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Support BASE Camp at Cocktails for a Cause

Sooner or later, just about every professional in Orlando winds up at the Citrus Club.

From its scenic post on the 18th floor of the BB&T building, the Citrus Club regularly serves up food, drinks, and events to Orlando’s business community.

cocktails for a cause networking event for charity

Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

While some of the events are for club members only, Cocktails for a Cause is one great opportunity for you to visit the Citrus Club each month, do some networking, and support the great Orlando charities who participate. Here’s how it works:

Each month the Citrus Club Young Executive Committee selects a new charity to benefit from the Cocktails for a Cause event. 2014 beneficiaries have included Harbor House, Primrose Center, Shepherd’s Hope, and more.

On the first Tuesday of each month, Cocktails for a Cause attendees pay a $10 entrance fee in exchange for two drink tickets (good for beer, wine, or soda) and hors d’oeuvres. The money goes directly to the charity as a donation– the Citrus Club generously provides the drinks and food (and even offers to make an additional donation on behalf of anyone who is interested in joining the club that night!).

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle-- all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

At every Cocktails for a Cause event, the executive director of the charity joins Citrus Club membership director David Wood in conducting a fun raffle– all proceeds going to the charity. Photo by Teresa Watkins Photography.

Cocktails for a  Cause has raised more than $19,000 for Orlando charities in 2014 over the course of the last 11 events. Missed out on attending so far? Don’t worry– there is still one event left!

The final Cocktails for a Cause event of the year will be held on December 2nd at 5:30pm at the Citrus Club. The beneficiary will be BASE Camp, a foundation that provides a year-round base of support for children and families who are facing the challenges of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.

This month, we will also be holding a toy drive for the kids that BASE Camp supports. Cocktails for a Cause attendees can make the usual $10 donation AND/OR bring a toy donation to get in. Well info about many of toy donation can also checked at bridge.

BASE Camp is specifically requesting teen-appropriate gifts for those older children who often go unnoticed this time of year. If you choose to donate a plush or stuffed toy for a younger child, please remember that these children are often in hospitals and the toy must be completely washable.

At the Citrus Club, business casual or professional attire is recommended. Come out for a great evening of networking and enjoy the company of your fellow Orlando professionals while you support the great work of BASE Camp!

RSVP to Cocktails for a Cause on Facebook or call the Citrus Club at (407) 843-1080 for more information.


(Oh, and here’s a list of suggested gift ideas for teens at BASE Camp to help get you started!)


  • Bath & Bodyworks gift set
  • purse
  • make up kit
  • make up bag
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s


  • Axe gift set
  • shaving gift set – high quality beard razors (you can learn more here)
  • body wash gift set
  • iTunes gift card
  • Fast food gift card: McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s

Coca Cola Freestyle: Soda Machine of the FUTURE!

[Guest Post by Jen Vargas]

I love Coca Cola. I also love its tasty incarnations, Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke. All of these flavors, swishing around together make for a Cocapalooza in my mouth – this make me VERY happy! Enter, Coca Cola Freestyle. We have history…

My first discovery of this smile dispensing soda machine happened during the IAAPA Expo at the Orange County Convention Center here in Orlando. My curiosity began in 2010. [I wanted to go back in 2011 but our Relay For Life in Hunter’s Creek was happening the same weekend and I couldn’t make it.] But I never forgot about ‘the Freestyle Machine.’ I walked into the exhibit hall, saw a HUGE line and wondered, “What’s that all about?”

I came back two hours later and the line had gotten LONGER! “Ok, I HAVE to find out what the fuss is all about here,” I thought. So I waited… and waited… and waited in the line. After an hour or more of looking at the backs of other people’s heads, I saw it. This standalone, shiny, red touchscreen of awesomeness. A gentleman demoing the machine handed me a small, paper Coca Cola cup and asked me what I wanted to try. Baffled by all the choices (and flashy lights!), I asked for recommendations based on what I knew already. He recommended two flavors; Raspberry Coca Cola and Orange Vanilla Coca Cola. The thought of both sounded gross, to be honest, but I tried them anyway. I figured the guy knew what he was talking about, him being a seasoned mixologist and all. 106 (at the time) flavors to choose from… I needed more time to taste!

To my surprise, the Raspberry Coke was pretty good! The Orange Vanilla Coke however… WOW! That was my favorite! I wanted to try some more flavors, I was so stoked!! Then I looked behind me. It’s like the line never moved! The Coke booth was the place to be at IAAPA 2010! At the time, I still had a few hours left to roam the floor and chat with vendors, so I did. About 30 minutes before the event closed, I took a chance and hopped back in the Freestyle line to sample more flavors. The line was shorter but not by much. Others in line behind me didn’t want to wait and left. The people running the booth were cleaning up while the end of event announcements played over the PA system. As they continued to close, they kept the line moving, allowing people to try samples. I was literally the LAST person that year to Freestyle! I had to try another Orange Vanilla Coke! This time I was recommended to try Grape, Vanilla and Strawberry Sprite. Strawberry Sprite was tasty. I wasn’t a fan of the Sprite Grape or Vanilla flavors but they were worth a shot. After closing, I grabbed a Vanilla Coke for the road, I left IAAPA wondering when I’d see one again (outside of Disney or the other theme parks).

In 2011 and 2012, Coca Cola Freestyle machines started showing up in Burger King, Firehouse Subs, Moe’s Southwest Grills, Hess Gas Stations, even my local Pei Wei Asian Diner! Convenience, thy name be Freestyle!!! Now, I can’t walk a mile or so without seeing one, or even two, in my favorite local restaurants. My next hope is that Sweet Tomatoes (Souplantation for you Left Coasters) gets a Freestyle machine. Perfection on top of perfection… all would be right with the world. More nerdiness? I also love the Push + Play app for my iPhone! You can find a Freestyle machine near you AND play Coke’s snazzy version of Simon!! (Just don’t PUSH!+Play and drive, please.)




If you get a chance, you should check out the Coca Cola Freestyle webpage and Facebook page. They are very active on Twitter too, if you are so inclined (and I know you are)! Maybe I’ll see you at a local watering hole soon?
OMG! #CCFreestyleTweetup! Can we Brian, can we!?