Bank executives lend time, efforts to give urban children taste of rural life Youths treated to Farm Museum visit CARROLL COUNTY

August 06, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Swapping their corporate garb for sport shirts and lime-green baseball hats, 41 bank executives treated 61 children from the Baltimore YWCA day camp to a day trip yesterday to the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.

By the time they reached Westminster, they were friends. Bank managers walked hand-in-hand with city children as they tried to select the shadiest picnic spots.

"It beats adding up numbers," said Drew Hostetter, corporate controller for MNC Financial, as he shared a picnic table with several new friends.

For the executives, it was a break in the monotony and the kickoff of the MNC Financial/Maryland National Bank annual United Way campaign.

For the children, it was a chance to visit a farm, pet some animals and wear out some corporate executives.

"They're all city kids," said Paula Brooks, director of communications for the YWCA. "For them to get an outing like this means a lot."

Bank managers who usually spend their days attending meetings and writing memos found themselves buying penny candy and pulling children out of apple trees.

The children, most of them 4 to 8 years old, attend day camp at the YWCA of Greater Baltimore on Franklin Street. Some of them are homeless and live temporarily in YWCA shelters.

Yesterday, they were treated to box lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before they set off with their chaperons to explore the Farm Museum.

They toured the 1880s farmhouse, looked skeptically at its chamber pots and learned that farm children in the 1880s also liked to play with dolls, puzzles and blocks.

Frank Bramble, MNC Financial's chief executive officer, had cousins Krystal DeHaney, 7, and Jonel Clarke, 8, in tow.

Mr. Bramble, who came up with the idea for the event, said it gave executives a chance to show support for the United Way in a way that goes beyond making a financial donation.

"It probably makes everybody feel a little bit better about what we do," he said.

After looking around the museum for a while, Jonel decided she liked the farm's peacocks best. Krystal said the best part was the gazebo in the rose, herb and flower garden.

They both felt sorry for the farm's horse, which had flies on it. They looked for, but did not find, dinosaurs.

Several of the children stopped to watch blacksmith John Charles Shook twist a piece of red-hot metal into a beautifully curved hook. Others watched a quilter and a tinsmith at work.

At the wishing well, where the money collected pays for feeding the farm animals, one small boy asked his chaperon for a coin to toss. His wish, he said, was, "I want to take care of my mother."

Museum volunteers kept the general store open past its regular closing time of 1 p.m., which allowed many of the children time to talk their chaperons into buying sticks of penny candy, flags and train whistles.

The train whistles may have been a mistake. "We've got an hour's ride home with those whistles," said Hugh Newton, MNC Financial executive vice president in charge of real estate lending.

He said the executives started the day with a tour of the YWCA's facilities, including the shelter where babies and children from families in crisis live until they can return home.

Mr. Newton said the outing was a much better way of getting the workers to think about the United Way than the usual approach of showing everyone a film.

Compared to the jobs of the YWCA workers, he said, "what we do is pretty easy."

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