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  • Writer's pictureBGC Metro Baltimore

Fall Brings Pumpkins, Ghouls, Turkeys—And A Raven?

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Four The Season: Here's a quick glimpse at all the fun times had and memories made at our Clubs this Fall.

Before the first snowflake forms and Mariah Carey’s voice begins infinitely playing for the rest of the holiday season, let’s enjoy one last look at the sights and sounds from a very busy, festive and thankful fall season at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.

At our Westport Club, members and staff really showed what getting dressed up for the scariest celebration of them all was all about. It was a colorful and frenzied scene that left members and families thrilled by all the cool, spooky things happening at their Club. Facepainting done by Club staff decorated the bright faces ready for all the fun and candy they could handle. Games of ‘Fear Factor’ tested the nerves (and taste buds) as Club Manager Laure Julliard showed members how to eat a live cricket before some brave members stepped up to the challenge to chew through their phobias. ‘Ewwwwww’ was collectively shouted a few times by those watching as other members were at a nearby table competitively digging for ‘eyes’ (ping-pong balls) in hollowed out pumpkins to win prizes.

From One Season To The Next: Westport Club members enjoyed the Halloween party atmosphere just as they did the wonderful spread of food for its Thanksgiving feast.

November made Halloween’s ghoulish cuisine passe as the smell of the Westport Thanksgiving Celebration's menu brought everyone to the table. Two turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, rolls and—of course--macaroni and cheese made Club members wide-eyed at the sight of the great food on their plates. Then the sweet potato pie. Before dining side by side with their peers and family, members said what they were thankful for the most. “This is my first Thanksgiving Celebration here in Westport, but I’ve heard how much of a great time it is for our community to welcome all of the families to come dine with us,” says Club Coordinator Imani Walton about the continuing legacy of unity at the at the heart of this meal. “Keeping that tradition alive is what we wanted to do while adding some new creative, hands-on activities for the kids to do before they sat down with their friends and loved ones to eat and fellowship.”

Giving Thanks and Making Memories: Pocomoke Club members made the most of fall's balmy weather on the Eastern Shore as their seasonal celebration turned into an extended party.

A new tradition of good fall fun was starting at our Pocomoke High School Club. Members enjoyed an afternoon field trip to Eastern Shore Lanes that showed them cheering on one another as they all tried to get the elusive triple strike ‘turkey’ with each roll. Back at The Club, members exhibited their artistic skills through arts and crafts to be displayed for all to see. And what’s Thanksgiving without a little...kickball? Yes. Club members took to the premier athletic field on the school’s campus to take part in the all the friendly competition as players rounded third base before safely reaching home. No matter the game however, gratitude for friends, family, community and Club were voiced by our members over the course of this wonderful celebration.

Fun. Games. Community: Our Brooklyn O'Malley Club turned its pre-dining festivities into a live game room where members had playtime with peers, family and staff before dinner.

The Brooklyn O’Malley Club enjoyed a Thanksgiving Festival where members’ families came out to bond over games and other fun, community building activities. The sense of ‘togetherness’ is what Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore looks to create every day for our members and the ones they love. The Brooklyn O’Malley Club community was able to sit down as one to play Giant Jenga, Giant Checkers, Pin The Hat On The Turkey, Bingo and other board games. It was time to eat once the games were put away. Plates of turkey, rolls, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy preceded the helpings of pumpkin pie and cupcakes that added sweetness to this great feast of fun.

Always Thankful, Always Open: The Door's Fall Festival was a neighborhood-wide and homecoming event as residents came to dine, learn and engage with each other in a positive environment where outreach and kindness was teeming from wall to wall. (Did we mention the burgers?)

The Door welcomed the East Baltimore community to its Fall Festival that entertained all the little ones in attendance while connecting adults to organizations providing resources of empowerment and change. Facepainting and craft making kept youth actively engaged on that Saturday afternoon as a late autumn sun covered The Door’s location on Chester Street. Laughter echoed over conversation as fellow non-profits including Enoch Pratt Free Library, Our Daily Bread, Southeast Community Development Corporation, Coppin State University’s School of Nursing and other resourceful organizations gave information on their respective offerings to the community.

Meet The People: The Door, a place associated more so for its afterschool programming, became a weekend hub for residents to get more information on all the valuable resources available to them.

This celebration of ‘family’ took on another shape as Lead Club Coordinator Nia Taliaferro’s real family drove down from her home state of New Jersey to assist with this event. Her father, James, showed his expert talents as a grill master over a roaring set of flames as he prepared the hamburgers and hotdogs everyone at the event was keen on devouring as the aroma filled the air. Inside, her mother—Denay, grandmother—Francine Ward, and brother—Isiah, each helped with the creations coming to life by our next generation of future decision makers whose fingers were dotted with watercolors. This event at The Door was also a homecoming for those former afterschool/summer camp attendees of decades past to return to the space they once learned and grew within years ago—thankfully impressed with the services Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore are currently providing today.

Fun In The Fall Sun: Members and attendees of Webster Kendrick's Fall Festival were about to play on the grass lawn outside The Club.

Webster Kendrick Club’s Fall Festival was a time for children and families from the neighborhoods around Callaway Elementary School to come out and be a part of all the unique activities and creations for and by our members. Children of all ages picked up a paintbrush to add hues to pumpkins, make pocket-sized aquariums of starry glitter and create slime. Smoothie King delivered the fruity treats that kept attendees cool as the warm autumn weather made many start rolling up their sleeves. While games unfolded on the grassy field right outside of the Blue Doors leading into our Club, the school’s gymnasium played host to the community organizations such as TurnAround, Inc., Maryland Counseling Services, Shura, Inc. and others were there to provide the resources they needed. BMore Community Food was on the scene making sure that residents who attended did not leave empty-handed, but with boxes full of fresh vegetables, canned goods and bags of russet potatoes to fill their refrigerators and pantries.

Come One, Come All For A Taste of The Fall: Webster Kendrick's Thanksgiving gathering was one of the many highlights that took place this season at our Club.

Later that season, the families of members at our Webster Kendrick Club gathered again for a Thanksgiving celebration. A shootaround session of basketball was played between members, parents and staff. After working up an appetite on the court, it was time for the party to move into the multipurpose room where everyone was able to sit down and get ready to dine together as one Club community. “We’re very happy to have served over 150 families during the course of both our Fall Festival and the Thanksgiving Dinner events,” says Brandon Clayton, Lead Youth Development Coordinator at Webster Kendrick. “We were happy to have members of Aldi come out to volunteer and set up a wonderful table of food with fresh fruit and snacks—we're very thankful for them for being part of our festival.” Caterer Shannon Tchuimeni, Owner of Bstro2Go—now called Savor Desserts—and volunteer Guest Culinary Instructor at our Webster Kendrick Club, spoke on what it meant to be able to donate this meal and serve the community at this festival. “During the holiday season, I love to give back to seniors and youth organizations throughout the DMV. I love being here at Webster Kendrick to serve this Thanksgiving Festival. I drove up from Gaithersburg to be here today to serve what I prepared and what others donated to this meal." Believe us, the collectively gracious act of combining to feed our community most certainly did not go overlooked.

Kenyan At The Club: Baltimore Ravens running back and former Club member himself, Kenyan Drake, visited our O'Donnell Heights Club ready to serve a great Thanksgiving meal by Cracker Barrell and get to meet all the wonderful members of this awesome East Baltimore community.

The O’Donnell Heights Club may have had one of the coolest guests to visit their Club. The creator of one of the most outrageous plays in NFL history—The Miami Miracle—Baltimore Ravens running back Kenyan Drake arrived at our O’Donnell Heights Club carrying in food and kindness. Representatives from Cracker Barrell entered with Kenyan as he waved and greeted all the members families gathered in the gymnasium for this wonderful holiday meal. Before serving meals, Kenyan sat down with families and members to talk, listen to their wishes for the upcoming season and why their child is a part of The Movement.

A Moment With The Fans: Kenyan Drake makes one fans seasonal wish come true as he signed the first of many autographs that evening at the O'Donnell Heights Club.

“I love doing events like this in the community,” Kenyan began saying as he started to remove the plastic gloves used during his evening of serving food to our Club members and their families. “Boys & Girls Clubs everywhere have a special place in my heart because I was a Club member myself back in Atlanta where I’m from originally. Being able to be out here tonight with the kids and their families is why I love being in the position I am today to help when and where I can.”

Thanks to all our dedicated staff, Club members and their families, community organizations and educational institutions who joined Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore to celebrate the season.

Want To See What Other Great Events Are Happening This Season at BGCMB? Click here to find out what we're doing to keep enriching opportunities like these happening for all our Club members and their communities. Click here to find out how you can add to the impact shaping the lives of our youth all year long.


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