenge ending June 30.  President Elect Nate Dunham then gave summary of proposed changes to the club bylaws.  Irma Cole reminded everyone about the Rotary Cares a Ton Challenge, noting our club has collected 3,225 pounds of stuff and we are in 9th place in the district. Send Irma an email regarding the weight of your donations (irmacole26@gmail.com).  Irma Cole also announced the STARS class project will take place at the Carl G. Schowe Boys & Girls Club trailer behind Crystal Lake Elementary School May 1st and 22nd starting at 8:30am.  Finally, Todd Christian announced the club’s Anniversary Dinner will be on June 22nd at Lone Palm, starting at 6pm for cocktails and 7pm for dinner. 
 
Laura Adams then introduced Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, to present the "The Winning Spirit of Team Tampa Bay."
 
Rob discussed the three major impacts of Super Bowl LV on the region including social, economic, and marketing.  The Super Bowl Fan Experience brought in 240,000 attendees with 8,000 volunteer community ambassadors for 9 days.  It was the largest stadium crowd in the US since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with very limited incidents of disease spread attributable to the event.
 
Tampa Bay was also fortunate to host WrestleMania just a few weeks later. This region was the first community to host both the Super Bowl and WrestleMania in the same year.
 
Rob also emphasized the impacts of Youth and Amateur Sports Tourism.  Sports-related travel nationally generates more than 47 million room nights annually and is one of the strongest segments in the entire travel industry.  There are 29 sports commissions in the State of Florida and more than 600 sports tourism agencies in the Country.
 
In the next 5 years this region will host the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, Volleyball Championship, Women’s Basketball Championship (Women’s Final Four) and the Men’s Basketball Preliminary Rounds.
 
Our program next week will be Lana Swartzfelder, M.Ed., M.S. from The Libertore Fund for Children, Inc. on the topic of “Who’s Taking Care of Our Children?”