Traveling Man – Christmas Magic

the wonder of Christmas provided by Brothers in Tampa, Florida

Hello, my Brothers, The Traveling Man RW Anthony Prizzia here again with a great new find just a little South of Tampa, Florida. As I have said a million times, Freemasons are like Cheerios in milk; we somehow find each other and connect almost like it is in our DNA.

My mother and stepdad have lived in Sun City for the past 20 years. I have always tried to get to a lodge meeting down there, but I need the right time and enough time to fit in during my visits. This past Christmas was also one of those times, but while sitting by the pool, a friend saw my ring and asked me if I was going to check out the light show at the Mason youth camp. I was like, wait, what did you say?

Video of the Masonic Park & Youth Camp Christmas Light Show

Less than 5 miles away, there was a Masonic Park and Youth Camp, and for the first time, they were putting on a Christmas Light Show set to music that you could tune into on your car radio. I looked at my parents and said well, I know what we are doing after Christmas day dinner. Pulling up in our car the lights were beaming brightly into the sky from the entrance. Brothers from all over have retired here, and I got to introduce myself to one after the other as we made our way to the main entrance to pay admission. For a carload, it was a donation of $29.95 and worth every penny. Over a million lights were flashing, synchronized to music spanning the 1.2-mile drive-through path. At the end of the light show, I got to say goodbye to a few more brothers, and we headed back home.

This fantastic event was yet another genuine way that Freemasonry sheds light on the world and makes it a little bit brighter! Below is a little history of the Camp from their website. If you are ever in the Tampa/Sun City area during the holiday season, make sure you check them out; you will love it. And if you make it to the Camp, please say “Hello” for me!

In 1969, seventeen Masonic Lodges from surrounding districts incorporated the Masonic Park and Youth Camp, Inc. as a 501(3)c nonprofit corporation. The purpose of this corporation is to own, develop, improve, operate, and manage a camp for the primary use of young men, women, and families. The Masonic Park seeks to promote such people’s moral, intellectual and physical well-being through education in the conservation of wildlife and natural resources.

The Masonic Park provides an opportunity for young people to learn and develop leadership and physical fitness by providing them lodging amenities, outdoor athletic facilities, canoeing, hiking, lecture and wildlife exploration, indoor entertainment halls, dining facilities, and much more. In the same year, the Masonic Park and Youth Camp, Inc. purchased 204 pristine acres of wilderness property. The property is bordered by three-quarter miles of the Little Manatee River and has a small lake. One reason for such a purchase was to provide accommodations for RVs, motor homes, and motor coaches. As part of the park development, we’ve incorporated over 125 acres of hiking trails. Along the trails, you’ll find some of the most beautiful wildlife Florida offers.

The Masonic Park and Youth Camp has a unique, outdoor Masonic Lodge that is centrally located within the park

We have partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN). The Commission’s commitment to research, education, and conservation of Florida wildlife complement the overall purpose and design of the Masonic Park. The FYCCN’s bold new program, jointly sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, leads the effort to reconnect Florida’s children with traditional outdoor activities. As part of a statewide network of conservation centers, the program is designed to encourage and empower kids to participate in traditional outdoor recreation. Experts teach them how to safely enjoy the outdoor heritage we have worked so hard to maintain. The FYCCN includes Wild Outdoor Hubs offering deep-wood experiences that connect to Near Outdoor Centers, offering experiences closest to children in their everyday lives. As the development of the Masonic Park and Youth Camp continues, our partners play a vital role in our mission to educate, promote and support the development of youth activities.

RW Anthony Prizzia
Past Master of Adonai Lodge #718, Highland, New York
Bro. Prizzia is also a proud member of:
Cyprus Shrine, Oriental Shrine, and Ulster County Shrine Club
Valley of Albany A.A.S.R
Poughkeepsie Chapter 172
Poughkeepsie Commandery 43
Royal Order of Scotland