WHEN CROFTON was established more than 35 years ago, its residents worked together to achieve Hamilton Crawford's dream of true community. The Crofton Civic Association was established, and Croftonians joined to bring to their new home such benefits as a new school and recreation programs.
As the town grew, several citizens felt an increasing need for another organization to help focus community involvement. David Espie remembers discussing with friends the value of affiliating with a national service organization as part of their work to improve the community and surrounding area.
In May 1976, the Kiwanis Club of Crofton was launched. Twenty-eight men formed the core group and established what has been Crofton's premier service organization ever since.
Espie notes that Kiwanis has always been nonpolitical, and has focused its energy on a variety of community activities. Each year, the club organizes a 10-K run, an auction and a golf tournament (the next one, by the way, is scheduled for May 21). The proceeds support local charitable needs.
Kiwanis sponsors service groups at Archbishop Spalding and Arundel high schools, and Crofton Middle School. The club's work on the annual Halloween parade has long been spearheaded by Paul Yates (Captain Pumpkin), who is a charter member of Kiwanis.
The list of activities undertaken by Kiwanians is staggering, from quarterly blood drives to roadside cleanups along Route 424, from bingo parties at Crofton Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center to fence renovation at Swann Park. But one thing has remained constant for 25 years: When the community has a need, Kiwanis is there.
Espie noted that some things have changed over the years. In the beginning, Kiwanis membership was limited to men - women were invited to join Ki-Wives. The first group of women joined as full members in 1987. Since then, the local group has elected a female president, Becky Daniel, who served from 1993 to 1994. Marnie Fallon, who is president-elect, will be the second.
Asked whether she had any particularly memorable experiences during her term as president, Daniel recounts a startling meeting at Crofton Country Club. The program included a visit by animals from a local petting zoo. Becky loves cats, and when she saw a beautiful tiger standing in the middle of the floor, she just had to touch it. Someone took a picture of Becky petting the big cat - and the amazed stares of the surrounding men. She laughs every time she sees that snapshot.
Over the years, Kiwanians have enjoyed a lot of laughter and the feeling of accomplishment for a job well done. On Friday, they will gather at Crofton Country Club for a 25th-anniversary dinner and reunion. More than 100 club members have registered for the event, and several alumni who have moved from the area will return to share memories.
Tickets for the event are $40, and may be ordered by calling Espie at 410-721-0246.
Back from Italy
The Crofton Ecumenical Choir returned last week from Verona, Italy, with a bronze cup and a lifetime's worth of memories. The cup was awarded to the choir for its performance in Verona's International Choral Festival and Competition, the first such event the group has entered.
The choir also sang in several other venues, receiving plaques of appreciation, and its members immersed themselves in the spirit of the city. One particularly cherished event was performing as the featured choir in a worship service at Verona's 700-year-old San Fermo Church (built atop even older structures, dating from 300 A.D.).
Area residents who were not able to join the Italian tour can enjoy the choir's music at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, at 1657 Crofton Parkway. The free performance will include musical selections from the trip.
The performance will follow the church's annual Mother's Day dinner, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Tickets for the dinner are $5 for adults or $2.50 for children, and may be ordered by calling Jean Fries at 410-721-2343. The reservation deadline is today.
Tea at Epiphany
Epiphany Episcopal Church in Odenton will celebrate Mother's Day weekend with an English Country Tea from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Tea lovers are invited to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the historic chapel and the delights of a traditional English event.
In addition to various teas, the repast will feature scones, sandwiches and trifle. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
Epiphany is at Morgan and Odenton roads in Odenton, near the MARC station. Tickets or information: Elva Cox, 410-674- 4144.