NDMV tutors provide students with assistance on their schoolwork and develop an academic plan for each of them, following up regularly on their report cards and other signposts of academic progress. Volunteers also help facilitate involvement in extracurricular activities by providing transportation to sporting events and encouraging enrollment in school clubs. Furthermore, NDMV strives to engage parents and friends in students' academic life, encouraging them to take an active interest in the young people's progress. Through the program's efforts, students who received assistance from NDMV reported improved attitudes toward school and schoolwork, and 62% of students who received aid for one year showed an improvement in school attendance when compared to the previous year.
Attracting more than 170,000 art enthusiasts to its events in 2011, the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival showcases original work from hundreds of artisans showcasing everything from handcrafted pottery, sculpture, and metalwork to jewelry, fashion, décor, and photography. Audiences can witness art being made live during educational demonstrations as artisans sculpt clay, whittle wood, forge metals, and imbue baskets with the power of speech. Hungry crafters can also sniff out specialty food items to sample or purchase while dancing across the sprawling venue to the tunes of live music.
The Trawler Fest Boat Show is an in-water showcase of more than 60 cruising motorboats and also includes a shoreside expo, seminars (at extra cost), and demonstrations of boating equipment and procedures. Baltimore is the last stop on this five-port event, which kicked off back in January in Ft. Lauderdale, hitting San Diego, Anacortes (WA), and Warwick (RI) along the way. Produced by PassageMaker Magazine, Trawler Fest is a playground for boat lubbers and abandoned fish-people looking for a way back home. This deal gives you access to afternoon activities, including interactive demonstrations on topics such as life-raft inflation, man-overboard recovery, and engine-room inspections. Nautical newbies can learn a thing or two from PassageMaker Magazine and Ocean Voyager, two publications included in your complimentary welcome kit, along with a reusable tote bag and an assortment of yachty schwag, which is far less abominable than its homophonic cousin, yeti schwag.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon's Chicago-based piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
Ultrazone Laser Tag might be familiar to fans of The Real World, whose cast members—fed up with drama—blew off steam by ducking colorful laser beams in the sprawling multilevel arena's fog-filled maze. There's enough space for 45 vest-clad players to face off at one time, and plasma monitors let the next wave watch the game as they eagerly await their turn. The expansive recreation center also hosts sleepover parties that grant exclusive overnight use of the laser-tag facilities, the plasma-screen theater, and the room that's inexplicably full of doorknobs. Outside the arena, an arcade keeps synapses ablaze with video games, air hockey, and golf simulators, supplemented with slices of Papa John's pizza from the cafe.
At Maryland Fencing Club, it's all fencing, all the time. The club's name graces a 2,000-square-foot facility dedicated to the centuries-old Olympic sport, complete with three electric strips and one for private lessons. A seven-member coaching staff—each a member of USA Fencing and certified by the US Fencing Coaches' Association—runs the show, grooming young novices and seasoned swordsmen alike to become the next vanguards of the sport.
Students enjoy focused attention as they learn the nuances of footwork and sword handling, particularly during their most formative years. Elementary-school classes are held at an 8:1 student-teacher ratio, while that number moves to 14:1 for high-school and adult classes. The coaches encourage vigorous competition, but they never do so at the expense of fun, reminding pupils to thoroughly enjoy their company and time on the piste.
On the tree-lined shores of Sue Creek, the adventurous can ride stand-up paddleboards to explore the creek's calm waters. From the Baltimore Boating Center, the seafaring staff pairs its clients on boards suited to their skill levels. Paddlers launch from a newly constructed floating pier, meaning no one will have to mount their boards from a low-flying helicopter.