Community

Now – March 15th: PAWS “Empty The Shelter” Event

PAWS needs to take a pause to make big changes – all to better help the community and pets.

In January, PAWS invited a team from the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program to assess its procedures. The team’s report recommended multiple ways the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society – founded in 1957 – can evolve to meet the latest best standards.

And PAWS is going to do every single one of them.

“This assessment was previously done in 2018, but few recommendations were implemented,” said PAWS Executive Director Tracey Williams. “In 2021, these are no longer recommendations. They are critically necessary and long overdue changes. We can no longer continue operating this way. It’s not healthy or safe.”

Kicking it all off is an “Empty the Shelter” event that not only will give all PAWS animals a new home, it will mark a new era for PAWS.

Without a shelter full of animals needing care, staff can pause to deep clean, reorganize the building and train staff and the public about the newest methods for healthier, happier and homed pets.

For the “Empty the Shelter” event, all adoption fees are waived and formal applications are no longer required. Extended adoption hours during the event are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Adopters need only show up to meet animals. The goal is to have the shelter “emptied” by March 15.

In addition, the following measures are in effect until further notice as PAWS works to become a “model shelter.”

*PAWS will not take owner surrenders until the number of animals at the shelter – which is over capacity – can be reduced through adoption, rescue groups or transported to other parts of the country where they’ll more easily find homes. (PAWS does NOT euthanize animals for population control.)

Having too many animals at a shelter increases animal stress, which in turn can lead to animals becoming ill. That defeats the purpose of sheltering animals.

*Instead, PAWS will help people either keep their pets, or connect them with adopters so pets don’t enter the shelter in the first place. Resources include food, behavior/training assistance, and online programs, such as “Home to Home.”

Many assume that people surrendering to shelters simply do not care about the pet. However, in several studies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that between 40 percent and 80 percent of owners did not want to surrender their pets, but did not have access to the temporary help they needed.

*The PAWS low-cost clinic is closed to the public until a backlog of animals at the shelter can be spayed/neutered and a new permanent veterinarian is hired. PAWS has contracted with Dr. Megan Arevalo, who ushered through similar changes at the Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter, to set up new procedures and protocols.

*PAWS Animal Control Officers will focus on only bringing animals that are injured, or victims of cruelty, neglect and abandonment to the shelter. They will work to return lost pets to owners “in the field,” instead of bringing them to the shelter to be retrieved.

*Pending county approval of recommended updates to outdated laws, PAWS will no longer loan out cat traps and pick up healthy community cats.

 

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Now – March 31st: “30 Bigs In 30 Days” March Matchness

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida (BBBSNWFL) has launched their March MATCHness recruitment campaign. Throughout the month of March, BBBSNWFL is aiming to recruit 30 Bigs in 30 days to help fill their bracket and match new mentors with local youth from Pensacola to Panama City.
“March is one of our favorite months at Big Brothers Big Sisters,” says BBBSNWLF CEO and president Paula Shell. “To be able to recruit new volunteers in a fun and creative way makes sharing our message even better. Fill our bracket and be one of 30 new Bigs to dribble into a relationship with a Little. They need us now, more than ever!”
To play off the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) March Madness basketball tournament, BBBSNWFL has created this fun campaign to recruit mentors for its life-changing mentoring programs. This is the perfect time to ramp up volunteer recruitment efforts as there are almost 100 children who are currently waiting for their Big Brother or Big Sister. Approximately 70% of the waiting list are boys, so there is a critical need for strong, caring, and supportive male mentors as many of the boys come from a single-parent household. Throughout the past year, children have been challenged in many ways, which is why BBBSNWFL needs mentors to provide consistency and stability for Northwest Florida children.
The biggest misconception with becoming a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters is the time commitment. BBBSNWFL requires in-person contact with your Little 2-4 times a month and a weekly touchpoint via call, text, email, etc. Virtual contact is also acceptable as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. A Little can be easily incorporated into the Bigs’ everyday life! Now is the time to be the game-changer in a child’s life.
Anyone interested in becoming a Big can visit the BBBSNWFL website at bbbsnwfl.org/get-involved/ or by calling 850-433-5437 for Escambia/Santa Rosa/Okaloosa/Walton Counties or 850-763-5437 for Bay County.

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March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day @ Emerald Coast Science Center

Going Green- we’re celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day AND learning about our environment with fun, hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy together regarding all things green. March 18: Blast off to Space- we have brand new kits from the NISE Network all about Space, so get ready to explore the galaxy with hands-on activities appropriate for a wide range of ages. What will your family discover together? With something new and exciting every day, your family can have a blast when you spring into the Science Center! Don’t miss a moment of fun. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. All activities included with general admission.

Click HERE for more info

 

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March 19th: Children In Crisis Charity Golf Tournament

The 15th Annual Children In Crisis Charity Golf Tournament will be held Friday, March 19, 2021 at the Ft. Walton Beach Golf Course on Lewis Turner. The day will begin with an 11:00 a.m. check-in/lunch and shot-gun start at noon. The tournament is to raise critical funds to help feed, clothe and care for the kids living at the Children’s Neighborhood.

Participants will enjoy refreshments from beverage stops on the course and food and wine tasting at the awards ceremony immediately after golf. There will also be a hole-in-one prize, a custom CIC Charity Golf Tournament shirt, silent auction and much more! Please call CIC at (850) 864-4242 to enter a team or for more information.

We will ask that participants wear a protective mask at check-in and around the clubhouse area, as well as practice safe social distancing while on the golf course.

The awards ceremony will start at 5:00 PM at the FWB Golf Course Club House. We are still looking for sponsors for this event. There are many ways that you can become involved, and if you want more information on sponsorship opportunities or volunteering, please email brittanydykes@childrenincrisisfl.org

 

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March 19th: Animal Adventure Day

Creature Features, up-close encounters, and SMALLab fun…bring your family in for our Animal Adventure Day and discover our fascinating animal ambassadors. Have an animal adventure! We’ll be showcasing many of our animal ambassadors from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., so join us for an up-close encounter. When you’re done, discover fun animal-themed games in SMALLab from 12-2 p.m.
Access included with general admission pricing.
$10 adults/$8 kids and seniors/Children 2 and under are free

For more info, click HERE

 

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March 19th: “Egyptian Myths” Planetarium Feature

Join the Emerald Coast Science Center to see what the stars looked like thousands of years ago to the astronomers of Ancient Egypt. This family-friendly show will dive deep into the timeless stories of the Egyptian gods Ra, Osiris, Isis, and Horus, and some lesser-known tales about the lion goddess, Sekhmet, and the crocodile god, Sobek. We’ll also learn fun facts about life in Ancient Egypt (such as what the first toothpaste was made of) and tour around the solar system with stops at Earth, Venus, the Sun, and the Moon. This show will end with a magnificent and magical display of Egyptian constellations. Recommended for ages 5+.

All shows last approximately 45 minutes and start at 6p and 7p.

Our Planetarium is an inflatable dome. Guests sit on cushions on the floor of the planetarium to view the show. Due to social distancing guidelines, space is limited. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended for this reason. Please arrive at least 10 minutes before your scheduled showing. In case of no-shows/late shows: reserved spots will be released at show time to make space for the next party.

Seating is limited and very popular. We encourage purchasing your tickets in advance, as this is a first come, first served event. Please call 850-664-1261, stop by the Science Center, or use our online ticketing option to purchase your tickets.

Nonmember $7 Child | $9 Adult | $8 Senior
Member $5 Child | $7 Adult | $6 Senior
Planetarium Special Feature shows do not qualify for free member admission; reduced pricing is available for members.

For more information or questions:
Call 850-664-1261 OR email: business-office@ecscience.org OR visithttp://ecscience.org/events

 

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March 20th: International Festival

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March 20th: Snake Day @ Emerald Coast Science Center

The folks at Reno’s Reptiles are bringing a wide variety of animals including Pythons, Anacondas, Iguanas, Skink, Scorpion, and a 50lb Tortoise! All can be held and touched (minus the scorpion), so come discover these awesome animals.
With something new and exciting every day, your family can have a blast when you spring into the Science Center! Don’t miss a moment of fun. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. All activities included with general admission.

Click HERE for more info

 

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March 24th – April 4th: Volunteers Needed

The Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin will be played at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s Raven Golf Club the week of March 29 – April 4, with 156 players competing for a $600,000 purse. This will be the fourth 2021 tournament scheduled on the PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour.

Volunteers, both men and women of high school age and over, will play a major part in a wide variety of roles to assist in executing the area’s premier professional golf tournament. Whether one is a golf novice, an avid fan, have volunteered in the past, or a new volunteer, there is a place for everyone. The Emerald Coast Classic will be a great opportunity to see professional athletes, as well as to enjoy watching golf and enjoying some outdoor fresh air.

Tournament Director, Eddie Goodman, added, “We are looking for several volunteer nurses to be on board during the week that can work in our medical tent. Our front-line care workers are much appreciated, volunteering at the Classic might be a nice change of pace for them. Interested nurses should contact our Volunteer Coordinator directly at selina@globalgolfmanagment.com.”

There are numerous volunteer perks offered:

· One Tournament Polo Shirt

· One Tournament Ball Cap

· Meals provided on the days one volunteers

· One Tournament Volunteer Credential (valid all week for free admittance)

· Up to four Weekly Grounds Tickets for family and friends

· Volunteer parking

· One Voucher for a free round of golf at Raven Golf Club at Sandestin

The Sandestin Foundation for Kids and the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center are the charity recipients for the tournament and a major help in volunteering. Sign up to volunteer at www.emeraldcoastclassicsandestin.com/volunteer/. On that screen, one can review the many volunteer categories. Then, under the How It Works information, click on “Register Today”. In the Registration Code box, put in CAC. That will give volunteers a $10 credit against the $45 fee to volunteer.

The Director of Volunteers is Selina Maddox, she is with Global Golf Management who is in partnership with the Korn Ferry Tour. Any questions can be emailed to her at selina@globalgolfmanagement.com.

 

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March 27th: “Dip Dye Dunk” Eggcellent Easter Event

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March 28th: Vietnam Veterans Ceremony

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April 17th: Veterans Help Veterans Poker Run

Event starts at Emerald Coast Harley Davidson. Registration 9:30am – 11am

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April 19th – April 23rd: “Spring Into Fun” Spring Break Camp

The Destin Community Center will offer a “Spring into Fun” Camp during Spring Break from Monday, April 19th through Friday, April 23rd, 2021. Camp registration is open to residents of Okaloosa County between the ages of 5 – 12. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Cost is $80 for Destin residents and $90 for non-Destin residents within Okaloosa County.

Camp begins at 9:00 am and will end at 5:00 pm. Counselors and campers will have their temperatures taken upon arrival and will adhere to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) guiding principles. There will be water days, park days (weather permitting), recreation games, crafts, and different activities planned throughout the week. For more information, please call the Destin Community Center at 850-654-5184 or email: Recreation@cityofdestin.com.

 

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April 21st: Explore The Universe @ Emerald Coast Science Center

We have brand new kits from the NISE Network all about Space, so get ready to explore the galaxy with hands-on activities appropriate for a wide range of ages. What will your family discover together? Enjoy the rest of the museum from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on all of these days. All activities are included with general admission pricing. Rates: $10 adults/$8 seniors/$8 for children. Military discounts are available.
For more info, click HERE

 

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April 22nd: Earth Day “Going Green” @ Emerald Coast Science Center

We’re celebrating Earth Day while learning about our environment with fun, hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy together regarding all things green. What will your family discover together? Enjoy the rest of the museum from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on all of these days. All activities are included with general admission pricing. Rates: $10 adults/$8 seniors/$8 for children. Military discounts are available.
For more info, click HERE

 

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April 24th: Snake Day With Reno’s Reptiles

The folks at Reno’s Reptiles are bringing a wide variety of animals including Pythons, Anacondas, Iguanas, Skink, Scorpion, and a 50lb Tortoise! All can be held and touched (minus the scorpion), so come discover these awesome animals. General admission rates apply: $10 adults/$8 seniors/$8 for children. Discounts available. Noon- 2pm

For more info, click HERE

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April 24th: “The WOW! Factor” Science Show

With its fun and interactive experiments, The WOW! Factor Science Show will show young and old alike how cool science can be. They have fun down to a science. Join us at the Science Center for a free show starting at 11 a.m.

Notice of Filming: when you attend this event, you enter an area where video recording will occur. By entering the event premises, you consent to such recording media and its release, publication, exhibition, or reproduction.

Participating in the show itself is free; admission to the museum is a separate cost. The show is at 11am, and the museum is open for general admission from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 24th.

For more info click HERE.

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April 30th – May 1st: Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

The Krewe of Bowlegs and the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce are excited to announce the 65th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and Torchlight Parade will be returning this spring. The event is transitioning from the traditional first weekend in June to Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st, with the celebratory Torchlight Parade on Monday, May 3, 2021.

The original Bowlegs festival was held Labor Day weekend but quickly moved to the first weekend in June to promote summer tourism. June is now one of the busiest months of the year for tourism which lead to the decision to move to a weekend that would benefit both our tourists, by offering more budget friendly pricing and our hotel partners by filling the region during an off-peak time. This cost-effective decision will in turn entice more out of town visitors to come for a weekend getaway—and stay 4 nights to enjoy the parade Monday evening. The new date will also offer more comfortable temperatures for all of the outdoor festival activities.

In addition to the date change, and COVID-19 Safety Protocols being put in place, changes to this year’s event includes a focus on the vibrancy of Downtown Fort Walton Beach. “Fort Walton Beach native Buddy Carter, who is Capt. Billy Bowlegs LXV, remembers Bowlegs’ festivals from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, when the pirates would land at a Santa Rosa Sound, dock just west of Beal Parkway and parade east on U.S. 98 toward Brooks Bridge. Buddy fondly remembers that and wanted to bring it back which inspired the changes.” Ted Corcoran, Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO said.

He also adds “When the festival is held at the landing, we traditionally have a variety of out of town vendors who are accustomed to serving festival crowds. By having activities take place throughout downtown, our attendees are able to utilize our existing food, beverage and retail establishments—keeping it local—which was the purpose of the festival when it started 65 years ago!”

Sponsorships are available for this great annual event, please contact Rachelle Graves at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce for additional information.

 

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Ongoing: REFIT Fitness

A different sort of exercise program is coming to Crestview, and it’s something the entire family can enjoy together. REFIT classes begin Tuesday, Feb. 2, and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday thereafter through June through the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“This cardio-based format uses positive music and powerful moves to encourage a path of healthy well-being, for the mind and body,” Crestview’s certified REFIT instructor, Will Williams Jr., said. “REFIT takes a community-centered approach to fitness and creates fitness experiences where everyBODY belongs — every size, shape and ability.”

Crestview’s REFIT classes are 10-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Feb. 2, in the Fairview Center at Allen Park, 895 McClelland St. There is no cost and children are welcome to exercise with their parents.

REFIT IN CRESTVIEW

When: 10-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Feb. 2 through June

Where: Fairview Center in Allen Park, 895 McClelland St., Crestview

How much: Classes are free, donations accepted

Health precautions: Wear masks when coming in and out. Participants may remove masks during class. Maintain at least 6 feet distance between other participants. Space is limited: 20 participants max. Drinking water and use of hand sanitizer are encouraged. For information, contact Parks and Recreation, 850.682.0789.

 

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 Ongoing: New COVID Drive-Up Location in Fort Walton Beach

ProHealth, known for their affordable blood work and occupational testing, is expanding its efforts this week, and opening another location in Fort Walton Beach at 2010 Lewis Turner Blvd. The building officially opened for business on Wednesday, December 16,
2020 and offers patients drive-up rapid antigen and antibody covid-19 testing on Monday – Friday from 8am to 3pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

ProHealth has also opened a new COVID-19 testing site in Pensacola this past fall. The Fort Walton Beach location will be the ProHealth’s 9th location in Northwest Florida. Walk-ins are welcome for most services. For more information, please visit
ProHealthFL.com.

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