Category Archives: Feature Stories

Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles



Put on your best outfits and break out your champagne glasses — Wellington’s world-famous winter polo season is underway. Following last year’s inaugural season at the National Polo Center-Wellington, the nation’s “Sunday Field” for polo is ready for the excitement to return. If you listen carefully, perhaps you can hear the thundering sound of hoofs galloping at full speed across the field, led by some of the world’s best polo players. Watching the “sport of kings” on Sundays at NPC is a tradition to be enjoyed by everyone, from year-round residents to jet-setting socialites, longtime polo experts to those new to the sport. Perhaps you prefer cheering from the grandstands, or maybe tailgating is more your style. Others enjoy the sumptuous brunch with all the amenities at the Pavilion. Either way, the United States Polo Association’s National Polo Center-Wellington is the place to be on Sunday afternoons. As we do each year, Wellington The Magazine is highlighting just a small handful of the many amazing athletes you will see on NPC’s pristine fields this season. Turn the page and meet the Faces of Polo 2024.

American prodigy Hope Arellano hails from a long line of polo players. Arellano has held a mallet in her hand since early childhood. At age 12, she won her first 12-goal tournament alongside her brothers, Lucas and Agustin Arellano, and her Hall-of-Fame father, Julio Arellano. The young superstar’s success has catapulted her through the ranks and the record books. At 14, Arellano became the youngest player in history to win the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship. In 2022, she became the first woman to represent the U.S. in the prestigious XII FIP World Polo Championship. Come January, Arellano will once again make history as she surpasses her father’s highest handicap to become the first American player since 2015 to achieve a 10-goal status and the youngest American ever to reach a 10-goal women’s handicap. Not just excelling in the U.S., in December, Arellano became the first American to win the Women’s Argentine Open.

Tomas Panelo’s polo career has been on the rise since 2017, when he represented his home country of Argentina and won the XI FIP World Polo Championship. In 2021, the fresh-faced Argentine secured another monumental victory at the Queen’s Cup. Panelo had a record year in 2023. During the inaugural winter season at the National Polo Center, Panelo secured wins in the USPA Gold Cup with Scone and an impressive performance in the Ylvisaker Cup final. Over the summer, Panelo shined as he set the speed during the 2023 summer in Santa Barbara with Brookshire, where he picked up wins in the America Cup and the NetJets Pacific Coast Open.

Kylie Sheehan’s track record speaks for itself. From winning both interscholastic and intercollegiate national titles at Garrison Forest (2009) and the University of Virginia (2012, 2013), to winning the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship with BTA/The Villages (2021), Sheehan has proven her polo proficiency time and again. The Baltimore native remains dedicated to growing the sport at home through the Wellington-based Flying Cow Polo Club and the Women of Wellington (WOW) tournament series. The newly formed league provides additional playing opportunities for women and serves as a platform to promote amateur and professional female players, encouraging greater participation in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship.

Dominating the 2023 winter season at the National Polo Center, 18-year-old Santos Merlos of Argentina made his mark with Iconica in his first professional showcase in Wellington last year. Merlos and his Iconica teammates took home the win from the first Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship after capturing the Joe Barry Memorial, Ylvisaker Cup and Iglehart Cup. In the Joe Barry Memorial, Merlos was named Most Valuable Player after a spectacular four-goal performance. The son of former 10-goaler Sebastian Merlos, this young competitor is sure to shine again this season and is one of the top players to watch!

A long-time legend in the sport, Argentine Adolfo Cambiaso is a name synonymous with polo itself and an integral part of American polo. At just 19 years old, Cambiaso earned the distinguished 10-goal handicap status, and in 2000, he founded La Dolfina, one of the most successful Argentine teams in history. Now 48, the veteran player has a record to match with one of the most successful careers in the Argentine Triple Crown, as well as victories in England and the United States. Throughout his time competing in the U.S., Cambiaso has acquired eight C.V. Whitney Cup victories, 15 USPA Gold Cup titles and nine U.S. Open Polo Championship trophies, including five Most Valuable Player awards during the final. A seasoned professional, the industry titan has now begun focusing his attention on his legacy — his children — competing in the prestigious Gauntlet of Polo series alongside his son, Adolfo “Poroto” Cambiaso Jr. in 2021 and 2022.

Born into a family of horse lovers and polo players, California native Santi Torres was riding horses as soon as he could walk. Torres started playing peewee polo at age four. By age eight, he was caring for and riding a full string. By age 11, Torres had gone pro. In the years since, he has continued to perfect his craft and add to his trophy collection, winning the Pacific Coast Open in 2012. As a former Valiente competitor, Torres won the C.V. Whitney Cup, the Joe Barry Memorial, the USPA Gold Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup with the powerhouse organization. Most recently, Torres competed in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo series with Dazos and represented the U.S. against Ireland in the international conclusion to the National Polo Center’s inaugural season.

Adolfo “Poroto” Cambiaso Jr., son of polo legend Adolfo Cambiaso, is following in his father’s footsteps — literally. The younger Cambiaso emerged on the high-goal scene in 2021 when he competed alongside his father in the Gauntlet of Polo for the first time, winning the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship with Scone. In 2022, Cambiaso picked up another American win in the Pacific Coast Open in California, as well as his first Argentine double, winning the Hurlingham Open and the Argentine Open with his father’s organization, La Dolfina. Now rated at 10 goals, Cambiaso competed in his third Gauntlet of Polo season with Scone in 2023 — this time, without his father at his side — and led his team to victory to take home the sixth prestigious title of his career, the USPA Gold Cup.

Born in Argentina, Hilario Ulloa grew up immersed in the sport thanks to his father, world-renowned trainer Carlos “Polito” Ulloa. Reaching the elusive 10-goal status in 2017, Hilario Ulloa has remained among the top players in the world, competing on the global stage in the United States, England and Argentina. A four-time-winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship and the C.V. Whitney Cup, Ulloa and Park Place have dominated the winter season at the National Polo Center in recent years.

Facundo Pieres is modern-day, professional polo personified. Born into a family of polo players and descended from polo great Gonzalo Pieres, Facundo grew up playing polo in Argentina with his brothers Gonzalo “Gonzalito” and Nicolas “Nico” Pieres, as well as cousin Pablo “Polito” Pieres. Facundo Pieres holds an extraordinary record in Argentina, England and the U.S. Of all his accomplishments, the most notable may be Pieres’ 2019 Gauntlet of Polo victory, when he led Pilot to capture all the tournaments in the series in its inaugural year. To this day, Pilot remains the only team to do so. Most recently, in December, Pieres won the 2023 Argentine Open with La Natividad

These are just a few of the amazing athletes competing at NPC this season, which kicks off with the Continental Cup (Dec. 31 to Jan. 7). The Continental Cup is also the start of the NPC 16-Goal Championship series, which consists of four qualifying tournaments — the Joe Barry Memorial (Jan. 11-28), the Ylvisaker Cup (Jan. 26 to Feb. 24), the Iglehart Cup and the Outback Cup — with each winning team advancing to the NPC 16-Goal Championship, set for April 10-14. The season’s most anticipated competition, the Gauntlet of Polo series, runs from February to April and features top teams and players from around the world as they contest for the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship trophies. Also at NPC this season is the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship during the month of February and the debut of the National President’s Cup, which will unite some of the most talented 8-goal teams in the nation when it is held April 12-21. Learn more about the season at


The Top Level Of High-Goal Polo In The United States

The Top Level Of High-Goal Polo In The United States The World Polo League At The Grand Champions Polo Club Showcases The Only 26-Goal Polo Played Outside Of Argentina

By Sharon Robb

The World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina, opens its sixth season with a star-studded lineup at the Grand Champions Polo Club in February.

The season-opening All-Star Challenge Tournament kicks off the high-goal season Feb. 6-25 on the club’s well-manicured fields. The All-Star Challenge is the first of four grass tournaments. The others are the Feb. 22 to March 10 Founders Cup, the March 6-23 Palm Beach Open and the March 20 to April 13 Triple Crown.

The WPL then moves to the sands of Miami Beach for the April 19-21 Beach Polo World Cup, and the popular WPL Polo Pride also returns.

The star-studded lineup showcases some of the sport’s best players in the world. Argentine 10-goalers Pablo MacDonough and Jeta Castagnola head the lineup. The pair are coming off winning the 130th Argentine Open with their La Natividad team, capturing the final with a 13-10 win over Adolfo Cambiaso-led La Dolfina Saudi.

MacDonough — ranked as a 10-goaler in Argentina, Great Britain and the United States — earned the Gonzalo Heguy Most Valuable Player Award at the Argentine Open. The crowd-pleaser has won 12 Argentine Opens, 10 Hurlingham Opens and 12 Tortugas Opens. He is one of the most dominant players in the World Polo League and never ceases to amaze fans with his ability.

Castagnola won the Javier Novillo Astrada Award as top scorer of the tournament with 38 goals. Ranked third in the World Polo Tour rankings, Castagnola is one of the sport’s rising stars. He is ranked at 10 goals in Argentina and 9 goals in Great Britain and the U.S. He has won two Argentine Opens and Tortugas Opens, and one British Open, Hurlingham Open and Queens Cup.

The pair will be joined by 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero, a member of the La Dolfina Saudi team. Other top players are former 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and hometown favorite Nic Roldan, the second highest ranked American player at 8 goals.

The popular World Polo League, with its world-class horses and fast, wide-open play, was created by club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi. It filled a void left when the United States Polo Association, the sport’s governing body, announced it was lowering high-goal polo to 18-22 goals and would not have 26-goal polo.

The Ganzis wanted to make sure that the world-class league preserved the highest level of polo and its rich tradition in the U.S. The WPL has its own set of simpler, fan-friendly rules to improve the flow of the game, and world-class umpires including top-ranked Gaston Dorignac.

In addition to the successful WPL, four other high-goal tournaments will be held: the Feb. 1-11 Sterling Cup (20 goals), the Feb. 1 to March 31 USPA Butler Handicap 18-22 Goal, the Feb. 7-24 $100,000 World Cup (0-40 goals), and the Feb. 27 to March 10 Santa Rita Abierto (20 goals).

The January through April winter season offers a full array of tournaments for players at every level. Men, women and junior players have a choice of competing in 6-, 8-, 12- and 16-goal leagues, in addition to the weekly Polo School Women’s League, WCT Finals, several junior tournaments under the Polo Training Foundation umbrella and special events.

The Polo School Women’s League, created by Alina Carta and Melissa Ganzi, is for all level female players with an emphasis on beginners and intermediate players. Held every Wednesday from January through April, games are held with an umpire.

Grand Champions will host several spectacular social events including “Chukkers and Cocktails at Sunset” for all levels of polo players and guests.

The various tournaments attract a large, international field of players from all corners of the world, including Argentina, Spain, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Venezuela, Chile and England.

The Grand Champions Polo Club and the Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two exercise tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, a vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation, a short work arena and stick-and-ball fields.

Wellington-based CTV Sports, formerly ChukkerTV, is live streaming the entire winter season, the only club in the world to do so, with Dale Schwetz and Jan-Erik Franck calling the action.

The Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm expert staff can customize a complete playing experience, including horses, pros and certified umpires, in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility. With Polo On Demand, there is an opportunity to tailor an experience to one’s skills and schedule, along with learning from top pros to bring out the best in a player or team.

The Polo School, a nonprofit organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grassroots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. The Polo School operates January through May for the winter season.

For more information on the winter leagues or the polo school, call Juan Bollini at (561) 346-1099 or Cale Newman at (561) 876-2930. The Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. To learn more about the 2024 season, visit


Unbridled Equestrian Pursuits

Unbridled Equestrian Pursuits Michael And Natalie Nicodema Are On A Quest To Transform Wellington’s Legal And Wellness Landscape


By Vyla Carter and Olivia Parr

In Wellington, where equestrian pursuits reign supreme, a dynamic duo has emerged as transformative figures, seamlessly blending the worlds of law, wellness and the love of horses.

Michael and Natalie Nicodema, a husband-and-wife team with more than three decades of shared history, have not only made indelible marks in their respective fields but have also left an enduring impact here in Wellington.

Michael Nicodema is a seasoned trial lawyer and principal shareholder at Greenberg Traurig PA’s West Palm Beach office. With a career spanning 30 years, he has earned a reputation as a versatile trial attorney, tackling everything from intellectual property cases to civil rights issues. However, it was his keen observation of the underserved legal needs within the equestrian industry that led him to initiate a groundbreaking venture.

“Two and a half years ago, during COVID-19, I finally decided, ‘You know what, I’m going to see if this is going to work,” Michael recalled. “So, I got together more than 50 top lawyers in my firm to cover all the practice areas you might think an equestrian, or someone in the polo world, or even the racing world, would need for their everyday business ventures.”

This initiative resulted in the formation of Greenberg Traurig’s Equine Industry Group, a legal sanctuary catering to the intricate needs of the equestrian world. Michael emphasizes the group’s vast expertise, covering areas crucial to equestrians, polo enthusiasts and racing aficionados alike.

As part of one of America’s largest and most prestigious law firms, the Equine Industry Group serves as a legal advocate for those deeply embedded in the equine sector.

Michael sheds light on common topics within the industry, ranging from transactional concerns like horse import taxes to litigation issues tied to buying and selling horses. “Whether it’s environmental, corporate, the sale of a barn or a dispute over a horse sale, you gotta know horses. And we know horses,” he said.

Beyond his legal endeavors, Michael has embraced the world of podcasting, providing a unique lens into the equestrian lifestyle. “That’s when I started thinking about a podcast,” he said. “And I started doing it, very low tech, by cell phone, interviewing the guests at really nice equestrian venues, the polo club or Global… Now we’re going to start doing some at Wellington International.”

One of Michael’s favorite podcast episodes delves into the unexpected synergy between law and cuisine.

“I think my favorite podcast was with Tim Gannon, the co-founder of Outback Steakhouse. Great polo man and a great entrepreneur,” he recalled. “It was such a free and easy discussion. One of the things we talked about was how Tim invented the Bloomin’ Onion, which is one of the signature appetizers on the Outback Steakhouse menu. Whatever topic I teed up, Tim’s words and stories had me 100 percent locked in. I could have talked with him for hours.”

While Michael extends legal support to the equestrian community, Natalie pursues her lifelong passion for riding horses while making significant contributions to community wellness. From her early days riding with clubs to owning and showing several horses throughout her riding career, Natalie found solace and balance in her connection with horses.

Inspired by a year-long illness, she transitioned from nursing to establishing her health and wellness coaching practice. “I’ve always been fascinated by health and wellness,” Natalie said.

Her illness became the catalyst for exploring alternative paths to well-being beyond conventional medicine. Now, through coaching, she assesses individuals’ lifestyles, environments and diets, guiding them to optimal health. Natalie’s coaching has not only transformed lives but also extended the lifespans of those with low life expectancies due to cancer.

“Being a champion or mental toughness comes through the body first,” Natalie advises equestrians. “If your body’s not strong because you slept badly, you didn’t feed it, you’re injured, you’re not going to feel that confidence that you need to be that winner in the ring.”

Her engagement in the horse world has been a conduit for change. “Every time you help somebody, you’re really helping a multitude of other people,” she said, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between equestrians and their horses, and urging riders to prioritize their well-being to be true partners with their equine counterparts.

Whether in the legal arena or the stables, Michael and Natalie commit themselves to the Wellington and horse-loving communities.

“We are just so passionate about the industry and horses, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that horses in equestrian sports are treated with the respect, dignity, love and care they deserve because for horse lovers like us, they are very, very special,” Michael said.

In the narrative of the Nicodemas, law and wellness converge in a harmonious blend, enriching the Wellington community and echoing the timeless bond between humans and horses. Through their unwavering dedication, this power couple continues to shape the narrative of Wellington’s legal and wellness landscapes, leaving an indelible imprint on the community they hold dear.


WELLINGTON TODAY: A New Year Brimming With Promise

WELLINGTON TODAY: A New Year Brimming With Promise

With Promise As the old year ends and a new one begins, the Village of Wellington is looking forward to all that 2024 has to offer in programming and projects designed to bring residents and visitors together in an exciting spirit of renewal.

As we usher in the new year, both residents and visitors are gearing up for a year brimming with promise, growth and fresh beginnings in our great hometown. Our community provides the perfect backdrop and invites everyone to embrace the spirit of renewal that accompanies the dawn of a new year.

Parks and Green Spaces: A Canvas for Fresh Adventures Wellington’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty is evident in the sprawling parks and green spaces that serve as havens for communing with nature amid unique flora and fauna. The Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat invites residents and visitors to explore walking trails, observe local wildlife and embrace the tranquility of the outdoors. Proudly winning the 2023 Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association, this preserve perfectly embodies the theme of Great Resilient Places. As 2024 unfolds, residents can anticipate revitalizing walks, picnics in the park, and a renewed commitment to health and well-being against the lush green canvas of Wellington’s outdoor spaces.

Community Engagement: Where New Connections Blossom Wellington thrives on its sense of community, and the new year offers a prime opportunity for residents to engage in activities fostering connection and camaraderie.

The Wellington Promenade and Amphitheater stand as cultural hubs hosting community events, concerts, movie nights and gatherings that unite people in celebration of shared experiences.

Beyond our suburban charm, we are a community that values togetherness. An array of planned events throughout the year aim to bring residents and visitors closer together, with family-friendly festivals at Wellington’s Town Center providing ample opportunities for connection. Whether a longtime resident or a newcomer eager to forge new friendships, our community events provide a welcoming space to build meaningful relationships and create lasting memories.

In the spirit of this new year, we eagerly anticipate celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., inviting the community to join us for a Day of Service on Monday, Jan 15. Additionally, we mark Arbor Day on Friday, Jan. 19 with a tree planting in partnership with the Wellington Garden Club.

Reflecting on the Past,  Anticipating the Future 
As Wellington bids farewell to the old and embraces the new, there’s a palpable sense of excitement in the air. The new year offers a chance for reflection on past accomplishments and challenges, but more importantly, it’s a time to look forward with anticipation and hope.

Opportunities in our community set the stage for a year of growth, connection and personal renewal. As residents and visitors immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of experiences that Wellington offers, they do so with the knowledge that each day brings new possibilities and fresh beginnings to our small corner of paradise.

Expanding Horizons in the New Year 
In the coming year, we look forward to enhancing and expanding programs and services in collaboration with our community partners. We remain committed to supporting our local schools through the Keely Spinelli Education Grant, and our Community Services programs and initiatives.

Our collaboration with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue remains steadfast as we strive to further enhance safety measures and the provision of essential services. This ongoing partnership reflects our commitment to creating a secure and thriving environment for all residents.

Our dedication extends to providing top-notch parks, recreation and sports programs and activities designed to enrich the lives of our residents. Whether it’s fostering a love for the outdoors, promoting physical well-being or encouraging camaraderie through sports, we aim to offer best-in-class experiences that cater to a variety of interests.

As we navigate the new year, we look forward to fostering strong ties with the business community, collaborating closely as our local economy continues to flourish. By working hand-in-hand with our local businesses, we aim to contribute to the sustained growth and prosperity of our community, creating a vibrant and dynamic environment for all to thrive. The synergy between public and private sectors will play a crucial role in shaping a future where opportunities abound, and the collective well-being of our residents takes center stage.

We extend heartfelt gratitude to Wellington’s residents for their continued engagement and contributions to our community, recognizing how essential they are in making our community truly great. No matter what challenges the new year holds, our community stands ready to face them together, celebrating victories and overcoming obstacles together. We invite you to be part of our journey into the future — a year where the past blends seamlessly with the present to define the unique spirit of our great hometown.


Times Change, But Memories Remain Forever

Times Change, But Memories Remain Forever
Wellington Pioneer John Herring On How A Fledgling Community Came Together To Build The Original Wellington Boys & Girls Club, Now Slated For Demolition

Story by John Herring  |  Photos by Frank Koester

This issue, Wellington The Magazine launches our year-long Wellington History feature series. This series will include the first-hand recollections of early Wellington pioneers who built the community we enjoy today. First up is longtime Wellington resident John Herring with his recollections of the creation of the original Boys & Girls Club on South Shore Blvd. Opening in 1986, it was the first facility offering organized recreational programs to young residents of the fledgling Wellington community. More than 10 years ago, the Boys & Girls Club moved to a new facility, and the original building that Herring and his pioneer compatriots struggled to bring into existence is in the process of being torn down, to make way for a new sports training facility.

When I heard that the old Boys & Girls Club building on South Shore Blvd. was going to be torn down and the park renovated, it was with a nostalgic mindset that I wanted to write something down to preserve the history and value that place had in the makings of Wellington. Once it is gone, I hope there can be a place for the pictures and the stories that happened right there on that site.

Let’s go back to the early days of Wellington. It was designed to almost be a retirement community. Golf courses, clubhouses and tennis courts were the norm. The Acme Improvement District was the governing entity, run by the developer and its managers — and they had a problem. Young married folks were buying right along with the retirees. And the young folks very quickly outnumbered the old folks. Meanwhile, there were no ball fields or soccer fields. In fact, there were no public recreation locations at all; there were not even any schools in Wellington yet.

With about 1,500 folks living here, and sales going wild, kids were everywhere. And they were playing soccer on polo fields and baseball in empty lots. Parents were the organizers, the field maintenance crews, the keeper of all sports gear, and collection agency for all fees to play tee-ball. No one was in charge. So, through the Rotary, Exchange and Lions clubs, all fundraisers were focused on these kids’ needs.

Then Gould Florida, the developer, sold the land to the Vadia family, known as Corepoint. The first thing they did was construct entrances as you see them today. Fountains defining the entity “Wellington.” In the meantime, a not-for-profit was formed called YAW, which stood for Youth Activities of Wellington. That became the clearing house for charity funds, sports fees and management control of the burgeoning sporting activities for local youth. However, it was struggling to keep up with growth and needs.

In short, conversations were on the table with Acme about this problem before the Vadia family arrived. So, when the fountains went up, many asked, why can’t they (Corepoint, the new developer) spring for a building and ball fields? It is in their best interest if they want to sell houses! Luckily, the Vadias and Corepoint’s George de Guardiola were baseball born and bred. They loved baseball and kids’ sports.

First there was a need for land, then a building to store and keep equipment, parking, maintenance, upkeep and all that stuff. The result? Acme, the Palm Beach County Commission, the developer, YAW and almost the entire community sat down and solved the problem.

In the agreement, the county donated the land, Acme would own it and maintain it on the tax rolls, and partner with the developer to build it and pay for it.

But the caveat was the Vadias were requiring a nationally recognized entity to be the manager of the programs. Their directive was that there had to be a solid organization behind this investment. So given that task, we embarked on investigating all programs that fit that bill. It came down to the YMCA or the Boys Club of America. However, seeing that the Vadia boys, Ricardo and Alberto, and George de Guardiola from Corepoint, all grew up at the Boys Club in Miami, it made an obvious first choice.

What is now the South Shore ball fields at Wellington’s Community Park, formerly where the Boys & Girls Club used to be, had its first concept of becoming a reality. I was tasked with making it happen, as a volunteer, and as a member of several Acme committees. I was chair of the Operations Review Committee that set the assessment rates based on spending and budgets, so whatever happened here expense wise, I was accountable.

Next, we needed to design the facility. A young architect named Tom Leiptian was convinced to design the land and building for very little. H&T, Harry Rusbridge and Jim Teets, were building polo fields right across the street. They OKed us donating fuel and paying in beer to operators to clear the land. (No permits were required back then… It was county property controlled by Acme and no one was asking!) The building grew three times larger than we were told to make it, and away we went. We made that facility for about one-tenth what it should have cost. I am recalling about $400,000. Obviously, it was an easy sell, with all of us doing the right thing for the right reasons.

At opening, it was decided it would be a Boys & Girls Club, one if not the first in Florida, joining the downtown Boys Club. As a matter of fact, the daughter of Mary Brink, who worked for Gould, was issued member 001. My son, John Korbet Herring, was member 002. A girl, then a boy. That was significant!

That building entertained local youth through its programs, run by none other than Victor Rivera. If folks only knew how many innings were played on those fields, how many first-time home runs, fly balls caught, runs scored and friendships made between parents and kids alike. Victor was an avid environmentalist who taught kids the meaning of preserving our canals and waterways, and it was he who spent time with kids cleaning canals of debris. Children did their homework there and got help when they struggled with math.

The early days of Wellington looked nothing like it does today. It was programs like this — with the developer, government and private volunteers working together — that made the difference, and I know we did make a difference in how Wellington turned out today. I am very proud to say, I was a small part of making this happen. It will be sad to see our building gone, but it is progress. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and across Florida and the nation are thriving and continue making a difference in the lives of the children of today, and the leaders of tomorrow.


50 Over 50 Project 2023

50 Over 50 Project 2023 Capturing The Radiance Of 50 Remarkable Women Over 50

It is an enduring truth that beauty transcends time. Renowned Wellington photographer Dannielle Judd has breathed new life into the words “beauty is timeless” in a novel way through her 50 Women Over 50 project. “It was high time to initiate a dialogue on the elegance of aging and embrace the confidence that comes with being at ease in our own skin,” said Judd, a Wellington resident.

Thus began a transformative journey with 50 women, all united by the shared experience of surpassing 50 years. Wellington The Magazine is once again proud to support Judd on this unique celebration of resilience, sagacity and allure.

Though a seasoned photographer for years, Judd’s ardor for photography as a profession took root when she turned 48. Despite having amassed a trove of photographs and harboring a perpetual creative urge, the leap to a full-fledged career took its time. While Judd wasn’t the first pioneer of the 50 Over 50 project, the moment she encountered the concept, she recognized it as her calling. As a woman over 50, she was acutely aware of the prevalent stereotypes surrounding aging and sought to debunk them by showcasing how so many women hit their stride at age 50.

Determined to capture the diversity in nationality, personality and profession, Judd launched this distinctive photography project. Recognizing that many women spend their lives defined by roles as wives or mothers, she utilized social media to invite interested participants to complete a questionnaire.

“Following conversations and a comprehensive explanation of the process, we proceeded to book wardrobe consultations. Participants came into my studio and had access to my ‘Dream Wardrobe Collection,’ which boasts more than 200 dresses and gowns, accompanied by a plethora of accessories for their photo shoots,” Judd explained. “Then came the exciting part — the photo shoot! Typically, the ladies wear three to five outfits during their sessions.”

For many participants, this experience proved to be a metamorphic journey. Initial low expectations often transformed into radiant confidence after hair and makeup sessions. “Their inner light shines through; you can see them exuding confidence. It’s truly inspirational for me as a woman and a photographer to share this experience with them,” Judd said.

In an effort to foster trust in the process, Judd shared her own experiences with clients. Many had been eagerly awaiting the chance to shine, challenging the notion that women over age 50 are slowing down. The project spanned approximately 12 months, and the outcomes were beyond measure.

Judd, however, never doubted its success. “These women fed my soul,” she reflected, attributing her sustained enthusiasm to their inspiring stories. “With each lady being so unique, I quickly realized that creating customized sessions would be a no-brainer.”

One of the inaugural participants, Amy, a breast cancer survivor, set the tone with her infectious energy, and this year’s models all had amazing stories to share as well. Catherine Carcioppolo loved the experience, adding what a wonderful photographer Judd is in “capturing the essence of 50 Women Over 50 and changing their whole life through photographing them and showing that they are beautiful.”

Judd, reviewing the images, marveled at the beauty, wisdom, creativity and uniqueness that each woman brought to her studio.

When the inaugural project was documented in 2021, Judd eagerly anticipated the sequel — and another round of 50 Over 50 for 2023 was born. “It was such an amazing experience,” she exclaimed, adding that she couldn’t wait to get started again.

While some participants entered without a clear vision of how they wanted to be photographed, others brought grand ideas. “I love empowering women,” Judd said. “They are more than clients; they’re my friends, and some even feel like sisters. The relationships formed are truly invaluable. I believe that as women, we should support, uplift, embrace and cheer for each other. Together, we can achieve anything.”

As a woman approaching 56 in January, Judd wanted to convey that women are inherently beautiful at every age. “Beauty knows no bounds,” she emphasized. “You deserve to be celebrated and honored.”

The unveiling of the 2023 year-long 50 Over 50 project took place with a celebration on Oct. 28 at the Mall at Wellington Green. This year, Judd partnered with two local charities that do amazing work to help children in crisis — Grandma’s Place in Royal Palm Beach and Speak Up for Kids Palm Beach County. A silent auction was held with 100 percent of the proceeds being divided between the two charities. “This is one of the highlights of doing a project like this,” Judd said.

Judd recently announced the exciting news that she has launched a new 40 Over 40 portrait series. She looks forward to photographing these women and featuring them in a gallery exhibition as well, sharing their stories, which will inspire and celebrate the next chapter of their lives.

Further details about Judd’s upcoming projects can be found at


Holiday Gift Guide The Mall At Wellington Green

Holiday Gift Guide The Mall At Wellington Green

This holiday season, the Mall at Wellington Green truly has it all. With gifts across a variety of categories and price ranges, no matter who or what you are searching for, the mall has an option. Happy shopping!

As the holiday season approaches, there is no better place to immerse yourself in the festive spirit than the Mall at Wellington Green. This bustling shopping haven is not just a mall; it is a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, cheerful carols and the infectious buzz of holiday excitement.

With its diverse array of stores, the mall caters to all shopper’s whims and fancies. From high-end fashion boutiques to charming specialty stores, you will find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list. The air is filled with the scent of freshly brewed coffee from the trendy cafés, providing a delightful respite for tired shoppers.

Meanwhile, the mall’s enchanting holiday decorations create a magical ambiance, making every visit a memorable experience. Giant sparkling ornaments dangle from the towering Christmas trees, and festive wreaths adorn storefronts, inviting shoppers to embrace the joy of the season.

What sets the Mall at Wellington Green apart is its commitment to creating a family-friendly atmosphere. Visit the Ice Palace and immerse yourself in a winter wonderland filled with arctic animals. Enjoy a 360-degree movie experience amid a magical snowfall. Upon leaving the Ice Palace, Santa himself awaits to visit with children of all ages to hear their holiday wishes.

Whether you are a seasoned holiday shopper or just beginning your gift-buying journey, the Mall at Wellington Green promises a festive and joyful experience that will leave you with a sleigh-full of bags and a heart full of holiday cheer. So, gather your shopping list, put on your coziest sweater, and get ready to make lasting memories at Wellington’s premier shopping destination. Happy holidays!


Jewelry Box Toucan Clutch
This gorgeous clutch, covered in Australian crystals, was made for the sparkly woman in your life. With colorful details that will wow the crowd, this eye candy evening bag is a statement piece that will never go out of style. $450

Pandora’s Era Bezel Lab-Grown Diamond Pendant Necklace
This beautiful, timeless necklace makes a fantastic gift for that someone special. Pandora’s sterling silver pendant necklace features a 0.15 carat, lab-grown diamond in a bezel setting with a sleek, contemporary aesthetic. $350

Envy’s Psycho Bunny Men’s Classic Baseball Cap
This colorful cap is a classic that will never go out of style. Complete with the embroidered Psycho Bunny logo (skull and bones with big rabbit ears), this hat makes a perfect accessory for any fan of the brand’s trendy apparel. $35

Lifetime Kitchen Smeg Two-Slice Toaster
Dolce & Gabbana-Sicily Is My Love
This unique designer toaster makes a perfect gift for those with a knack for fashionable cooking. Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana have joined forces to create this kitchen mainstay, which is both artistic and useful. With two generously sized compartments, automatic pop-up features and stainless-steel details, this toaster is truly state of the art. $850

Apple Store iPhone 15
Apple’s new iPhone 15 is the perfect prize for anyone looking for an upgrade this holiday season. The iPhone 15 offers a great balance between functionality, longevity and price. The new model touts a sleek, upgraded design, high-quality camera, and comes in five fun colors, including black, blue, pink, yellow and green. Starting at $799

Dillard’s UGG Tazz Suede Platform Clog Slippers
These trendy, best-selling UGG slippers make a cute and cozy gift this holiday season. Available in four adorable color schemes, your favorite fashionista will be thrilled to unwrap these on Christmas. With adorable, braided detailing, a plush interior, a high-quality suede exterior and durable soles, these UGGs are a versatile shoe that will last for years. $130 (Adult) | $90 (Youth)

ManCave For Men Holiday Gift Card
Give an experiential gift to the well-groomed guy in your life this holiday season with a ManCave gift card. This unique, barbershop-meets-spa experience is catered toward men and offers an array of services, including haircuts, facials and manicures. Plus, guests over 21 can toast their new ’do with a complimentary craft beer or glass of wine. $50 to $200

GameStop Nintendo Switch Lite Handheld Console
Any gamer is sure to appreciate the Nintendo Switch Lite Handheld Console, optimized for personal, handheld play. The device has great Switch gaming capabilities and is available in a variety of colors. This product is truly on-the-go gaming at its best. $151.99

Verified Sneaker Boutique Air Jordan 1 OG Chicago “Lost & Found”
Verified Sneaker Boutique has a sick pair of kicks for your favorite style star. Air Jordan Nikes are comfortable, versatile, trendy and totally timeless. Available in a multitude of sizes, for both children and adults, they make a great gift for street wear and sneaker lovers.

Perfect Oil 500 ML Diffuser
This diffuser is a functional gift that pairs with any of Perfect Oil’s array of essential oils. Doubling as décor, the diffuser features a wooden base and an LED light with seven color settings. $59.99

The Mall at Wellington Green is located at
10300 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington.
Learn more at


Experience The Magic of the Holidays In the Village of Wellington

Experience The Magic of the Holidays In the Village of Wellington

By Shannon Anastasio

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. In the Village of Wellington, this sentiment is taken to heart as the community hosts a series of magical holiday events that will leave you and your loved ones in awe. From festive parades to Wellington Winterfest and everything in between, our village offers a holiday experience like no other. So, mark your calendars for the following dates, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of the Village of Wellington this holiday season.

Holiday Cultural Celebration, Thursday, Nov. 30
Wellington’s holiday season kicks off with the Holiday Cultural Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 30 at the Wellington Amphitheater. This event is a showcase of the rich cultural diversity that exists within the Village of Wellington. Best of all, it’s free to attend, making it accessible to all members of the community.

The Holiday Cultural Celebration is a delightful opportunity to embrace the spirit of the season with friends and family. It’s a day filled with enchanting performances, art displays and cultural exhibitions. From music to dance to traditional cuisine, you’ll have the chance to experience the world’s cultures right in your own backyard. Visit for full details and immerse yourself in the captivating tapestry of global traditions.

Wellington Winterfest 2023, Friday, Dec. 8
Wellington Winterfest 2023, hosted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Wellington, promises to once again be a night to remember. Taking place on Friday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Wellington Amphitheater, this event is free to attend and boasts a wealth of exciting features.

The evening will be headlined by the renowned musical icon, philanthropist, actor and TV star Vanilla Ice. His electrifying performance is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit. In addition to the music, Winterfest offers a wide array of delightful activities, including delicious food vendors, exhibitors, the Live 360 photobooth, live musical and dance performances, and much more.

For the young and the young at heart, there’s the Blizzard Beach interactive area, and you can even visit with Santa himself. Adult attendees can relax in designated lounge areas, and pet lovers can explore pet adoptions. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to get some holiday shopping done with a variety of vendors on site. Don’t forget to capture the magic of the night in the snow globe photobooth.

For more information about Winterfest 2023, visit the Wellington Chamber of Commerce web site at With a lineup like this, it’s a holiday celebration that you won’t want to miss.

Holiday Boat Parade, Saturday, Dec. 9
Prepare to be amazed as local residents and boating enthusiasts “Light up the Lake” with the Holiday Boat Parade on Lake Wellington. This event, set to take place on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., is a splendid spectacle for all ages.

The parade, visible from the Town Center Promenade, features festively decorated boats parading behind the Wellington Community Center. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the waters of Lake Wellington come alive with a dazzling display of lights and holiday cheer. Make sure to bring your own seating for a more comfortable viewing experience.

The Holiday Boat Parade is a tradition that brings the community together, combining the magic of the holiday season with the beauty of Lake Wellington. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share in the joy of the holidays with your loved ones, all while enjoying the picturesque waterside setting.

Wellington Holiday Parade, Sunday, Dec. 10
The 39th annual Wellington Holiday Parade, hosted by the Village of Wellington and the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, is a cherished tradition that returns this year on Sunday, Dec. 10. This year’s theme is “Holidays Around the World,” promising a multicultural and diverse parade that celebrates the spirit of unity during the holiday season.

The parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m. and winds its way down Forest Hill Blvd., from Wellington Trace to Ken Adams Way. It’s a judged parade, so you can expect imaginative floats, marching bands, characters, dance troupes and more. This event is not only a visual feast but also a day of free fun and festivities for the entire family.

Gather your loved ones and come out to enjoy this fantastic holiday event. To learn more about the parade and its details, visit

Be aware that road closures will be in effect, and Forest Hill Blvd. will be closed from its northern intersection at Wellington Trace to South Shore Blvd. between 1 p.m. and approximately 5:30 p.m. So, plan your travel accordingly and seek alternate routes during this time. If you’re parking at Town Center, be aware that vehicles parked there will not be able to exit until the conclusion of the parade.

Other Events To Enjoy 
In addition to these events, the Village of Wellington also hosts many other holiday-themed gatherings, ensuring that everyone in the community can find something special to enjoy during the festive season. These include the Senior Holiday Party for ages 50-plus, the annual Children’s Holiday Fishing Classic and the annual Wellington Holiday Jingle Bell Run 5K. Check out the calendar at to learn more.

Lakeside Market Fridays; Food Truck & Music Series Thursdays
Underway now and continuing through Feb. 23, 2024, the Lakeside Market at Wellington Town Center is open on Friday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. It offers a variety of goods, and admission and parking are free. This pet-friendly market is a great place to enjoy a holiday shopping experience with the whole family.

To keep the festivities going, the Food Truck & Music Series on Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. is a great way to unwind and enjoy delicious meals from approximately 18 food trucks in attendance each week. This event also features live performances by local tribute bands and music artists. Be sure to bring your own blankets or chairs for seating. The Food Truck & Music Series promises an entertaining evening for all ages. Be on the lookout for a list of food trucks expected to attend and get ready to indulge in delectable treats.

As the holiday season approaches, the Village of Wellington is offering many events and activities to celebrate this special time of year. Whether you’re watching the beautifully illuminated boats in the Holiday Boat Parade, singing along with Vanilla Ice at Winterfest 2023 or marveling at the creativity in the annual Wellington Holiday Parade, you’ll be making cherished holiday memories that will last a lifetime. So, don’t miss out on these magical holiday events. Share in the joy, laughter and togetherness that this wonderful community has to offer and create lasting memories with your friends and family. Celebrate the holidays the Wellington way, and you’ll find yourself filled with the spirit of the season.


The Future Of Construction

The Future Of Construction Wellington Company Printed Farms Revolutionizing The Building Business

Story by Mike May  |  Photos by Elysian Media

Quicker to build, longer lasting, more resilient against catastrophic weather, more freedom in the design process and no more expensive to construct. These are a few of the many ways to describe the appeal of the design and construction technology now being pioneered by Wellington-based Printed Farms LLC, which uses a state-of-the-art 3D printing technique to build structures such as homes, horse barns and everything in between.

Recently, Printed Farms showcased this 3D printing technology during an open house when it unveiled its latest project, a state-of-the-art, luxury, 10,678-square-foot equestrian facility and horse barn on Hollow Tree Lane, located just off Flying Cow Road in Wellington.

Using the computerized 3D printing technique, as opposed to traditional construction methods, the horse barn’s column structures at the facility on Hollow Tree Lane were created with a 3D robotic arm.

The building that resulted is being referred to as the “world’s largest 3D printed structure,” said Jim Ritter, CEO and founder of Wellington-based Printed Farms.

According to Ritter, the increase of major catastrophic climate events, such as hurricanes and tropical storms in South Florida, will demand buildings that are stronger and more sustainable. The structures created by Printed Farms will fill that need. They are also energy efficient and lower cooling and heating costs.

Interest in this emerging technology has been extensive, and the Wellington project has garnered media attention from not just local TV stations and newspapers, but also from Business Insider magazine and MSNBC.

From the outside, the new equestrian facility on Hollow Tree Lane looks like any other structure built by a general contractor, but Ritter said that there are stark differences between what Printed Farms can do using solid concrete as opposed to what conventional builders are doing to construct a home with wood and concrete block.

“I’m on a mission. Our 3D printing will radically change the construction industry to become leaner, more efficient and sustainable,” Ritter said. “From shortening the supply chain to lessening design processes and reducing the industry’s waste output, the benefits of 3D printing will far outweigh the accustomed methods of construction that we use today.”

From a construction-cost point of view, Ritter said his business represents a winning product that will excite consumers.

“We will beat — cost-wise — concrete block in two or three years,” he said. “And there’s no need for insulation for our buildings with our technology because they are so dense.”

Ritter believes that Printed Farms is well-positioned to lead the country and possibly the world in 3D printed buildings. The demand for its services is coming from across Palm Beach County and beyond.

According to Ritter, he’s had discussions with officials from Ukraine who want to use his technology when it’s safe to rebuild once the current war is over. There has also been interest from corporate officials at Caterpillar.

Ritter noted that while his design and construction technology is an attractive proposition to any potential client, the downside right now is that he only has two 3D printers at the moment, so he’s limited on the number of projects that he can take on.

While Ritter is currently focused on the future of the building construction industry, he has also been a part of the industry’s traditional past. “I have helped build three other horse barns in Wellington using concrete blocks,” Ritter said. “But our new technology is better and is the wave of the future.”

And, of course, he sees Printed Farms as leading the way.

Now in his 60s, Ritter said that his completed projects will outlast him and generations to come. “This new horse barn will last at least 100 years,” he said.

Ritter is also committed to educating future leaders in the construction industry about this new technology.

“I am working with officials at the University of Florida on a curriculum involving robotics,” Ritter added.

To learn more about Printed Farms and this cutting-edge construction technology, e-mail or visit


From Paris, With Love

From Paris, With Love Unique Event Le Diner En Blanc Returns On Saturday, Dec. 16

Story By Kat Fleischman  |  Photos Courtesy Dreamland Creative and RSC Media

Le Diner en Blanc will return to the West Palm Beach area this month for its 2023 edition. This elegant and secret affair has become the foodie and dancing holiday event of the year, and on Saturday, Dec. 16, a new secret location will be revealed, and guests will dine and dance under the stars.

Le Diner en Blanc is an event that transports guests into another world while celebrating the local community. The sea of people adorned in white is Instagrammable, while meeting new people or reuniting with longtime friends. The theme this year is “From Paris, With Love.” Dinner à la française will be the centerpiece, and conversation and champagne will flow with French-inspired entertainment. The night will close with one of the best DJs. Dancing shoes are a must.

Le Diner en Blanc in West Palm Beach is hosted by Modernique & Co. Project Management with more than 12 years of experience in hospitality management and event production.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing this spectacular event to picturesque Palm Beach County,” said Fabie Reid, project director and co-host of Le Diner En Blanc. “Over the years, we’ve taken this event to various stunning locations, from Boca and Riviera to downtown West Palm Beach, and each time, it has been a captivating experience to witness our community come together at our carefully guarded secret venue. This event serves as a remarkable opportunity to not only unite our residents, but also to showcase the splendor of this region to those from beyond our county borders.”

Excitement is building toward the Dec. 16 event. “We are very excited for this year’s theme ‘From Paris With Love,’ where the guests will be transported to a Parisian adventure without leaving Palm Beach County,” said Jessica Palmer, head leader of Le Diner en Blanc West Palm Beach.

Le Diner en Blanc wants to help boost the local economy by encouraging attendees to shop locally and discover some of the most spectacular event venues that get transformed with the picnic setting served by local vendors, such as, but not limited to, Ganache Bakery, Absolute Party Rentals, Trindy Gourmet and Epic Catering.

To maintain the uniqueness of Le Diner en Blanc, every guest observes certain requirements, such as the dress code: head-to-toe in white only. Elegance and originality are key. Jewelry and shoes can be silver, gold or nude. Table settings and picnic items are all white. At this French-influenced event, only wine and/or champagne are served.

As per the county and state, guests cannot bring their own alcohol. Guests wishing to enjoy some wine or champagne must reserve online through Le Diner en Blanc’s e-store. However, guests are welcome to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages.

To ensure that the location secret is kept undisclosed until the last minute, guests meet at their assigned departure location and are escorted by a Diner en Blanc volunteer table leader for bus departures or pedestrian groups.

To make sure that the event location is left as clean as when guests arrive, they are required to leave with all their belongings, leftovers and litter.

Guests should bring a small picnic basket or white cooler comprised of fine food, white tablecloth and serviettes, as well as proper stemware and white dinnerware. Tables and chairs are provided at the event.

A catered meal option can be pre-ordered online and picked up on-site, for those who do not wish to pack their own. Guests wishing to do so must reserve online through Le Diner en Blanc’s e-store.

Le Diner en Blanc West Palm Beach acknowledges Champagne Pommery as a national partner, with Vie de Rêve and the Village of Wellington as official local partners of the 2023 edition.

To get the opportunity to be part of the experience, people can sign up now by visiting, adding your e-mail, then click “validate” to enter your name. Once on the list, an invitation will be sent to you by the end of the day.

Le Diner en Blanc is so much more than an event. It’s a unique cultural movement that empowers friends of friends to gather and celebrate their shared passions for life, food, fashion and community, year after year, with a pinch of mystery and a large serving of spontaneity.

Elegantly dressed all in white, guests arrive at a secret location for a chic mass picnic. They bring their own tables, chairs, picnic baskets — all the trimmings — to sit down with friends and make new connections in one of their area’s most beautiful public spaces. The location remains secret up until the very moment of arrival. Over the course of the evening, guests from all backgrounds eat, dance and reconnect with the finer things in life, as they appreciate the night’s magical experience.

Tashia Hernandez, the event’s lead project manager and head leader, loves the aspect of the guests not knowing where they are going until they arrive.

“The community comes together for one night, and we all just put our daily worries away and escape into this magical experience together — celebrating life, joie de vivre, friends, family and dancing all night,” Hernandez said. “That’s what makes Le Diner en Blanc unique to me and always an annual holiday experience to look forward to.”

Jimmy Moise, the event’s co-host producer, said that groups, organizations and businesses are invited this year to celebrate their holiday party within Le Diner en Blanc.

“Special packages are made for them where all is inclusive: décor, picnic accessories, tablescape, food and wine,” Moise said. “All they have to do is show up, and we take care of the rest so they can fully enjoy their holiday experience.”

More than 120 cities in 40 countries have joined the ever-growing and international network to celebrate gourmet cuisine, offer extraordinary entertainment and bring together vibrant individuals around the world. While Diner en Blanc International is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, every local event is hosted by passionate local organizers who fell in love with the original Parisian concept and wanted to bring it home and dress it up with local flair.

To learn more about this unique cultural phenomenon, visit