Brett Morris, the club’s General Manager and COO, notes that employees in an organization often feel their job is “transactional,” but says Admirals Cove sought to offer more. “We realized that with five generations in the workforce, the commonality amongst them all was a sense of belonging and purpose,” says Morris. “… Giving back to an organization that needs volunteers creates a sense of worth.”
Many employees at The Club at Admirals Cove in Jupiter, Fla. in 2022 forged new connections with one another and the larger community through a new volunteer outreach program.
Brett Morris, the club’s General Manager and COO, notes that employees in an organization often feel their job is “transactional,” but says Admirals Cove sought to offer more.
“We realized that with five generations in the workforce, the commonality amongst them all was a sense of belonging and purpose,” says Morris. “… Giving back to an organization that needs volunteers creates a sense of worth.”
In 2022, the club started Champions For Change: Culture & Crisis Team, which gave employees opportunities to perform volunteer service work in the community. Morris says the club focused on finding projects that “resonated” with club employees, as well as ones where staffers from each department could participate.
Admirals Cove employees helped with a school supply drive, and a beach clean-up, packed meals for a food bank and sorted diapers for new mothers who are struggling to pay for basic necessities. Each outing was limited to about 15 to 20 employees, and Morris says they encouraged new staffers to attend each program. About 50 Admirals Cove employees have participated in Champions For Change so far.
The initiative kicked off in June 2022 when Admirals Cove volunteers worked with Friends of Juno Beach to pick up more than 40 pounds of trash and debris on the beach.
“Those who attended were surprised at just how rewarding the experience was and how much they enjoyed spending time with fellow co-workers in a new and different setting,” says Morris.
The school supply drive was conducted in conjunction with The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County in August 2022. Finding out there were many area young people who needed assistance buying basic education tools spurred Admirals Cove’s effort.
“Our county is an affluent area, but we learned that one of every five kids does not have money for school supplies,” Morris says.
One volunteer, Simona Vasu, the club’s Director of Hotel Operations, says she was “shocked to discover there are so many children in need right here in Palm Beach County. Stuffing backpacks for the kids in our community uplifted my soul, knowing that even a small role can shape their future.”
Pamela Caldwell, the club’s Director of Wellness, agrees, and adds she enjoyed interacting with her co-workers in a different environment.
“It was eye-opening and gratifying to be able to impact a child while getting to know your colleagues on a more meaningful level,” Caldwell says.
For the school supply project, Morris notes a team of club volunteers donated notebooks, folders, and glue sticks and then organized an assembly line to fill hundreds of backpacks with those items. Volunteers wrote notes of gratitude to the children and inserted them into the backpacks. That outreach effort was successful and inspired club employees to continue finding ways to donate their time.
“It was a real eye-opener, and everyone walked away feeling like they made a difference and then asked, ‘What’s the next thing we’re going to do?’” Morris shares.
Volunteers sorted diapers for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in October 2022 and packed meals at the Palm Beach County Food Bank a month later.
The volunteering activities led to employees forming friendships outside their work environment, as well as with staffers in other departments at the club. A couple employees told Morris they previously received assistance from some of the organizations that the club was working with.
“That really connected with me and them,” Morris notes. “Working side-by-side with them has strengthened their identity with me and the club.”
Kathy Kelly, the club’s Director of Administration, shares the outreach work was “very personal to me because it wasn’t long ago I was on the receiving end of organizations like this.”
Other employees discussed how much they enjoyed doing the service work.
Marco Arconte, the club’s Director of Food & Beverage, describes the experience as “incredibly fulfilling and enlightening.”
“It feels like we’re really making a difference in our community and getting to know my co-workers on a different level is the cherry on top,” Arconte says.
Nate Fanberg, the club’s Communications and Marketing Manager, adds: “I couldn’t have anticipated how much our staff would genuinely enjoy getting out into the community. We all came back so reinvigorated and immediately started thinking of other ways we can give back.”
Doing these service projects adds another dimension to how the club is viewed in Palm Beach County.
“It lets the community know we are more than a private club,” Morris says. “We are your neighbor.”
The club recently took a few months off from volunteer work, but Morris says many of his employees ask when the next outreach effort will happen.
“Our next objective is to help a local school and create a space for teachers and students to go when they feel overwhelmed,” Morris says. “The pandemic affected students and teachers, so this little escape for them will be a terrific mental health break.”
The Goal: Leaders at The Club at Admirals Cove in Jupiter, Fla. wanted to find ways for their employees to give back to the community and encourage workers from various departments to get to know each other better.
The Plan: To accomplish these goals, the club in 2022 started Champions For Change: Culture & Crisis Team, a program that allowed employees to participate in several volunteer service activities. The outings last year were a beach clean-up, school supply drive, organizing food at a food bank and sorting diapers for a group that assists new mothers in need.
The Payoff: Champions For Change has accomplished club leaders’ goals, according to Brett Morris, General Manager and COO. He says his staffers have enjoyed helping people in need, while also bonding with their co-workers in other departments at the club.