Surf City

Buddy Fowler

William ‘Buddy’ Fowler, Surf City Councilman and fellow Kiwanian was our guest speaker this past Tuesday morning. Buddy had several exciting activities and developments in Surf City to relay to our Club. He was very proud of the new Surf City Town Hall and Police Department Building that was officially dedicated and now in use for the Town. Having recently attended a Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission meeting in this new facility, this writer can attest to the functionality and professional architectural features of the building!

Buddy was also excited about the town’s Community Center and the programs it offers citizens. He mentioned implementation of a master plan for the new Mainland Town Park project, an approx. 52 acre natural area adjacent to the Community Center that is under consideration for walking trails that would make this area a part of the NC Mountains to Sea Trail route along with other outdoor activities. Many of the town’s park programs have been funded through generous land donations and through the efforts of Chad Merritt, Parks and Rec Director, who has been very successful in acquiring grants to support the program he leads.

Friday before Memorial Day the Town had an official ‘Laying of the Wreath’ ceremony at Soundside Park to honor veterans who have given their lives to preserve our freedom.

Buddy mentioned the new paid parking program in Surf City that will bring in new revenue. The Town had acquired several properties in town on which new parking lots were constructed to aid visitor access to the beach. The parking program is running fairly smooth, but like anything else some first time users of the smartphone app have needed help to learn how to pay and park.

The biggest beach project in Surf City’s history is about to happen according to Buddy. The Surf City/N. Topsail Beach Storm Damage Reduction Mitigation project is one step closer to becoming a reality for Surf City and its beaches. This is a US Army Corps of Engineers project that was approved in 2010 but not funded until Congress provided the Corps with $751 million dollars in Hurricane Florence relief. The Corps then made use of these funds to start ‘new construction’ of the project projected to cost $237 million dollars to construct and an additional $600 million plus dollars over 50 years to maintain through re-nourishment cycles about every 4-6 years. Once Surf City and N. Topsail Beach sign on with the Corps ‘Project Partnership Agreement,’ the first sand could be pumped on the beaches starting in December, 2021.

In closing, Buddy stated that tourism in Surf City was no longer a summer season event, but rather is now year round as visitors learn they can get away from large public places with crowds during times of a COVID pandemic and enjoy the miles of open beaches on Topsail Island. Like businesses everywhere though, Surf City business’s are struggling to find enough workers to provide the services visitors expect.


Tammie Parris

About Our Speaker

Tammie Parris serves as Director, Pender County Economic and Workforce Development at Cape Fear Community College. This year she was elected as the President and incoming chair of the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

In addition to her other roles in the community, Tammie talked to us on Tuesday morning as President of the non-profit Pender Education Partnership or PEP. Due to COVID, the traditional Annual Spelling Bee Fundraiser had to be cancelled last year, one of the biggest fundraisers that PEP holds for the Pender County School District. Many local Kiwanians know that for years Dave and Linda Stipe have been strong supporters of the Spelling Bee and several members of our Club formed teams to compete and donate.

Given some of the same concerns over COVID for the Spelling Bee this year, Tammie came up with an idea for a new event to support the PEP. Thus, ‘Support Our Seniors’ or SOS is a new event that will be an ‘Open Mic Night’ on Friday, June 4, from 6-9 pm at the Burgaw Middle School Field.

One of the headliners will be a performance by the talented GideonsRevel! However, the main idea behind the open mic event is for anyone who has or wants to overcome their stage fright and has a talent to perform whether it be singing, playing a musical instrument, practicing a comedy routine, or what not, and wants to support PEP is invited to sign up and perform. Please follow this link to Sign Up

President Carrie Hewitt (rt) of the Kiwanis Club of Topsail Island Area presents a $500 check to Tammie Parris as a Silver Sponsor for the PEP event. In addition, our own Les King offered Tammie and PEP a $500 matching gift challenge that was matched almost immediately by Kiwanis members in the audience! If you or your company also would like to support this PEP event follow this link to their web page

Mind and Body

Fidel Forde

President Carrie Hewitt introduced Fidel this morning. Fidel is owner of Ignite Your Spark in Holly Ridge. Fidel is a man of many talents …not only is he a motivational speaker, but he is also a Yoga instructor and massage therapist. Fidel specializes in body, mind, and life coaching. He uses his broad experience to equip individuals with the mindset, movement and motivation that will allow them as he says ‘hustle with grace and wake up every day with a spark.’

Fidel introduced himself as the ‘Caribbean Cowboy!’ He immediately connected with his audience and used examples of his person experience to point to many of the problems we face and must over come to improve our self-awareness, self esteem and ‘wake up every day with a spark.’

As an example of the importance of movement, Fidel had he audience stand up and go through several yoga stretches to help relax us and clear our mind.

Fidel is very passion about his coaching and mentoring as he demonstrated throughout his presentation this morning. As a motivational speaker, Fidel grabs his audience and doesn’t let go. He received a warm round of applause after his presentation.

As Fidel says, ‘So… you are ready to create more ease, more joy, more impact, more time, more energy, and have a graceful hustle?’ Then connect with Fidel and take advantage of all he offers. You can visit him on the web at Ignite Your Spark

Scholarship Address

Les King

Our 2021 scholarship address was given by our own Les King. As everyone knows, Les excels in public speaking and this morning was no exception as he quickly brought both of our 2021 Scholarship winners, Ashley Schaefer and George Davis from Dixon High School into his commentary. His talk aimed to steer our two scholars into thinking about “What could be.” Les mentioned that many of us in the audience were mostly senior citizens who have had all kinds of experiences ‘growing up.’ He encouraged our scholars to be open to new experiences at college. Les also said that as young college students you could ‘pivot’ your life course stream to make adjustments guided by the new experiences you have along the way.

Les encouraged our scholars to go beyond what had been their bounds as high school students and participate in new things, and to be receptive to new ideas. At various points, Les would question each scholar such as “Why did you chose the college you will be attending?” and then he had comments about some of the things the students might experience once they were at that particular college.

Another thing that Les asked the scholars to do once they were enrolled was to visit the Kiwanis Circle K advisor at their college and to get involved in Circle K activities. He even gave each a flyer with the Circle K information for that college, so each could get right to it!

During the discussion that followed President Hewitt encouraged the scholars to experience the social side of college i.e. have some fun as experience gained in social interactions can also help you make choices in your life stream. Tim Horner asked one of the scholars who will attend college in New York City if he knew any famous alumni from that college? Turned out a good friend of Les’ is now involved in the leadership of Kiwanis International and had given a keynote address at that college. Eva Krieger, Scholarship Chair, presented each scholar a gift card for their respective college bookstore to buy something fun like sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. not just books!

Ashley Schaefer pictured here with her Dixon High School Counselor, Ms. Yulissa Balsamo
George Davis pictured here with his Dixon High School Counselor, Ms. Yulissa Balsamo

Pender Tourism

Tammy Proctor

Tammy Proctor spoke with us Tuesday morning. Tammy works as the Director of Tourism here in Pender County and in 2014 she served as the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Tammy has been active in producing press releases, articles, and updating websites and social media for non-profit organizations.

Additionally, she writes articles for several other companies and in May 2013, Tammy’s article, “And I Get Paid for This” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul – Inspiration for Writers.

She is here today to give us an update on what is going on in Pender County.

Tammy started off by talking about ‘We are in the bubble!’ Families realized that the beach was the place to go during COVID-19, since it was safe to travel by car, there were no elevator buttons (in large hotels) to push, and they would be safe in an uncrowded destination. She pointed out that over 500,000 web visitors viewed the Pender tourism video, and they have been receiving over 300 requests per month for their Visitor’s Guide to Pender County.

Tammy pointed out that as it is ‘National Travel Week’ in America it was very appropriate for us to invite her to our Club meeting this morning. Tourism is important to Pender County generating $105 million dollars for the local economy this past year. That translates into a savings for county tax payers as the tourism revenue helps keep the need to raise taxes lower.

Tammy mentioned the ‘Blue Economy’ concept in North Carolina during COVID-19 as anything relating to water and tourism for the beaches and ‘blue skies’ for the western mountains where the public feels safe as uncrowded vacation destinations. The Piedmont area has not benefited from this blue travel as much, since tourism destinations there have mostly large hotels.

Another tourism destination in Pender Co. is associated with the NC Oyster Trail, where tourists ‘Experience the Napa Valley of Oysters’ featuring festivals, great seafood, craft beer, outdoor adventure, and shellfish farm tours.

Tammy talked about Ghost Walk where the Ghosts of Pender’s Past is a sell-out event in a normal year in the Town of Burgaw. However with COVID a retro idea has been adopted for 2021. “The show must go on,” said Stephanie Key, the artistic director of Ghost Walk: The Ghost of Pender’s Past. “To provide ghostly stories in a COVID-19 setting, we’ve gone retro. We’re bringing the Ghost Walk, a drive-in to Burgaw on Oct 23 and Hampstead on Oct 24.” For details on Ghost Walk follow it on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PenderCountyGhostWalk/

Following Tammy’s talk the Club members and our guests from the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club posed with her for a group photo.

For more information on tourism in Pender County follow this link https://www.visitpender.com/


Lindsay Peiffer

Our speaker today is Lindsay Peiffer. She is Director of the “ Girls on the Run” and “Stride” Programs for the YMCA for all of Southeastern North Carolina. Her programs empower young kids to believe in themselves by building self-confidence through healthy living.

Girls on the Run

New Hanover County Schools held Girls on the Run in the school system starting in 2004. In 2008, Wilmington Family YMCA became the new affiliate of Girls on the Run of Coastal Carolina holding the program at three sites in New Hanover County. The Girls on the Run program now embraces 21 counties in Southeastern North Carolina with over 30 locations that serve on average over 1500 hundred girls a year!

Lindsay described the Girls on the Run Program as a life-changing program for 8- to 13-year-old girls (3rd to 5th grade) that promotes girl empowerment by teaching life skills through lessons and running.

The Girls on the Run Program is a 10-week program with after school meetings 2 days a week where girls and their coaches get together to discuss life skills values in between the running, of course.

Some of the values covered are:

  • Self Talk Matters
  • Attitude of Gratitude
  • Real Beauty
  • Untangling our Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Finding Balance
  • Communicating with Others
  • Community Impact Project

The 10 week program culminates in a 5K run where the girls are supported by family, coaches, friends and others in the community who turn out for these runs. Since three age groups are included in the program, on average 60% of those who participated once do participate again.

Girls on the Run Camp

At the week-long Camp GOTR, girls enjoy building friendships in a fun and inclusive setting that includes interactive lessons, being physically active, and expressing creativity through arts & crafts and storytelling. 

To learn more about the Girls on the Run program follow this link https://www.gotrcoastalcarolina.org/our-programs

Missiles and More

Janine Stidley

Janine Stidley was our guest speaker on April 13th. She and her husband Rick, a fellow Kiwanian, moved to Topsail in 2016 to be full time residents after vacationing on Topsail for a number of years. Janine has worked in the corporate sector, the private sector and the federal government as well as small businesses and in education. She has over 35 years of volunteer experience with Military Family Readiness Groups, Community Spouses’ Clubs, Girls Scouts, PTAs, United Methodist Youth Fellowships and other Church Groups as well as the Historical Society of Topsail Island.

Janine is currently the acting director of the Missiles & More Museum and is here today to let us know how things are going with the museum and what we can expect in the coming year.

Janine noted that “The Missiles and More Museum came to life when a group of citizens were concerned for the future of the historical Assembly Building. The building, constructed 1946, was used by the government to assemble missiles for a secret missile operation being conducted on Topsail Island. These citizens began to pursue their goal to preserve the building. After several years of research, feasibility studies and meeting with state and local representatives the building was purchased. Thus, the Assembly Building became the perfect place to house the Missiles and More Museum. The late Betty Polzer’s dream was to promote the history of Topsail Island And through her persistence, her dream was finally realized and the Missiles and More Museum opened its door in 1995.”

One of the coolest new features at the Museum is the ‘PocketSights Tour Guide’ app that takes visitors on a walking tour around the Operation Bumblebee (U.S Navy) test site describing the processes that went on to move missiles from the Assembly Building to the launch pad, fuel, then launch the test missile. Over 200 launches were made during Operation Bumblebee in the late 1940’s. [Note: If you have the ‘PocketSights Tour Guide’ app on your smartphone, then when at the Museum open the app and select “Historical Walking Tour of Topsail Beach”. If you don’t have the app, then you will first need to download it from your app store of choice.]

Janine also spoke about Camp Davis and the role it played in training Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who subsequently played a key role in ferrying military aircraft around the country and around the world. Incidentally, Janine noted that qualifying women were required to already have a pilot’s license before joining the training program; a requirement not held to men who joined the Army Air Corps.

While the Museum is now open on Mondays to Fridays from 2 – 5pm, COVID restrictions are being followed so tours of the Assembly Building/Museum are one way. In June, plans are to go a 11am – 5pm schedule, Mondays through Saturdays.

Click the link below to visit

Missiles and More Museum

Kids and Reading

Carrie Hewitt and Tim Horner

President Carrie Hewitt led the discussion Tuesday morning on our first week back for in-person meetings at the Surf City Welcome Center. She noted that April 12th is D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Day. A national celebration of reading that encourages families to stop everything and read together. Reading is a great way for kids to develop a strong vocabulary and imagination, not to mention concentration and creativity. This is especially true for kids but is also true for adults.  Carrie volunteered several books she had enjoyed during COVID, some of which were, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer, The Silent Patient by Alex Michalides and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

We then went around the room for Kiwanians in attendance to talk about their suggested reading list. As the discussion continued the theme evolved into a discussion of children books and titles appropriate for children and how Kiwanis should be addressing the question of ‘no child left behind’ when it comes to reading.

Sadly as Tim Horner noted, Les King missed this meeting. Tim was positive that Les would have held the floor for the remainder of our allotted time. As a second choice Tim reflected on his experience as an assistant to a Children’s Library Aid and Storyteller (Gerry Horner). Many times his task had been to review Cladecott and Newbury Award books being added to the library collections. Tim loved the stories and how they could stimulate a child’s imagination. This, to me (Tim), is essential in the development of a child to provide the stimulus for the growth of future education. We, as Kiwanians, always try to emphasize that every child is important, has value, has all the attributes to be important in the future of our nation. If we limit and restrict what a child can read by some set of arbitrary rules we have put a governor, a fixed limit on that child’s mind.

As a point Tim referenced a book written by a friend of Gerry’s, Bill Lepp (illustrated by David Wenzel) titled The King of Little Things. Bill is a nationally-known Storyteller from West Virginia, author, retired Methodist Minister and five time West Virginia Liars Champion. Bill’s book presents a wonderful story of big versus little and what really matters in life. A must read for all. As we reach out to children I hope we can always remember it’s the little things that really count.

Brigade Boys and Girls Club

Keith Williams

President Carrie Hewitt introduced Keith Williams our speaker this past Tuesday morning. Keith is the County Executive for Brigade Boys & Girls Club in Onslow Co. After 32 years in the insurance industry Keith planned on an early retirement, but things quickly changed when he met Bill Mercer, the Chairman of Onslow’s Advisory Board. After some discussions with Bill, Keith realized there was more work to be done.

Keith is a product of the Kennedy Home in Kinston, so working with children was a win-win. Since taking the position with Brigade, they have seen continuous growth. Onslow currently serves over 225 children daily in their after school programs. Keith says, “I do this work with one thing in mind. It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Keith said first of all that people like you (Kiwanians) are why I am here today to ensure that no child is left behind just like your Kiwanis motto. We (Bridgade Boys and Girls Club) enable all young people to be productive and responsible citizens. We reach every child, we never leave any child behind.

What We Do

Keith noted that “Our Mission is to inspire and, through character development, enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

Between our Brigade Boys and Girls Clubs in Onslow and New Hanover counties we are running 10 programs where 2,200 kids are being served to make an impact in their lives. The clubs went into remote learning centers when schools closed due to COVID which was critical especially when a child did not have access to a computer for online learning. Many children in remote learning centers did better in their course work than those that were not.

On May 25, we plan to transition from remote learning and start our summer camp program with a quick transition in Onslow for 325 kids at four locations. We know as we go into summer camp mode that kids want to enjoy summer, so our activities will be focused on fun activities such as sports, art, etc., plus summer brain gain.

Brigade Boys and Girls Club

To enroll or donate to Brigade Boys and Girls Club, please follow this link https://brigadebgc.org/


Wilmington’s Successful Women

Vicky Janowski

In her introduction of our speaker today, President Carrie Hewitt noted that March 8th was International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

We learned from Carrie’s introduction that Vicky Janowski is the editor of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, editor of WILMA magazine  and co-director of WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, a multifaceted program to help develop more women leaders in Southeastern North Carolina. She has over 20 years of experience in journalism, covering both local and national news for newspapers throughout Georgia and North Carolina.

Carrie noted that Vicky is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and has served on its national advisory board. She is a past volunteer with Communities In Schools and is currently a Girl Scout troop co-leader based out of Wilmington, also serving on Girl Scouts-N.C. Coastal Pines’ board development committee.

Vicky started her presentation with a description of the WILMA Leadership Institute which is part of WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative. Members of this group go through intensive leadership training, serve as each other’s personal board of directors and have exposure to experienced leaders in the area. Individuals can apply themselves, and companies are encouraged to nominate high-potential leaders in their organizations. Up to 32 women will be selected to be part of the class. The application period for the 2021 Leadership Institute has closed as monthly classes begin in April (virtual initially) and run through December.

Vicky described another focus area: the Mentor Initiative – “where up-and-coming women in the community will be matched with women and men mentors to assist with their leadership development as part of a mentoring program. WILMA holds quarterly group mentoring events open to all readers and not just those in the formal program.”

Vicky briefly mentioned other aspects of ‘WILMA Women to Watch’ that include: Large events to bring women together, Niche groups to connect women with similar business and tech interests, Board preparation to foster and promote women for corporate and civic board of directors, and the WILMA network that connects women in the Wilmington area.

To view the WILMA magazine that Vicky edits follow this weblink https://www.wilmamag.com/issue/wilma/march-2021/

To learn more in general about WILMA follow this weblink https://www.wilmamag.com/women-to-watch/