Blessing of the Fleet

In October, our club assists the Optimists of Seventh District with their Blessing of the Fleet event. This Southern Maryland tradition celebrates the rich history of watermen in our county. The event takes place on St. Clement’s Island which is the site of the landing of the first English colonists to visit Maryland in 1634. People come from all over Southern Maryland to St. Clement’s Museum for this two day festival which includes free ferry rides to the island for tours of the Blackistone Lighthouse and, of course, the Blessing by Clergy of the boats that fish our waters. In addition to the ceremony, there is a parade, live music, delicious food and drink prepared by the Optimists and a fireworks show all on the waterfront of the Potomac River. Money raised goes toward funding scholarships.

Shop With A Cop

Shop With A Cop is a joint venture between the Optimist Clubs of St. Mary’s County and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7. This program works to help needy children of the area in two different ways:


Each child is allotted money to spend however they choose, whether it be for themselves, family members or household items. Each child is transported to Wal-Mart by law enforcement personnel and then to the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds where they are awaited by Optimist members who are ready to serve a huge breakfast, wrap their gifts, and entertain them with a puppet show.

Back To School

Each child is allotted money to spend on items that are related to going back to school. This is more strictly monitored because it is for the child to get school related items only, it could be school supplies, clothes or a new pair of shoes. Like the Christmas Shop With A Cop each child is transported to Wal-Mart by law enforcement personnel. However, this time they are transported to a specified place where they are awaited by Optimist members they will be fed hamburgers, hot dogs, or pizza along with enjoying some afternoon entertainment, possibly a magician or maybe even a moon bounce.

At the end of the event the excited children are returned home by the police officers.

Christmas time and going back to school can be hard for underprivileged kids. Mom and Dad work their hardest just to put food on the table – often times they don’t have enough to give their children the Christmas they deserve. Shop with a Cop gives kids a chance to have a Christmas they will never forget. The kids are paired with a police officer who takes them shopping for Christmas presents and items for going back to school. The event allows kids to have up close, personal time with people they really look up to. Many times we forget that the daily work of law enforcement professionals doesn’t afford them the opportunity to feel like they really made a difference in someone’s lives. Shop with a Cop allows them to truly feel like they’ve made an impact in the lives of our most precious resources – our kids.

Project Graduation

This program is funded by the States Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Maryland State Police, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Patuxent River NAS, Patuxent River Department of Defense Police, local rescue squads, fire departments and several Optimist Clubs. The Division assists with the planning and coordination of graduation night events. Graduates traditionally plan Project Graduation festivities and all graduates and guests commit to remaining alcohol and chemical-free for the evening. The graduates and their guests are transported via bus from their home school to the festivities. All attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy a night of wonderful fellowship with classmates, great food, bowling, swimming, dancing, softball, basketball, games, volleyball, and other fun activities, movies and ice cream – all free of charge!

Christmas In April

Christmas In April * St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Inc. is a local chapter of Rebuilding Together, a national volunteer organization that, in partnership with the community, rehabilitates the homes of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, so that they may live in warmth, safety, and independence. We also provide help through work on community projects in St. Mary’s County.

In the past 22 years, Christmas in April, St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Inc. volunteers have repaired over 631 homes; 14 community nonprofit facilities have received help with repairs; 35,900 people have shared their time and talents; and have made free home repairs worth more than $5.2 million to improve the living conditions of the low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners in St. Mary’s County.

Youth Appreciation

The traditional Youth Appreciation for the Lexington Park-Saint Maries Optimist Club has been attending a Blue Crabs game at Regency stadium. Our club had reserved space in the picnic area at the Regency Stadium where families are invited to come and enjoy an evening of a good fun ball game, food, and the children receive wrist bands for the play area and we enjoy fireworks in the evening, for a nominal fee.

Cost: To help the Club offset expenses a nominal fee is being charged as follows: Kids (17 and under) $5, and Adults $10, OPTIMIST MEMBERS FREE along with the Scouts (Troop and Pack 793) that we sponsor that are attending. As always should this be a problem contact the chairman for options.

This coming year we may look at different ideas such as putting on a large picnic for the Youth and Optimist to enjoy a afternoon of outside games and fun.

St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival

St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival is an Annual Event in St. Mary’s County. It is mainly for oyster lovers, but is a fun family time for all. The St. Mary’s County fairgrounds near Leonardtown transform to nirvana. Oysters served up raw, scalded, grilled on the barbie, on bread, on the half shell, stewed, nude, cooked in savory sauces, in salads, even in desserts, just about every way imaginable and then some. They’re here for the eating and enjoying. The National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest®, held both days of the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival, features the fastest men and women shuckers representing ten states and the fastest local tidewater shuckers competing for cash prizes totaling $1,800. Winners from previous years have competed in the International Oyster Festival in Gallway Ireland. Contestants for the shucking contest come from across the country. Usually they have won a shucking competition from whatever region or area of the country in which they live. For example the West Coast shucking champ comes from Washington state. Other champs represent the states Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana and Connecticut.

The Lexington Park-Saint Maries Optimist Club provides the Scaled Oysters and Raw Oysters along with selling quarts and pints of oysters that are packaged so they can be taken home and fixed later.