Boys & Girls Club of Westminster celebrates the holidays in their new space

Giggling loudly, Eva Easter grabbed a green hula hoop and began spinning it around her waist as Christmas music played from a speaker on the floor.

Her shirt was adorned with kittens in Santa hats. On a nearby table, the recently competed snowflake she had cut out of paper.


McDaniel College student Miranda Jacobs joined in with a hula hoop of her own. Then Eva, a Friendship Valley Elementary student and member of the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster picked up her hoop and tried to spin it around her head. When it bounced away a few seconds later, she laughed even louder.

On Friday, Dec. 7, The Boys & Girls Club of Westminster hosted the annual Holiday party in their own space for the first time after moving into the newly renovated space on E. Main Street in Westminster.

The evening’s activities included crafts and activities, live music, dinner catered by Olive Garden and a visit from Santa.

Eva enjoyed the craft stations that she rotated through with her classmates.

“I like making snowflakes and I like making crafts,” she said as she held her creation up to peer through the cutouts in the center.

McDaniel College has been the partner of the Boys & Girls Club for eight years with the event, and it is a volunteer opportunity open to the whole student body Erin Benevento, Associate Director of Community Engagement in the Center for Experience and Opportunity Office at McDaniel College said.

Eight student groups and a few individual volunteers planned the crafts and activities for months. Often, students who volunteered for the Holiday Party would later pursue internships with the Boys & Girls Club in future semesters, she said.

“The Boys & Girls Club is a phenomenal partner to the college in so many ways,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be able to give back.”


Jacobs, who works at the Boys & Girls Club and was volunteering with her sisters in Phi Sigma Sigma, said her experience was helpful for planning the holiday event activities.

“I already had a pretty good sense of the kids,” she said. Prior to the event, they focused on organization and planning, but the night of, positivity was one of the most important skills for working with kids, she said.

McDaniel College professor and local musician Henry Reiff brought a repertoire of holiday tunes, and while he sang and played guitar, kids took turns singing along into a microphone.

For the classic, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” he asked students missing their front teeth to take the lead on vocals. During “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Liam Mueller, of Friendship Valley, danced along while classmates shouted out the song’s comic refrains.

Austin Mahon, of Friendship Valley had a solo on “Frosty the Snowman.” Later, while he was snipping snowflakes out of construction paper, he said that the diner was one of his favorite parts of the event.

“We don’t usually have major events like this,” he said.


Emma Hughes of Friendship Valley Elementary, said the food was her favorite part of the evening as she carefully glued blue sequins to a train-shaped ornament that she had colored yellow.

Michael Ogorzalek, a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, said they had been planning the evening event for a while.

“We want to try to give back to the community,” he said. Though the craft room looked like a mess after everything was done, “it’s all in good faith and cheer.”

Olive Garden donated the dinner for the members which included spaghetti, breadsticks and salad.

Each child was gifted a Boys & Girls Club sweatshirt with funds raised by McDaniel College community members and the Bonds Meadow Rotary.