Boys & Girls Club celebrates holidays with annual McDaniel party

The sounds of Christmas carols echoed throughout Decker Center Forum, guitar mixing with the cheers and squeals of children who excitedly sang along.

Around the room were different craft tables, from making reindeer hats to cotton ball snowmen to pipe cleaner candy canes and more. One one wall, a rolling fireplace was projected behind a decorated tree and a chair that awaited Santa.


And while it was only Dec. 1, Christmas came a little early Friday night for kids in the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster.

The kids from the club came out to McDaniel College’s campus Friday as a part of the annual holiday party. The two-hour event features arts and crafts through student organizations, food, music and holiday singalongs and even a visit from Santa. Student groups involved included Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Sigma Tau, the McDaniel College Student Government Association, Phi Sigma Sigma, the Poetry Slam Club, the Radio Club and Phi Kappa Sigma. It culminates in a gift each year — this year, the children received blue shirts bearing both McDaniel’s and the Boys and Girls Club logos.

Ian Kasaitis, a McDaniel senior who works at the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, said the event is a chance for the kids to get to interact with the college kids.

“They always get excited to come to McDaniel,” he said.

Events like this, and the club, are so important to a lot of kids, he added. All kids should have a safe, stress-free place to come to be safe and have fun, Kasaitis said.

Caitlin Eversmier, a junior, sat at the reindeer hat table with her fellow Alpha Sigma Tau members. To make the hats, she said, they traced the kids hands to make antlers, and connected them to a paper headband decorated with eyes and a nose.

Eversmier said her favorite part of volunteering at the party is getting to interact with the kids.

“It’s a lot of fun and a lot of energy,” she said.

Nine-year-old Haley Frans, of Westminster, attended the party Friday night. She said she was having fun, and had gotten to sing into the microphone during the caroling portion of the night.

Haley said she was having a good time Friday, but added she was looking forward to Christmas. This year, she she asked for toys, like Hatchimals, and makeup.

For Ashleigh Hood, 13, the party was a good time. She got to color and make the cotton ball snowmen. This year, she’s hoping for new clothes and art stuff — she likes to draw, she added.

But the best part, she said, was getting to “hang out with my friends,” Ashleigh said.

And while the night was filled with friends, fun and food, the club and college’s partnership is about much, much more. Connie Sgarlata, director of the Center for Experience and Opportunity at McDaniel, said the party is a nice way to celebrate the partnership.

The kids just enjoy being there and getting to see McDaniel, she said. And it’s another safe place for them to have fun, she added.


“We want to be a positive impact on their lives,” Sgarlata said.