Past Events

Here is an archive of some of our very successful past events.

The 7th Annual Benefit 
Saturday,  January 18, 2014

Michael Amante is a celebrated American singer and actor whose voice and presence has captivated audiences and critics around the world. He sings a repertoire that ranges from Jazz, Rock, Gospel and Broadway to the soaring notes of Opera. His debut recording of classical songs and arias placed him as the number one artist in Billboard Magazine’s classical charts in 2002. His self-titled PBS Television Special was nominated for a regional Emmy Award. Michael has recorded six albums and he will soon be releasing his seventh album titled “Here Is Love”.

Michael’s stage appearances have included leading roles on and off Broadway in West Side Story, Jesus Christ SuperstarGrease, Li’l AbnerPuccini’s Madame Butterfly and La BohémeCavalleria Rusticana and an upcoming production of the musical Chess. His live concerts with some of the nation’s best symphonies also include music from The Phantom of the OperaLes Misérables, Italian classics and standards from the great American songbook.

Michael Amante continues to thrill and inspire audiences wherever he performs, whether in solo concert, working with colleagues or in ensemble productions of musicals and groups like the “The New York Tenors”. Michael has performed in private events ranging from Presidents Gerald Ford on his 91st birthday, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II to a myriad of A-list celebrities including Sophia Loren, Isabella Rossellini, Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Denzel Washington and Sidney Poitier. 

This enjoyable event started with a cocktail social hour and fine dining and was a huge success.  
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Raffle and Silent Auction.

The voice of Michael Amante, at our annual benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island was a moving and delightful experience that benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County.

An Evening of Value with Will Bryant:

A remarkable thing happened on Friday evening, September 27, at the Roberts Boys & Girls Club in Fernandina. A 51 year-old ex-con, named Will Bryant, held an audience of 76 people spell-bound as he told the story of his life – nearly destroyed as a teenager and then recovered by his spiritual conversion while in prison.  The rapt attention of the audience, mostly youngsters, was not due to Will’s imposing appearance or great skill as a speaker. And, while articulate, he is not likely to star on TV or radio. But you will never see or hear a man who projects sincerity and honesty any better than Will Bryant. 
Will’s story begins as a kid growing up in Miami who decided it was better to be cool than good. He paid no attention to his mom’s wishes, cut classes at school, smoked pot, drank alcohol and hung out mostly with youngsters just like himself. Illiterate at age 16, he dropped out of school and got into petty crime with his buddies. Then one night in the course of a robbery a man died, and Will was sentenced to life in prison – five days before his 17th birthday.  But Bryant did not give in to despair in jail. He got his GED, learned to read and write - motivated primarily by embarrassment at his inability to reply to letters from his family, a family that never gave up on him. As his 31 years in prison dragged on, Will learned enough about the law to initiate appeals of his conviction – which were never accepted. At last, three years ago, he was released on parole.  If that were all of it, Will’s tale would be sad but pretty ordinary - except that in 1998 he agreed to attend a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend. He testifies that the Kairos experience along with meeting his mentor, Ken Jordan, completely changed his view of life. He realized that God had a plan for him that went beyond simply going straight when he finally rejoined society.  That plan involved doing his best to keep kids from making the same mistakes he did, convincing youngsters that “Bad Choices lead to Bad Outcomes”. The message that Will Bryant is dedicated to delivering to kids, taking much of his spare time from his weekday job in construction and the weekend business he has started, can be summarized like this:
1. Do what your parents tell you.  
2. Make friendships with kids who do what their parents say.  
3. Try to help kids change if they don’t heed parents but avoid them if they won’t.  
4. Pay no attention if some kids call you “square”. “Square” is way better than crime and prison.   
5. Remember always that your family cares about you, and your cool friends don’t.

The evening at the Roberts Boys & Girls Club included a separate presentation for grown-ups by Glenn Ellison who founded Camp Consequence, a learning experience in behavior for young people and their parents, and who sponsors sessions for parents who are ready to give up on “controlling” their offspring – helping families from all around Florida. Question and Answer time for the youngsters with Will Bryant happened while they were enjoying a supper provided by the Club. It allowed him to expand further on his message and display his unusual empathy with young people.  Among the folks attending that Friday evening were Jack and Charlotte Roberts, whose support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau led to the name of the Club. They said that an evening like this one made the dreams they have for success of all young people in life move closer to reality. Such dreams are surely shared by everyone present and particularly by Will Bryant and Glenn Ellison.

Summer Carnival:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County celebrated another successful Summer Camp with their Summer Carnival. Kids gathered at the Miller Freedom Center to enjoy educational fun through "Read Across," games, music, sports, waterslides and more. Extra fun provided by the Nassau County Fire & Rescue Department, who 'made it rain,' brought a furry friend, and grilled burgers & hot dogs for lunch.

California Pizza Kitchen performs 'Inspired Acts':

More than 650 team members and guests of California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) spent Wednesday, March 20th, serving the Amelia Island community as part of their annual Operators Conference.

During the ‘Inspired Acts’ day, CPK team members engaged in several community service projects – from painting dugouts and renovating a domestic violence shelter to delivering food to a local food bank – with the goal of helping restore pride and confidence in the Amelia Island community.

And the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County were major beneficiaries as well. CPK teams sodded a sports field for the Roberts Club, and added LED lighting to the parking lot, leveled benches, added a water fountain and built new picnic tables at the Miller Club.

We all owe a huge "THANK YOU!" to CPK CEO G.J. Hart, Heather Hart, and the CPK team members from all over North America.  Inspired Acts, indeed. (read more...)

California Pizza Kitchen Boys and Girls Clubs Project Fernandina Beach

6th Annual Boys & Girls Clubs benefit 'a smash hit'

Alan Donaldson, For the News-Leader "A Smash Hit!" No other words adequately describe the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation's 6th Annual Dinner & Concert on the evening of Feb. 9, 2013. The Ballroom of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island was sold out, with 600 in attendance. Net proceeds from the event were well over $100,000.  (read the entire story...)


5th Annual Benefit Cocktail Reception Dinner with keynote speaker Bonnie St. John

Bonnie St. John spoke at the 5th Annual Benefit, that was held at The Ritz–Carlton, Amelia Island, February 24, 2012. Bonnie is a nationally-recognized author, inspirational speaker, executive coach, former athlete, mother and TV personality – of whom NBC  Nightly News said: “Bonnie is one of the five most inspiring women in America.”  She grew up on a low-income, crime-ridden environment near Los Angeles and lost a leg at age five to a medical disorder. Yet Bonnie  graduated with honors from Harvard University, earned her Masters Degree in Economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and has served on the White House National Economic Council. In 1984, she competed in the Paralympics in Austria and was the first African-American to win medals in downhill ski racing: one silver and two bronze medals.

Here’s what Bonnie says about her Paralympics experience: “I was ahead in the slalom. But in the  second run, everyone fell at a dangerous spot. I was beaten by a woman who got up faster than I did. I learned that people fall down, winners get up, and gold-medal winners get up faster.”

As a child, Bonnie  found an important source of support in what was the Girls Club, back then. So she was eager to come to Amelia Island and give her support to Boys & Girls Clubs here. Bonnie’s life is an example  of the success  that can derive from achieving the goals of Boys & Girls Clubs: to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged  circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

Another quote from Bonnie St. John illustrates why her words at the Benefit will be so meaningful: “I have faced so many difficult life situations myself – healing from sexual abuse, and family dysfunction, having my leg amputated as a child, facing race and gender discrimination, learning to be a mom, home-schooling and more. I am passionate about using the research and information that is out there because I know it made a difference to me.”

Bonnie's experience of bouncing back from adversity has taught her that there is no "magic bullet" that solves all problems with  the snap of a finger. No one diet works for all body types. No one type  of emotional support or healing works for all personality types. Bonnie  has discovered that the secret to her resilience and personal growth is  building a patchwork quilt of solutions just for her: various exercise programs, support of friends, spending time in nature, seeking expert knowledge, reading books, and of course, always relying on prayer for guidance. What goes into your own patchwork quilt won't be the same as what worked for Bonnie. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find the path that is just right for you. But her goal is to always present a myriad of choices to help make the decisions easier and the ultimate path to joy clearer for a variety of people.


People and Places ~ Special Events

Benefit concert The Boys & Girls Club presents Muriel Anderson on Feb. 2, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Golf Club of Fernandina Beach. Anderson is one of the world's leading guitarists, performing in the U.S., Europe and the Far East. She has over 12 CDs, films and instructional books and produces the All-Star Guitar Nights for the National Association of Music Merchandisers in Anaheim and Nashville. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $25 to the Boys & Girls Club. Cash bar and tasty treats. The event was organized by Tom Jordan.


Summer Carnival 2011

In celebration of the end of summer, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation held their Summer Carnival in August. With Assistance from valued community partners, kids  from the Fernandina Beach and Miller Clubs enjoyed games, water slides and great food (thanks to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island) plus a welcomed cool-down under the fire hose (courtesy of the Nassau County Professional Fire Fighters). Boys & Girls Club staff and volunteers,  led by Unit Director Jamie Thompson, ensured all had a wonderful time. <click here to enjoy some of the images...>

Held at the Miller Freedom Center on August 4th, nearly 200 people  enjoyed a variety of games, attractions and lunch -- all provided by Community Partner The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. The Nassau County Fire  Fighters added to the fun by hosing down the kids from the big red truck. This video features an interview with The Ritz-Carlton's Recreation Director Lee Gomez.


About NEA's Read Across America

The  National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its thirteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.
NEA’s Read Across America Day takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books.

Here in Nassau County, the program kicks of at the Boys & Girls Clubs and runs all summer long!

Locally,  volunteers joined Club staff to read to members and lead reading games at Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County’s Miller Freedom Center and Fernandina Beach locations.

Literacy is a major initiative for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

For  Read Across America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County hosted several volunteers at both Clubs who read to members and led them in reading games and other activities. Throughout the summer, volunteers from our local communities and businesses helped encourage Club members of all ages to get excited about reading.

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island hosted the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County for their Succeed Through Service program awards. Consistent with the theme, "The Power of Teamwork," 18 youth participated in team-building exercises led by Ritz-Carlton staff.  Club Members from Miller Freedom Center and Fernandina Beach presented service projects, awarding leaders Tessa Bohn-Carmichael and Tiasia Douse at "Most Valuable Youths" for their efforts.


The 4th Annual Benefit

Ritz-Carlton Gala to Benefit Boys & Girls Clubs Of Nassau County
Amelia  Island howted pianist-composer-recording artist William Joseph on November 12, 2010.  The talented young alumnus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix began his career at the age of eight when he won a Boys & Girls Clubs national music scholarship.  William Joseph got his second big break in 2003 when a chance encounter with 15-time Grammy winner & producer David Foster in Phoenix led to William giving an impromptu performance of one of his original compositions.  This led to two major-label CD’s, an extensive concert tour, and writing songs for the likes of Celtic Woman and others.
William credits much of his success to being a member of Boys & Girls Clubs in Phoenix from age 8-18.    “Boys & Girls Clubs are not just buildings, says William.  They’re organization and family, a support team and a way to have mentors.   It’s the people inside that matter.”   In addition to playing Friday evening, William will visit both Boys and Girls Clubs in Nassau County, speaking directly with local kids about music and his life experiences.  

The Boys and Girls Clubs Benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island began at 6:00 pm, Friday, November 12, 2010  and featured a cocktail reception, sit-down dinner, and silent auction.  Seats were $125 per person with sponsor opportunities available  for tables of ten.  



The Patriot Day Shoot was a clay-target shooting competition hosted by Amelia Shotgun Sports and sponsored by Nassau County Professional Fire Fighters. Teams compete for prizes, enjoy fraternity and share great barbecue -- all for a wonderful cause. Proceeds are designated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County. Organized by Fire Fighter Chris  Gamble, the 3rd Annual event was a resounding success, with Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation President Bill Gower and various  Boys & Girls Clubs volunteers on hand.





April 20, 2010 - The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, hosted the Global Youth Celebration Day, and all 18 BGC members who enrolled were invited back to celebrate their achievement accompanied by staff members Donna Roberts from the Miller Club and Gwen McIntyre from the Fernandina Club.  The Celebration Program lasted for over an hour and took place in a meeting room that had been set up with tables set for dining.  A number of volunteers from the Nassau County BGC Foundation were also on hand..... <read  more...>




ImageMakers is an educational photography program featured at the Boys & Girls Clubs. In Nassau County, kids at Fernandina Beach Club and Miller Freedom Center received photography instruction in the classroom,  then went out 'in the field' to apply their knowledge to the photographic arts. Impressive photographs were captured from many of the  kids, with Thomas Webb of the Fernandina Beach club snapping the winning photo. Special thanks goes to Wild Amelia for providing instruction, Rayonier for providing the cameras, and volunteers Joe DeMarco and Julie McCracken for assisting in the field.


March 30, 2010 at the Miller Freedom Center


Learn more...
_________________________________________________Carla Harris at the Boys & Girsl Clubs Nassau


November 20, 2009
at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island


3rd Annual Speakers Forum
featuring Carla Harris

Click Here to view the Invitation
Click  Here for even more...


October 27, 2008
at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

2nd Annual Speakers Forum
2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital was featured speaker at the second annual Boys & Girls Clubs Speakers Forum.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation
P.O. Box 16003 Fernandina Beach, FL 32035 | Phone: (904) 261-8666 | Fax: (904) 261-8168 |