Ft Walton Beach News

This month, we had to wish a very sad farewell to our selfless leaders: Jessica, Garrett (and baby Parker, who is still cooking!)  As the Children in Crisis capacity is growing, so are our events! We had one of our largest groups of children to date and spent the day playing a variety of sports! Between the fun and the sun, both children and volunteers parted for a low-key, restful afternoon.

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The event today was focused around teaching kids some skills, and just having a fun time!  At the football station, kids learned how to run passing routes and how to communicate with their quarterback.  At the soccer stations, they learned how to dribble the ball with their feet and were able to play red light green light to hone their skills.  After a nice lunch, we got back together for either a big game of kickball or a football scrimmage.  All in all, the event lasted about 3 hours. I think we tired them out for the day – much to the excitement of their parents!

For February, Chicktime volunteers returned to our collective passion of SCIENCE and brought the children 3 “I-can’t-believe-this-is-science!” activities. First, the children explored the ins and outs of how airplanes fly and built a paper airplane to put the their knowledge to the test. Second, the children investigated taste through their very own taste test experiment. They learned the different types of taste and where those receptors sit on their tongues. Third, we made a non-newtonian fluid (you will want to try this at home)! Unlike water, this fluid doesn’t “flow” the way you think it should. If you dropped a fork on top of this seemingly liquid fluid, the prongs won’t even break the surface! It’s pretty amazing. For our grand finale, we took the kids outside and let them explode bottles of Diet Coke by adding 3 Mentos to each container. A huge “thank you!” to our amazing volunteers!


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This month marked the beginning of year #3 for Chicktime Fort Walton Beach! We hosted a Wintertime Celebration with Children in Crisis for this January event. Volunteers brought blank white puzzles on which the children drew winter scenes. Some children created their own scenes while others used templates. Volunteers helped draw and add snow glitter to the kids’ scenes, ate warm soup for lunch, and chowed a marshmallow snowman dessert! In standard Chicktime Fort Walton Beach fashion, the day ended in a game of touch football and other games on the playground—always a fun ending!


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This month, Chicktime Fort Walton Beach hosted a woodworking day. The children created and decorated a custom frame for their favorite photo! And by “created” we mean FROM SCRATCH! The kids’ creativity and breadth of ideas were truly impressive! Some of the kids chose to paint abstract designs while others painted elaborate scenes. Volunteers played beach volleyball, joined in group dances, and galloped around as the kids’ horsies to interact with the kids who finished quickly. We appreciate our volunteers being up for anything and going with the flow!


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We repeated a 2013 favorite and returned to Fort Walton Beach’s Zombie Walk for our October event! Before the children donned their face paint and took to the streets of the half-living, they picked out a pumpkin and played games at the local fall festival. At the Zombie Walk, the kids joined in Halloween group dances. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for making this a special month for our kids!


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Unlike last year’s camping experience, we had more than enough sunshine to brighten our day.  However, we ended up equally as wet due to the scorching 100+ degrees and humidity!  Our campfire spontaneously combusted into flames– just kidding 😉 but we DID roast hotdogs, build tents, and journeyed into the wildnerness of Anderson Pond for a nature walk.  Despite the plethora of activites, the main attraction was none other than a large dirt pile.  Thank you to all our volunteers for braving the heat wave!



For July, we met the children at their capus for games and lunch before heading to the local pottery gallery for an hour-long class.  The children learned how to prep their clay and then rolled it through a giant rolling pin to make a level slab.  Next, the children picked their favorite of 3 stencils (lizard, turtle, or heart) to cut out their clay creatures.  They used their new knowledge about texture to give each creature its unique characterstics– and, boy, were they unique!



This month, we met the children at Okaloosa Island’s beach for a day in the sun!  This was our largest group of children to date! We took turns playing in the water and building sand castles ashore.  At lunch time, we ate ALL the food (also first!) and enjoyed popsicles for a tasty treat.  You should have seen the sunscreen relay race! Despite the wide age range, every child was cheering and encouraging one another– such a beautiful spotlight on their compassionate nature.



Two charities were joined together for the month of May.  The volunteers and kids met at the Sasquatch Zoo, run by Emerald Coast Wildlife Rescue.  The zoo was kind enough to provide an individual tour to our group where the kids learned all about the wallaby, ringtailed lemurs, tortoises, bears, tigers, and so many more animals!  After the tour the kids went to the petting zoo and got to feed with the goats, deer, llamas, and a cow.  The animals had long and scratchy tongues!!  After a lunch of what the animals eat (berries, meats, nuts, and veggies), the kids were tested on what they learned in a scavenger hunt.  Did you know tortoises can live over a hundred years??  At the end of the day, everyone signed their handprint on a wonderful sign thanking the zoo.  All the kids had lots of fun seeing another charity in action on their day at the zoo!!



Our April Event was extra special.  To honor our fearless leader, Jessica, and other deployed military members, the children created care packages.  They wrote and colored beautiful cards, decorated cookies, and played a plethora of games in between!  A tables full of bubbles was a huge hit.  The children delved into the depths of their creativity and used their arms as bubble wands– which made for gigantic bubbles!  We also had the pleasant sounds of the nearby music festival to serenade us all morning 🙂



Volunteers and children gathered at the Children in Crisis campus for a team-building day!  This event challenged their communiation skills, building skills, and problem solving skills.  We set up 3 different stations.  The first required one partner draw a picture of a beach or house without seeing it.  They only had their partner’s description to assist them! We were super impressed with how well they communicated.  At the second station, the children built marshmellow and noodle creations! The final event was a paper airplane building and flying contest.  As usual, we ended the day with lunch and playground time.  Big thanks to our event leaders, Jarred and Cassie! They did a fantastic job organizing and running the event!






After a short holiday hiatus, we finally had our first event of 2014!  Volunteers joined the children for “Paint by the Juice Box-” a fun spin on those wine and canvas painting classes!  The children created their own fruit juice concoction and learned how to paint a snowy tree scene to commemorate the week it snowed in Florida!  Each painting was so unique and beautiful!  We are so proud of our young artists!  After painting, the children enjoyed a variety of grapes, cheeses, crackers, and meats.  The beautiful weather finally led us outside to the playground for a lively game of football, tag, “Lava Monster,” and other children-lead activities.



This month, we had a woodworking day where the children designed, assembled, and decorated a frame for one of their favorite photos!  And we’re talking about making these frames from SCRATCH!  The children observed as the skilled volunteers managed the heavy power tools, but took their turn at measuring, sawing, sanding, and painting their frames.  The event ended with a big game of beach volleyball.




Our October event included hayrides, piglets, and… zombies.  It was quite a memorable experience for everyone!  The children spent the first hour and half at the Mary Esther United Methodist Church’s fall festival and participated in a variety of activites: bouncy house, tractor-pulled hayrides, and playing with two small piglets.  The children learned the piglets’ parents weighed over 800 pounds each and their fall diet included rotting pumpkins.  Mmmm, tasty.  Later, the children went to the Fort Walton Beach Zombie Walk in downtown Fort Walton Beach.  Each person donated 2 canned goods and participated by donning gruesome face paint, fake blood, and ripped clothing. The night ended with a large group zombie dance to “Thriller.”



Our camping event was a huge success (again, despite the rain)!  The children took cover under a large pavilion at Anderson Pond.  They learned to set up tents and a tarp allowed us to maintain an impressive fire for cooking hotdogs.  The children created their own tail mix by measuring and mixing raisins, peanuts, and other treats.  Their trail mix successfully curbed hunger on a nature walk around the pond.  And, as all camping trips should include, the day ended with tasty s’mores.  Thanks to our volunteers for braving the elements and making the event possible!



Believe it or not, our rescheduled Wildlife Refuge trip was rained out a SECOND time! Oh, Florida.  We reconvened at the Children in Crisis Campus for a day of creativity, crafts, and community.  There are so many blessings with these simple, back-up-plan events.  With less structure to our schedule, the children absolutely blossom and fill the day with so much love and play.



Unfortunately, the torrential rain prevented us from having our July event at the Gulf Coast Wildlife Refuge.  Despite the weather, we relocated to the Children in Crisis campus for food, games, and crafts (all animal-centric of course!) A rainy day can’t damper the spirits at Chicktime Fort Walton Beach! Thank you to all our volunteers for your positivity and flexibility!



We had a bright and fun-filled day at Okaloosa Beach! Fishing, beach games, lifeguard demonstrations, open ocean swimming, and tasty lunches went extremely well with the sunshine and salty air.  The children caught several fish off the pier and worked together to return each slippery creature back to the ocean.  Thank you to our amazing volunteers, old and new, for such a fun day!




May Event Recap


Nothing beats a warm day in May at Ferry Park with footballs, kickballs, soccer balls, and a rowdy bunch of fun kids.  After getting fueled up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the dugouts, the children cycled through soccer and football drills.  The highlight of the day for the children was most likely Team Kids’ total domination of Team Chicktime in a super-official kickball game on the baseball field.




The highlight of the day for some of the volunteers, on the other hand, was most likely when a couple of the kids started writing “I <3 Chicktime” in the infield.  Near the end of the event, the kids were asked to pick out a ball to bring home, as all the balls were provided through a generous donation by Jared & Jennifer Schafer of Albany, New York.  We were thrilled to have some new volunteers give their time and energy this month, as well.  Thank you all!


Upcoming June Event


On Saturday, June 15th, Chicktime will be hosting a Beach & Fishing Day from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Whether you’d like to donate time or help fund the event, your support of Chicktime is always much appreciated.  Simply e-mail chicktimefwb@gmail.com to get plugged in!

April Event Recap


The children visited Eglin Air Force Base for the April Chicktime event.  The day began with a tour of an Air Force C-130 on the flight line.  The C-130 Hercules took the children on a virtual flight around the United States, visiting California and New Mexico before returning to the Florida panhandle.  This was the first time on an airplane for some of the kids, while others were glad to experience a “flight” without getting sick!


As the children were broken into small groups to tour of the C-130, the non-touring children and volunteers were free to play tag in the large airplane hangar.  By time the tour was finished, everyone was ready to sit back and relax (or recover, in the case of the volunteers).


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Our next stop on Eglin allowed us to relax in the warm sun while watching the Security Forces K-9 unit perform.  First, the children learned how the Security Forces (police officers) work together with their dogs to help keep us safe.  Next, we watched the dogs in action.  We witnessed how well they listened to their handlers and also how happy they were to be working with them.  Finally, everyone had the opportunity to try on the safety equipment and toured the dog kennels to meet all the animals!


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The day wrapped up with a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers and a visit from some the Medical staff on base.  They showed the children how they use some of their equipment that helps people feel better.  Fortunately, everyone was safe that day and Medical did not need to help us!


Upcoming May Event


The children will be having an outdoor “sports day” on Sunday, May 19 from 1-4 pm.  It should be a great afternoon filled with high-energy kids playing different sports alongside the volunteers.  We have had many games of tag and football during our past Chicktime events, but in the long-standing rivalry of kids vs. volunteers, the kids are still undefeated! If you are interested in helping, please email chicktimefwb@gmail.com.  We look forward to seeing you!

March Event Recap


A few weeks ago, we joined the local Girl Scout troop in a morning of Geocaching!  Once the children learned that Geocaching is similar to a high-tech scavenger hunt, they could not wait to get started. They were split into teams and used handheld Garmin GPS units to track down 12 different caches—each containing clues.




It was heartwarming to witness their teamwork and kindness.  After they found all the caches, the teams reunited to put the clues together into what became the Girl Scout Promise/ Law and the Boy Scout Oath/ Law.


The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were presented with their Geocaching badges and the Chicktime Fort Walton Beach group was presented with similar awards.  The event concluded with lunch and a lively game of football.


Upcoming April Event


On Saturday, April 20th (10am-1pm) we are returning to Eglin AFB for a collaborative tour of the base.  The children will get to see the flight line, different aircraft and vehicles, demonstrations of Security Forces K-9 capabilities, EOD’s robots, and Medical’s self-aid and buddy care.  The children will get to interact with all of the demo volunteers and play games on the beach at the conclusion of the event.  If you are interested in helping, please email chicktimefwb@gmail.com.  We look forward to seeing you!

February Event Recap


We had such a fun, laid back event in this past month—Ashley Anderson and Tracy McKenna put together a Valentine’s Day carnival!  The day began with face paint and fun carnival games.  Children won prizes for the games and never ceased to ask for increasingly more creative things to paint on their faces!




A few of the carnival games included a bean bag toss, guess the number of M&Ms in a jar, potato sack races, an overloaded craft table, and probably the most enjoyed—throw a pie in Ashley’s face!  This woman was such a trooper!  She took about 12 pies to the face and still came up smiling:





As always, we had a great group of volunteers who really helped make the day special.  Thank you!!


Upcoming March Event


On Saturday, March 16th from 9:15am-1:00pm, we will meet at Eglin AFB to join the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts in a Geocaching Scavenger Hunt.  If you are interested to helping out, please register on our calendar.  Sort by “Fort Walton Beach” and then click “Register” under the Geocaching Scavenger Hunt.  Or, you can directly contact Andrea Gallegos– her information is located on the flyer below!



January Event Recap 

Chicktime FWB is up and running! And by running, we mean sprinting full speed ahead! We are so pleased to announce the success of the first Chicktime event here in Fort Walton Beach. We were blessed to spend the day with 14 boys and girls from the shelter and over 60 volunteers from the local community.



The event began with a warm welcoming of the children.  Each of them received a t-shirt and played while they became acquainted with the volunteers.  Their first station was a group warm-up followed by the game, “Find-a-Friend.”  This got the kids moving and interacting with each other. Next, they were broken up into small groups and shown basic (and not so basic) exercises like squats, pushups, running, and tire flipping.  Thanks to our “professional” CrossFitters, each child learned new skills and had fun doing it!




The children then were ready to show off what they learned by playing “Simon Says.”  When “Simon” turned out to be named Alicia, the children quickly renamed the game to “Alicia Says.”  Next, the kids and volunteers were broken up into teams and given bandanas to signify their team. They were challenged to complete each learned skill for 30 seconds. They were so proud of themselves and of their teammates.




The final activity of the day involved two stations: a fun and challenging obstacle course, and an amazing, interactive nutritional seminar where they learned about the different macronutrients and the reasons for eating healthy foods. With all the talk about food, the children were starving… just inside the clubhouse, a group of volunteers had an entire dinner set up which included kabobs, fruit salad, veggies, and bacon-wrapped dates.  The children had so much fun putting together their own kabobs—and were able to identify the different macronutrients too!


To sum it up, we could not have asked for a better event.  The children absolutely enjoyed themselves and experienced what healthy living is really all about: Good Friends, Good Food, and Getting Fit!


Upcoming February Event

On Sunday, February 10th from 2-5pm, we will return to Children in Crisis for a carnival-themed Valentine’s Day party!  If you are interested to helping out, please register on our calendar.  Sort by “Fort Walton Beach” and then click “Register” under the Valentine’s Day Carnival.  Or, you can directly contact Ashley Anderson or Tracy McKenna– their information is located on the flyer below!


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December Kickoff Meeting

Thank you to all those who were able to make it to the informational kickoff meeting last month!  We talked about what Children in Crisis, our partner home, is all about and what we’re aiming to accomplish with our particular chapter of Chicktime.  Food was eaten, donations were traded for Chicktime shirts, and questions were cleared up regarding Chicktime specifics.




To top it all off, we have our schedule roughly planned through August including the date, time, leader, and theme for each event.  It’s all coming together!  😀




For those who have expressed interest in volunteering or donating but weren’t able to come out for the meeting, contact Mel at melissa.a.hemphill@gmail.com to get added to our volunteer list.  She will e-mail you the slides from the meeting and include you in future chapter updates.  For any questions about Chicktime, contact Kristina at lathrop.kristina@yahoo.com.  There are many ways to help!  Send your event ideas to Jess at jessica.marie.schafer@gmail.com.  In addition to the scheduled events, some ideas we knocked around include:





January Healthy Living Event


Sunday, January 20th (1:30-5pm)


Our first event will be held at CrossFit Fort Walton Beach (29 Jet Drive NW, Fort Walton Beach FL 32548) and will consist of three, 40 min stations.  The first station will be a warm-up, CrossFit Kids-style team workout, and mobility afterwards.  There will be teams of three or four (designated by different color bandanas!) and a “professional” CrossFitter in each group.   We will encourage all of the children to participate but understand that some may not be able to.  The second station will be a fun, interactive nutritional seminar lead by Tracy McKenna.  Finally, we will end our day by making a healthy meal of kabobs and fruit salad.


How YOU can help!

  • “Professional” CrossFitters needed to lead small teams
  • Help Tracy with the seminar
  • Bring food, help kids assemble kabobs
  • Most importantly, just visit with the children


To volunteer for this event please contact Melissa Hemphill (melissa.a.hemphill@gmail.com)


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Chicktime Fort Walton Beach Kick-Off Meeting!

Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30pm

Children in Crisis Clubhouse

RSVP to Kristina Lathrop: lathrop.kristina@yahoo.com



We are  looking for women to lead activities with the children. Basically, the activity you lead would involve your gift or passion.   Perhaps your passionate flame will ignite a heart of one of the children and inspire them to chase new goals.  For activity ideas, check out the Program Ideas section of Leader Resources.


To join the Chicktime FWB chapter and receive invitations to upcoming volunteer opportunities, click the Subscribe button below and make sure to select FL-Fort Walton Beach from the drop down menu. Please feel free to contact us with questions or more information about how you can get involved!  We’d love for you to join our chapter  🙂