By Shellie Miller-Farrugia
Technology has brought us so far in the last two decades. Personally, it feels supersonically fast. When we created and began publishing the Spectator more than 17 years ago, it came from a need. As they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.“ This magazine that has been coming to your home every month regardless of hurricanes, financial shortage or exhaustion. It arrives because once upon a time there was no way to find out when flag football sign-ups were. It took me half a dozen phone calls to find out that I had missed registration for my (now 30 year-old) son by five days.
We started with hundreds of phone calls to gather league information, a color copy of a magazine mock-up, a borrowed 35mm camera, drugstore prints and a passion to meet new friends. Our aim became to connect families in our neighborhoods and share their stories. In pursuing our passion, Scott and I have made incredible personal connections and friendships that have enriched our lives. The Spectator’s first cover stated that it was all about Community, Family and Fun. Today, we are proud to say that our focus has remained the same.
So many heartwarming, funny, and tragic stories have impacted our community in those 17 years. Some of the situations have been heartrending to report. Others have shown us that we are all stronger together… Often when one person or group feels overwhelmed, another will come along to help and encourage them. This is true from a time before the web was popular until today, when just about any situation can become viral in a matter of moments. Because of the Spectator and our effort at community awareness; fundraisers and calls for action have gone from a handful of people bent on a cause, to millions of dollars raised toward everything from finding a cure to granting wishes for terminally ill children.
Instead of re-counting the good, the bad and the day-to-day, let me just say that the last 17 years have been an inspiring adventure! Relatives and friends have become reunited, reacquainted or introduced for the first time because of a photo, an article or an advertisement. Kids within our reach have become part of leagues that their parents may have never known existed. The Spectator has donated funds to scholarship children on to teams, buy necessary equipment, and support community projects.
Every single good thing that has come about because of our humble little magazine has been possible because of our advertisers! From the handful who supported our very first publication in March 2002, to the dozens who are present today, each one has supported the vision and the idea that our corner of paradise is worth investing in! Scott and I are grateful for the opportunity to watch our community grow. As always, our prayer is for every family touched by the Spectator and every home in between.