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It was just confirmation of what Norine Rowe says she already knew: The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program run out of the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging and Human Services is worth every penny that it takes to keep the program going.

The state office on service and volunteerism announced last week that just two counties in Maryland — St. Mary’s and Allegany — received a continuation of their RSVP funding from the federal government. The grants are two out of 206 RSVP awards provided to programs across the country.

Due to a change instituted several years ago, 2013 was the first year in the local program’s 30-year history where administrators had to compete for the funding.

“It reaffirms that we have an excellent program,” said Rowe, who is the RSVP program manager in St. Mary’s. “This program is thriving.”

There are approximately 350 volunteers participating in the St. Mary’s program, where the only requirement is that participants are at least 55 years old. In 2012, those volunteers put in more than 29,000 hours work at more than 30 different county agencies and nonprofits throughout St. Mary’s. They were drivers for Meals on Wheels, receptionists at senior activity centers, docents at local museums, administrators at charities like ACTS and Helping Hands.

The work donated by RSVP volunteers is valued at approximately $660,000, Rowe said.

The funding coming to the local program from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, will total $39,260, Rowe said. The rest of the program’s $67,412 budget comes from county funds.

“We have had strong support from the county commissioners,” Rowe said.

But those are just the numbers. The real value of RSVP is that it mobilizes a valuable volunteer workforce in the community, Rowe said. At the same time, the program benefits those volunteers by connecting them to the community and other volunteers. “They love what they do,” Rowe said when recounting the volunteers’ comments about the program. “It gives them such a sense of gratitude ... and shows they still have a lot to offer.”

To learn more about getting involved with RSVP, call Rowe at 301-737-5670, ext. 1653.

BECA scholarship application deadline nears

Applications for the 2013 Common Scholarship Application program administered through the Business, Education and Community Alliance Inc. are due Friday, March 15, postmarked or delivered to BECA, P.O. Box 153, Leonardtown, MD 20650. The application is available for download at Forty-one different scholarships are featured in the 2013 Common Scholarship Application.

The following six items are required: signed BECA application; Student Aid Report from FAFSA; SAT and/or ACT score report; two letters of recommendation; official transcript; and personal statement/essay. Some scholarships require additional essay work. For more information, call 240-257-BECA, email or visit

Benefit assists BECA scholarships

To help fund 2013 scholarships, BECA is hosting its fifth annual scholarship benefit on Friday, March 15, at Bowles Farms in Clements. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for silent auction viewing; dinner by Tina Bowles will be at 6:30 p.m. The program at 7:30 p.m. includes the presentation of the Community Educators Award to Sal and Myra Raspa. There will be a live auction at 8 p.m. by Dan Raley and A.J. Bussler. Music will be at 9 p.m. by GeeZer. The event is following a barn dance theme. Dress is country casual and there will be a best-dressed contest.

Cost is $75 per couple or $40 per person; school employees receive $5 discount. There will be a cash bar. Make checks payable to BECA, P.O. Box 153, Leonardtown, MD 20650; or buy online at RSVP to Wendy Schaller at or 240-298-4409 or Mark Smith at or 240-257-BECA. All proceeds provide 2013 scholarships for St. Mary’s County students.

King to speak at DAR meeting

The Major William Thomas DAR will meet March 16 at 11 a.m. at the Brome Howard Inn at St. Mary’s City. Julia King will give a talk on colonial architecture. Lunch will be served for $17. If anyone is interested in attending or joining the Daughters of the American Revolution, contact Shelly Johnson at 401-867-4674 or Barbara Seeman at 301-769-4853.

Free middle school safe boating day camps offered

The Sailing Center Chesapeake in conjunction with St. Mary’s College of Maryland has openings in three, free, week-long safe boating camps sponsored by a Spirit of America grant from the U.S. Coast Guard. Camp dates with openings are July 8 to July 12, July 22 to 26 and Aug. 5 to 9. The camps are held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Students who have completed sixth, seventh or eighth grade in 2013 are eligible. Campers must pass a swimming test on the first day of camp.

Instruction includes Maryland Boating Safety Education Certification, classroom and waterfront activities that will instruct campers how to run a motor boat, rig and operate a sailboat, row, paddle a canoe and kayak and recover from a capsized boat. The camp is located at the Sailing Center Chesapeake at Tall Timbers Marina in Tall Timbers. For directions, more information and registration materials, visit the SCC website at or call Brenda Clark at 240-298-2659 or Guy Barbato at 240-538-4577.

Sample Solomons’ food

Just in time to celebrate spring, restaurants in the Solomons Town Center, which includes Solomons and Dowell, are offering a Taste of Solomons 2013 for selected food and beverages on Saturday, March 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Solomons Business Association, with proceeds to benefit the association’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

Tickets are $4 each and may be purchased at any of the participating businesses, and each ticket can be exchanged for a sample of selected food or beverages. As an added feature this year, most restaurants will participate in a gift certificate prize program. Some of the tickets at each location will be designated as prize winners, and the lucky purchaser will be awarded a gift certificate for future use at the respective restaurant.

For information on the Taste of Solomons, call 410-326-9900. For a map of participating restaurants and their offerings, visit

Essay contest announced for third-graders

The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors is holding its annual essay contest. The essay theme is “What My Home Means To Me.” The contest is open to third-grade students in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. Two winners from each county will be chosen and will receive a certificate and monetary prize. The essay submission deadline is Friday, March 29. Students wishing to participate can get contest rules through their school or teacher.

Breast cancer survivor in running for inspiration contest

Linda Sapienza, a breast cancer survivor residing in St. Mary’s County, is one of three finalists in American Breast Care’s Face of Inspiration Contest.

Introduced two years ago in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Inspiration Form is a breast prosthesis that features a special imprint of an inspirational message on its back layer. A breast prosthesis is used in place of a natural breast after a woman undergoes a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

Sapienza entered the contest saying that her inspiration came from this quote: “When the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly.”

As a finalist in the contest, Sapienza now has an opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip for her and a guest to Atlanta. This two-day trip will consist of a tour of the American Breast Care home office, a spa visit and a glam photoshoot with personal stylists from hair, makeup and wardrobe. The owner of the winning quote will also be the next Face of Inspiration and their inspirational quote will be featured on the back of the breast prosthesis.

Voting ends March 31. To vote for Sapienza and her quote, visit, and follow contest links.

Mulch sale benefits school

A mulch sale to benefit Mother Catherine Spalding School will be held Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $4 per 3-cubic-foot bag of hardwood shredded mulch or $168 per pallet (42 bags). Customers can place a pre-sale order or buy on site. Mother Catherine Spalding School is located at 38833 Chaptico Road in Mechanicsville. For more information, contact D.J. Buckler at 301-481-1096 or the school at 301-884-3165.

Winners announced from SoMD Sudoku Championship

The third annual SoMD Sudoku Championship to benefit the St. John’s Scholarship Fund was held March 2 at St. John’s School in Hollywood. The top three winners at the expert level were Aisley Gash as the tournament champion and $100 winner, Bruce Goodley second and Hannah Dantrassy third. At the advanced level, the winners were David Delozier, Jane Ichniowski and Larry Tierney. At the intermediate level, the top three winners were Jennifer Collier, Ayrin Torgesen and Jill Warring. At the novice level, the winners were Kaylee Torgesen, Sandra Guy and Anthony Lee. Additional results are posted on the school website. The puzzles used at this year’s tournament are also posted on the school website. The 2014 tournament is scheduled for March.

House and garden tour to focus on Anne Arundel, Annapolis sites

The annual Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage will be held Saturday, April 20. A Maryland tradition for 76 years, the pilgrimage offers visitors the opportunity to explore some of Maryland’s most fascinating and noteworthy properties.

The 2013 tour includes private homes, gardens, farms, churches and historic sites in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis. The tour cost is $30 when purchased in advance. Lunches will be available. Tickets and information is available at or by calling 410-821-6933.

Proceeds will benefit the Charles Carroll House and Gardens in downtown Annapolis. This urban, waterfront landscape and Georgian mansion is the birthplace of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.

College to host duathlon

On Saturday, March 30, starting at 8 a.m., the Bike Shop and cross country team of St. Mary’s College of Maryland will host the first “Du the Point” duathlon.

The duathlon will include two segments: running and bicycling. The running route is a 5K through Historic St. Mary’s City, followed by a 35K bike ride to Point Lookout State Park and back. Participants can opt to run and ride or run or ride. This event is open to the public.

Online registration is open through March 28 at Registration proceeds will benefit St. Mary’s County-Christmas in April. For more information, contact Nathan Smith at

Boating safety course offered

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Solomons Flotilla 23-2, will present a two-session Maryland Boating Safety Education course on April 13 and 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a lunch break at noon, at the Lexington Park library in the Longfellow Room.

Graduates of this course will receive the Maryland Boater Safety Education certificate. This certificate must be carried by any person born after July 1, 1972, while that person operates a registered vessel in Maryland waters.

Students must attend both sessions and pass a final examination in order to obtain the certificate. Topics covered will include introduction to boating terms, boating equipment, boat trailering, boat handling underway, navigation aids, boating emergencies, Maryland boating laws, jet ski operation, water skiing regulations, hunting and fishing.

To preregister, contact Gary Smith at 410-326-8377 or Space is limited.

Registration open for senior choral camp

Adults age 55 and older are invited to attend the Encore Summer Choral Institute from June 18 to 22 at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in Historic St. Mary’s City, sponsored by Encore Creativity for Older Adults.

The institute, now in its sixth year, will attract adult students from all over the country to learn a new art or continue to perfect lifelong skills. All levels of vocal and performance experience are welcome.

Encore Creativity for Older Adults offers summer performing arts residential camps for older adults who want to learn, sing and perform. Last year’s St. Mary’s Encore Chorale Institute attracted more than 75 participants from around the country as well as St. Mary’s and Calvert county commuters.

The Encore Choral Institute at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is led by Encore founder and conductor Jeanne Kelly and Krystal Rickard McCoy, music director of St. Maries Musica and the Southern Maryland Encore Chorale. Singers have a full day starting with stretch/yoga class and followed by a full choral rehearsal. After lunch, singers will choose from a vocal technique class, a choral sectional or free time. An afternoon choral rehearsal will follow. Repertoire will include spirituals, oratorio selections, songs from the American song book and Broadway. Singers may sit for rehearsals and performance.

The program will culminate in a grand finale performance on Saturday, June 22, at 1:30 p.m. for friends, family and the public at St. Mary’s Hall.

Participant program fees include all classes, materials, accommodations on site and meals. Commuter students are welcome and fees adjusted accordingly. Non-participating spouses or guests are also welcome and their fees include shared accommodations and meals with the program participants. Institute participants need not be current Encore singers. The deadline to register is May 17.

For more information, call Encore at 301-261-5747 or email Program details and registration forms are available online at

Free posters offered during Earth Day weekend

The North End Gallery in Leonardtown will be giving away free Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust posters that feature a reproduction of a painting by Carolyn Egeli on the weekend of April 19 to 21. The poster giveaway is part of the Leonardtown Business Association’s “Steppin Out in Leonardtown” spring campaign. The posters will be available, one per person, on Earth Day weekend only, as supplies last.

Chesapeake Orchestra seeks community support

Volunteers from the Chesapeake Orchestra will be reaching out to fans and past sponsors in the next few weeks to raise $200,000 to make the River Concerts happen this season.

The Chesapeake Orchestra and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the host of the concerts, have agreed to divide fundraising responsibilities for the 2013 series, which is set to run each Friday evening, from June 21 through July 26.

The orchestra is responsibile for paying for the entire music program, including musicians and guest artists. Income from the gala and the traditional “bucket brigade” carried by Arts Alliance members seeking cash donations at the concerts will be used by the college to offset the staging and infrastructure costs.

With the free, weekly, outdoor concerts, the Chesapeake Orchestra has entertained families and provided a venue where businesses can connect for 14 years. A concert can draw as many as 5,000 listeners on a typical night.

The Chesapeake Orchestra is composed of professional musicians from the Washington/Baltimore area. Principal players are members of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s music faculty, as is the conductor, Jeffrey Silberschlag. The orchestral membership also includes select students.

Now, the Chesapeake Orchestra is seeking the support of individuals and businesses in the community to ensure a summer of free jazz, blues, big band and classical music concerts will continue.

Donations can be made at or mailed to Chesapeake Orchestra, P.O. Box 1227, Leonardtown, MD 20650.