The Destin Boys & Girls Club held its 2nd annual Crawfish Boil fundraiser at Harry T’s Lighthouse on Saturday.
Fresh-off-the-boat crawfish from Louisiana soaked in a large cooler, drawing kids and passersby who were curious about the wiggling mudbugs that were sold to help fund summer programs at the club.
“We have one of the most amazing summers planned for the kids,” said Destin Boys & Girls Club director, Bert Little. “We use a lot of disguised learning so they don’t lose what they’ve already learned throughout the school year.”
Little’s goal is to set the kids up for a successful school year in the fall.
“My kids generally perform higher in the first nine weeks of school than kids that don’t come to us," he said. "There’s reading, there’s science, we do a lot of DIY STEM projects and other educational things in the name of fun.”
Little said that he grew up participating in the Boys & Girls Club and his own daughter has been a club member since kindergarten.
The nonprofit works closely with other local nonprofits in the area such as Food for Thought, the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and the Mattie Kellie Arts Foundation.
So far, 265 kids are registered for the Boys & Girls Club 2018 summer camp.
For the crawfish boil, Destin resident Billie Adams — also known as “Crawfish Billie” — set up a large vat full of water and spices, along with a steamer for corn and potatoes.
“I’ve been doing seafood for over 25 years now,” Adams said. “I’ve been doing these charity boils for about eight years. I have a science to it.”
Adams’ No. 1 tip when boiling crawfish is to soak them for as long as possible without over-soaking them. Soaking the crawfish allows them to absorb more of the traditional spices used in a crawfish boil recipe.
“I have about 300 pounds of crawfish on hand,” Adams said. “We’re hoping to complete about 150 orders.”
According to BGCA.org, the Boys & Girls Club started in Hartford, Connecticut in 1860 with three women, Mary Goodwin, Alice Goodwin, and Elizabeth Hammersley, who believed that young boys who grew up on the streets needed positive outlets that captured their interests.
The name changed from Boys Clubs of America to the Boys & Girls Club of America in 1990.
Little said he’s looking to a full summer packed with learning and fun for the kids.
“All my staff is passionate about what we do. We care. We’re about giving the kids productive after school activities to teach them how to become better citizens through community service, academic success, and physical activity.”