by Lexi Rosenbaum
Have you ever heard of Winter Guard? To me Winter Guard is both a sport and also an art. It combines different types of dance, flag spinning, rifle tossing, and sabre throwing. It is similar to color guard but instead of performing with a school band at a football game, Winter Guard teams compete interscholastically in the Spring.
I joined the Swiss Point Winter Guard team in 6th grade after my mother enrolled me in a camp at our school to try it out and see if I liked it. I am now going into 8th grade and it will be my 3rd year of Winter Guard – so I guess it is safe to say I loved it.
What equipment is used?
The equipment that the Winter Guard teams use show off the artistic effects and also the ability of the team. The flag is the most fundamental piece of equipment because it can show grace and elegance, but also can show strength and confidence. The rifle is my favorite because it is flowy, fun, energetic, and hardcore. Now the sabre, the sabre is the hardest in my opinion. You have to throw it high above your head and this requires a lot of patience and hard work, but it is really fun.
What is it like to be on the team?
So some qualities that you will need for Winter Guard are patience, hard work, positivity, a fun attitude, and to be yourself. To be on the Swiss Point Guard is awesome because our coaches always push us to be the best we can be. Also being on the team is like having a second best family to look forward to seeing. On the Swiss Point Winter Guard team we have great coaches, including Evan, Michael, Katie, Charis, as well as girls from the Bartram High team who sometimes help. The main coach is Coach Evan Black, he is a hardworking and intelligent coach who spends time preparing his teams for championships and other competitions. Also he is very fun to work with.
We practice every week on Wednesday and Thursday from August through April 1st ,when we attend the final competition at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. In 2015-16 our team, Swiss Point Middle School Winter Guard, won 2nd place at this regional championship and our score placed us 3rd overall in the state of Florida.
I have learned a lot while being a member of the Swiss Point Winter Guard team. How to work hard to accomplish my goals, the value of supporting my teammates and having them support me, and that the worst thing you can do during a guard competition is to drop your smile.
by Debbie Gaylord
Here in Florida, our sunny days and mild winters allow us to enjoy twelve beautiful months of outdoor living. Finding the perfect furniture for your space that reflects your style is key to making the most of Florida’s outdoor life. That is where Coastal Casual comes into play. The spacious showroom, located in St. Augustine, offers high quality patio furniture, casual indoor furniture and accessories, as well as repair.
As any small business owner will tell you, five years in business is a big deal. When Danielle and Keith Shank opened their large patio furniture store five years ago, they began a journey that would change their lives. It was the perfect choice for the couple who had been in the industry for over twenty years and wanted to do it their own way. This meant creating a beautiful showroom where they could offer the best brands combined with the repair shop where people bring their furniture to extend the life of patio items and get more from their investment.
Danielle and Keith work side by side running the family business on a daily basis. Danielle runs the marketing and both of them work with vendors. Keith also does repairs in his shop attached to the showroom.
They are also parents of two sons. Danielle says that there are challenges and sometimes the business is like having another child and it can be very demanding. “It's not always easy juggling between the business and having young children,” she says.
But owning their own business gives them a great sense of satisfaction. They work hard and put in a lot of hours but it feels good. Danielle has been able to enjoy the flexibility to volunteer many hours while the boys were in elementary school and she says she doesn’t think she missed a single field trip.
“Sometimes we have our moments but for the most part it's great, we have a lot of fun. Our oldest son Dalton started working with us this summer too. We do our best to put our children first and keep things in perspective”.
“Live Life Outdoors,” is their motto at Coastal Casual and the Shanks truly believe in this concept, as spending time together outside work on the water and outdoors is important to them. According to Danielle, “Keith and Dalton would be out fishing everyday if they could and Dylan is an explorer”.
When they are not working or enjoying St. Augustine, the Shank family does a lot of traveling in their RV. They have visited all over Florida both camping and at different resorts.
One of the most memorable experiences they had while traveling was in Key West. “We took our boat out and were snorkeling when a shark came into view. My niece was almost walking on water to get back to the boat yelling shark. We were all climbing in anywhere we could and the shark just calmly swam right under Keith since he was farthest from the boat. It was a nurse shark and she continued to just swim around the boat but we were done snorkeling for the day.” Perhaps after all, living life outdoors in Florida can have its downside.
In August, Danielle and Keith will celebrate five years serving the First Coast with month-long sales and events. It’s their way to say thank you for your support to customers who over the years have become dear friends.
Coastal Casual is located at 2630 US 1 South St. Augustine, FL 32086. For more information, visit http://www.coastalcasual.net/
St. Johns Magazine