When neighbors Joann Francavilla and Jackie Harrell moved recently to the St. John's area of Ellicott City, they found it difficult to meet other women. So the two of them decided to try forming a women's group, modeled after the Junior Women's Club of Westfield, N.J.
What began with two members in early September has already grown to 45 by late October. The group now has a name -- Junior Women's Club of St. John's Community Association -- and has planned fund-raisers, couples and family activities and has made charitable commitments.
The group is working with the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks to build a tot lot, create a baby-sitting cooperative, and has already established two pre-school play groups.
There is even a Bridge Club in the planning stages. Whew!
We had no idea," says Ms. Harrell, "that this would grow so fast," pointing out that longtime residents seem as interested and are as welcome as recent arrivals.
Next week, the group invites you to join them for "Vendor Night" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library at 9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City.
Bring your holiday gift list and shop the collections of seven vendors, including Discovery Toys, Priscilla Peddler, Longaberger Baskets, and others.
The profits realized by the Junior Women will help fund a holiday project -- giving Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas celebration to a needy family.
Fall arts classes are in full swing. Second sessions of some falcourses allow you to snag a class if you hustle a bit.
Diane Marta begins teaching her second section of "Drawing for Adults" tomorrow afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; her second "Watercolor for Adults" tomorrow evening from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. or Wednesday morning from 9:30 p.m. to noon.
Ms. Marta's beginning "Watercolor for Adults" class begins at the Howard County Arts Council's new satellite, Chaselle Learning Center in Columbia. The class starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 3.
Howard County Arts Council is not usually the place to plan a shopping trip, but members hope you join them for a holiday bus trip to the Big Apple.
The tour bus will leave Howard County at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, and travel to New York City, stopping at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Drama Bookshop, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Actor's Heritage, and One Shubert Alley.
Each stop will last an hour. Dinner is on your own, and return to Howard County is at midnight.
If you'd rather take a day trip than shop, hit New York's art museums or take in a matinee on Broadway. The choice is yours, as you may rejoin the group at any of the pick-up spots throughout the day.
Cost to HCCA members will be $55, and to nonmembers, $60.
The charge includes all transportation costs, a gourmet boxed lunch provided by Absolutely Perfect Caterers, and travel snacks.
Trip registration closes on Nov. 12, and the bus is already halfull.
For information and a registration form, call HCCA at (410) 313-ARTS.
Elkridge's Cathy Pryor reports that the "Christmas at the Station" crafts bazaar, held at the Elkridge Fire Station, still has some tables to rent.
The rent for 6-foot tables is $12; for 8-foot tables, $15.
For information, or to register for a table, call Jill Orth at (410) 379-1096.
A follow-up on HoCoGo, whose members play the ancient Eastern strategy game of "Go" and who needed meeting space for the winter: The Rev. Mike Russell, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, graciously extended the use of his parish hall for the group's Tuesday night meetings.
Thanks, Mike, for your quick and generous response.
However, the group chose to meet in Dayton, due to the number of Go players who commute to the meeting from nearby Montgomery County.
They have moved from the barn to the basement of a member's home.
If you are interested in learning more, call Evan at (301) 854-3844 or (410) 531-3181.
American Field Service Club of Mount Hebron High School, which sponsors international exchange students, kicks off its annual citrus sale next month.
The club is selling navel oranges for $10.50 per two-fifths bushel or $18 per four-fifths bushel.
Pink grapefruit costs $9 per two-fifths bushel or $15.50 per four-fifths bushel.
I recommend this fruit; my family has thrived on it for years.
Proceeds of the fruit sale help fund club activities. Funds go to help Mount Hebron students travel abroad in the summer, as Meghan Murphy did when she went to Finland and Katie Jeffries did when she spent the summer in Belgium and Holland.
In addition, short-term school exchanges are planned to include all club members. This year, members hope to spend a week in Longmont, Colo., and entertain a visit from Longmont students in Ellicott City.
Fruit orders are due on Friday, Nov. 12.
To order, send your order and a check to Henry Jeffries at 4226 Brittany Circle, Ellicott City, MD 21043.
Make out your check to Mt. Hebron AFS. Include your name, address and telephone number.
Pick up your fruit between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 20.
For more information, call 465-3651.
Are you looking for something fun to do with the kids on thesrainy weekend days?
I was looking last weekend, so I took my 10-year old son Sam and his buddy Tim Horan of Columbia to check out Rounding Third Sports Center, at 7397 Washington Boulevard in Elkridge.
We were pleased with what we found.
There are six indoor batting cages with machines that can be set to a desired speed. Nearby is an arcade room with popular video games. And a pro shop sells team shirts, batting gloves, and baseball gloves.
Altogether, it's a paradise for kids of any age.
And Manager Ron Gray says that he and owners Jim Harris and Rob Kempa mean to keep it that way.
The emphasis is on fun for the family.
Rounding Third is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
For directions or more information, call 796-0800.