IdeaCamp this Thursday Night at the New ATC at Gulf Coast!


The wildly successful IdeaCamp held by the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce and made possible by Southwest Airlines is happening this Thursday evening, October 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Gulf Coast State College’s brand new Advanced Technology Center.

Community members are invited to Share, Learn and Network with other residents and business people in a relaxed environment. IdeaCamp attendees will enjoy light eats and a FREE drink ticket for the first 50 registrants that arrive.  Please REGISTER HERE in order to secure your spot.

The event is FREE to PCB chamber members and $20 to non-members. Door prizes are awarded so make sure you bring your business card and look forward to a tour of the ATC at this IdeaCamp.



The First Time I Wanted to Die I Was 12 years Old


Forgive me for my bluntness, or don’t .  But I knew if I made the subject line “National Suicide Prevention Week Sept 8 -13“, many of you would not click to read more.  Not out of apathy, it just probably would not have caught your eye.

I chose that heading because I know that first step to getting rid of the stigma associated with suicide is to talk about it.  The first time I wanted to die, I was in fact 12 years old.  I was at church camp and I scavenged through pill bottles looking for something I could overdose on, luckily my knowledge of pharmacology as a sixth grader were very limited and I ended up having an asthma attack before I could get my hands on anything.

I wanted to end my own life many times over the years, especially as my mental health worsened.  It is now twenty years later and thankfully I did not choose a permanent action for a temporary problem.  I owe my being here to my mother who made sure I got the help I needed so I would be safe and not do myself any harm when I was in these dark periods of my life.

Thanks to a support system of family and friends and the help of mental health professionals, I am here today.  But not everyone is so lucky, which is what this week is about.  I know if I had not received professional help, I would not be alive today.

I offer these candid words because I know unless you know my history, you would never have pegged me as someone who struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts over the years.

I post happy pictures and optimistic quotes and love to laugh.  I have above average intelligence, am attractive and physically skilled.  I can sing, dance, and throw a great party when in a pinch.  I generally “succeed” at just about any task I tackle.  I say all these things because often after a suicide I hear people say things “But he was so talented or she was so smart….” as if to beg the question “What do they have to be sad about?”

That is precisely the point.  Mental Illness is not rational nor does it discriminate which is why we need to take it more seriously.  There is a local group in our community hoping we will join together and do that very thing.

SPARE which stands for Suicide, Prevention, Awareness, Response and Education,  is a coalition of several local organizations and citizens who want to spread the word about suicide to prevent future suicides.  They are hosting a walk this Saturday, September 14th at Gulf Coast State College, meeting at the Hwy 98 side at 8:30 am and beginning the walk over Hathaway Bridge at 9 am.

Everyone is welcome to join the walk and will get a T-shirt with a $10 dollar donation.

SPARE hopes to bring awareness to the public about suicide and its devastation on families, increase prevention and proper response to signs and symptoms, and educate about ways to help prevent Suicide. This walk is an effort to help SPARE accomplish their goals.

For more information, please call Christine Hurst at 850.522.1516 or email or visit their Facebook page

If you or someone you know is in crisis, have them call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or locally the Life Management Crisis Center Hotline at 850-873-8573.



Two Theatrical Debuts

It’s show time again!  Both Gulf Coast State College and the Kaleidoscope Theatre are getting ready to put on a new show!


Gulf Coast is already in the midst of their first production of the season.  Amadeus, written by Peter Shaffer, is based on the life of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.  Some may recognize the 1984 movie based on this play, starring F. Murray Abraham.  If you haven’t had a chance to see this amazing show you can still catch it this Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday the 16th at 2:30 p.m.  This show is recommended for mature audiences.

I’ll Be Back Before Midnight

Kaleidoscope Theatre is also about to begin its production entitled, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight, written by Peter Colley.  This production is described as, “Wonderfully spooky and spine chilling.”  Recovering from a nervous breakdown, Jan and her husband decide to rent a cabin, where disturbing things begin to take place.  Will Jan make it out without losing her mind?

The dates of the performance will be: October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, & 29 at 7:30 p.m and again on October 16, 23, and 30 at 2:30 p.m., and is recommended for a mature audience.

Looking for something a little more family oriented?  Gulf Coast will be putting on the production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in November.   Keep checking back for an update on dates and times for the show.

**Photos provided by Rusty Garner**