By Shellie Miler-Farrugia
More than 18 years ago, the Spectator was born into a young, growing community that was ripe for connection. Prior to its creation, Scott and I saw the need for families to learn about and find important activities that would enrich their lives and give them opportunities to meet more of their like-minded neighbors. Creating and growing this monthly staple has been an incredible experience, reminding us often that something we birthed almost 2 decades ago has matured into something well regarded and necessary to so many.
Eighteen years is enough time to nurture a child from birth to adulthood. Now that our youngest “baby“ (The Spectator) has achieved that milestone, I’m reminded that pursuing a passion project has many similarities to raising a kid. To begin with, there were a few obstacles. Sleepless nights, frantic phone calls, and rushing to appointments became everyday norms as we grew the magazine alongside our 3 eldest children and two-year-old son. The joys of parenting children while nurturing a favorite new project made for beautiful benefits. Going out to the fields for photos and interviews with our family in tow helped us to make a lovely variety of new friends as the Spectator’s popularity grew.
More often than not, my heart has been warmed when we are out in the fields or attending community events. It’s so exciting when people we have never met treat us like family and tell us the stories of how the Spectator informed them about their favorite league, introduced them to the doctor who changed their life, or featured someone they hadn’t seen since grade school. We’ve been personally rewarded with meaningful friendships made through networking, advertisers, and community events. The stories of folks who have connected in the most positive ways with others have kept us focused and excited to further enrich our beautiful
corner of Broward county.
Because of the Spectator, we’ve found exciting activities to feature that we‘d never known about including wheelchair tennis, the International Dinner Dance, the Florida Renaissance Festival, and so much more. Riding in the Goodyear blimp, interviewing international sports stars, and giving team scholarships and equipment to underprivileged children has been both fulfilling and humbling. Organizing the Youth Sports Challenge and giving a large amount of money to the Make-A-Wish foundation was only possible because of the Spectator and her connections.
Now that all of our children are adults with careers of their own, we can look back and see that the many activities and responsibilities of growing the Spectator actually helped each of us become the successful people we are today. Modeling teamwork, love, and commitment as we grew this youngest “baby“ has made a measurable difference. Many thanks are due to the multitude of advertisers who believed in us before the first magazine was published, as well as those who came on board when seeing the positive impact The Spectator has with families. We are grateful to every one of them. 206 issues and 18 years later, we have to pinch ourselves! Each step we have taken reminds us of how fortunate we are to be part of such a vibrant community.
Thank You Coral Springs and Parkland!