Just as striking as the vision of Callawassie Island rising before us from the tidal waters as we cross the causeway – just as compelling a reason why people choose to live here – is the sense of connection that Callawassie Islanders enjoy andshare. People feel it right away.
Brief visitors quickly notice it; the way we rely on each other, the confidence we feel in our community’s management and staff, and the expertise and competence we encounter at every level in our dealings with each other. These are just a few of the facets of Callawassie Island’s sense of connection that set us apart from all other private communities in South Carolina.
Now a period of uncertainty has descended over all of us, as our nation addresses a health concern that extends far and wide. Medical experts, public servants, neighbors, and friends sort carefully through what is known and unknown, in the efforts to navigate this passage through to a healthy future. Although this concern might extend equally everywhere, on Callawassie Island we have certain advantages.
Our connection with each other on Callawassie Island is not threatened by temporary distancing. The end of hugs and handshakes is not part of our terminal forecast here. Whatever techniques for protecting our health take shape, we know that on the other side of this experience our real connections will still be there. The reason? Because we start from such a strong foundation.
Throughout our story on Callawassie Island, runs a constant well-spring of connections between people. We discovered that this place of beauty and peace draws folks with certain things in common beneath all their fascinating variety. We place a priority on harmony in our community, as we continue growing and learning from what we find that is new around us, within us, and among us. One reason life never gets dull here is because of what we see in each other, as well as the ever-changing environment of nature at its best that surrounds us. That security frees people to reach out, an important part of what makes Callawassie Island one of the best places to live in South Carolina.The strength of what we already share is a big reason we see a future worth looking forward to. It shows us that the world is not going to run short on people who want to become a part of this community.
The quality of connection on Callawassie Island has long resulted in groups, ]associations, clubs, and organizations where people enjoy themselves and each other along lines of special interests and service. Those structures come in handy when unexpected demands occur.
From the Friends of Callawassie Island (FOCI), with their charitable and fundraising endeavors, to the Garden Club that teams with trusted staff to create the ever-changing array of colors and growth that surrounds us, to the “Blind Squirrels” that smooth the transition from city life to neighborhood tee-times, and sustain the interests of golfers both seasoned and new, Callawassie Island connections result in a powerful collection of organizations that can multiply the efforts and bring to life the good intentions of the people who are fortunate to live here.
You can depend on it, behind every visual reminder of the interests that people share here, like our three and nine-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, is at least one club or association, that grew around that interest. This attention and focus builds strength, not only in the relationships that grow around it, but also in the quality of the places where our connections are made. As just one example, the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel just named the Callawassie Island Club again among its Best in State Awards for 2020, for Excellence in Golf Course Design and Operations.
Yes, attention is energy, and where our attention is directed, excellence seems to follow. Callawassie Island is consistently named one of best private communities in South Carolina.
What propels our interests beyond recreation is the connection that Callawassie Islanders make between enjoyment and service. Following the golf example further, our fall FOCI Golf Tournament, now approaching its 20th year, raises as much as $40,000 to benefit 24 different local charities.
When life takes a turn to the unexpected, the connections already thriving here on Callawassie Island rapidly get useful. When the current health concerns began to keep residents close to home, Callawassie Island Club General Manager Jeff Spencer and assistant Laurie Stewart made Jeff’s own office a Who Needs Help clearing house. Matching residents who need help completing essential shopping or errands with other residents who can accomplish them. Who Needs Help is an ongoing channel for the willingness and generosity that comes naturally to Callawassie Islanders, and to the trusted management and staff we rely on through good times and bad.
The measures we bring to bear for helping Callawassie Island residents go beyond the immediate response. Already, there is a well-established program called Wee Chicks & Lame Ducks. Organized by the Callawassie Island Women’s Club, the program provides equipment for infants and young children (the Wee Chicks) and for residents who may be recuperating from an operation or rehabilitating from an injury (the Lame Ducks).
The inventory for children includes cribs and high-chairs, strollers and car seats, toys and bikes. The Wee Chicks collection is a blessing for Callawassie Island visitors who can’t fly in with all their own gear, and for families who have children or grandchildren in the home just seasonally.
Youth sports equipment like golf clubs, life vests, and bike helmets are available. Inflatable twin beds are among the Wee Chicks inventory too, so even teens and pre-teens fortunate to visit Callawassie Island can be accommodated comfortably while they build the memories that will one day bring them back. The Lame Duck gear includes crutches, wheel-chairs, walkers, and shower chairs, so temporary convalescence and recovery doesn’t have to call for a permanent acquisition.
A Little More is a program organized quickly by FOCI to help replenish food pantry shelves in neighboring communities to assist families impacted by the economic effects of stay-at-home health practices, and the curtailed employment that results for many people. FOCI members are encouraged to buy “just a little more” for donation when they venture out for essential shopping.
Donations to A Little More are boxed or bagged, and placed in the trunk of a donor’s car. Donors can simply pop the trunk at the drop-off location by the Callawassie Island Tennis Club, and FOCI volunteers can take it from there. Uncertain times like these don’t dim the power of connection we enjoy here on Callawassie Island. Instead, our connections shine even brighter. What we see today makes us even more confident of what we will still be enjoying here – certainly – long after these times are past.