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Tourism and Agriculture Day

Leadership day in January was filled with five stops, each containing valuable learning experiences. The first stop along our journey was Sebring International Raceway. We were greeted by Wayne Estes who was our guide. He shared with us not only specifics about race cars, but also the incredible history of the Sebring Raceway which is one of the oldest tracks in the United States with the first race running in 1950. The track includes a piece of the Sebring Regional Airport. Originally, this was constructed as Hendricks Army Airfield which was a WWII training base for the U.S. Air Force. While we were there, we were able to observe mechanics working on two race cars. They were happy to share how they were able to be quick and efficient during pit stops.

Next, we were off to Maxwell Groves to their fruit packing house in Avon Park. Here we learned great advice from a wise businessman. He showed us that we can use our mistakes in life to make improvements. He shared how God opened doors for him and that we must all pay close attention to following His lead. We learned the process oranges go through for packing. It was interesting to see how much is done using machines. The highlight of the tour was the complimentary orange juice and ice cream. The front porch is lined with rocking chairs making the perfect place to enjoy these treats.

Midday we stopped at the Jacaranda for lunch. What a beautiful establishment! We heard the history and how the hotel has changed since it was originally opened in the 1920s. Guests such as Babe Ruth and Clark Gable stayed here. The hotel was named after the Jacaranda tree that was removed to build the hotel. After hearing the history, it was time for a delightful buffet lunch enjoyed by all of us.

After our rest, we visited a dairy which was a first for many of us. We saw the storage area for the cows’ food. We learned that it was important for dairy cows to adhere to a strict feeding and milking schedule. They even have a nutritionist that makes certain the cows are getting appropriate nutrients to produce healthy milk. Then was my personal favorite part of the day which was the baby cows. One actually licked my hand, which was surprisingly cool. They were beyond adorable. Next, we saw the adult cows eating under a covered area. It was very organized and clear that it was a regular routine. Then we went to the milking facility. We stayed behind a fence to observe all of the cows lined up as two workers hooked them up to the milking machines. The cows knew exactly the path to take as they went in for their turns to be milked. Before leaving, we saw where the milk is stored before being carried away by trucks. A dairy worker’s job is never done.

Our last stop of the day was the Sun n’ Lakes Golf Club. We went to the Pro-shop where we learned that there are only a few months of the year when business is great which goes along with the weather. We discussed sales from a business standpoint before heading to the golf course. They have 36 holes to play. They have both men and women’s teams and divisions to fit the needs of all players. The area was beautiful making it the perfect place for a wedding. Looking out over the beauty of this course was a perfect way to end the day.

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