The Christmas spirit could be felt around the Watertown Boys & Girls Club on Tuesday, with children wearing festive hats, making Christmas crafts and visiting Santa Claus.
The annual Youth Member Holiday Party was a big hit with the members of the club. Nearly 200 showed up to take part in the various activities.
“I expected 150 members but there are more than that. I would say 175,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Renee Gaudette.
In the gym, students could make Christmas cards to send to troops overseas with the help of Operation American Soldier. Others made wreaths using different colored pieces of paper and another group could make a frame for their favorite picture.
Those not in the mood for crafts could play various games around the gym.
These activities kept the children’s mind of the big draw for the day – getting a gift. A few dozen children at a time sat down in the game room waiting for their turn to go up an get their gift.
The gifts came from a variety of sources, Gaudette said. The Arsenal Project, Century 21 Commonwealth, Fit-Z’s Bar & Grill and The Mews all donated gifts and other things.
Kids gave the gift givers an idea of what they would want.
“There are tags that the members fill out, so it will say ‘9-year-old boy, soccer ball,'” Gaudette said.
Paul DerBoghosian, president of the Boys & Girls board of directors, walked around visiting with members, and welcomed visitors to the club.
One visitor was Nicholas Fandetti, whose children go to the club. He and his family supports the Boys & Girls Club with donations.
“It is a great resource,” Fandetti said. “Kids just enjoy spending time with their friends and (the club) has a lot of great programs.”
The club has some new programs being added this winter along with some old favorites, Gaudette said.
Students in grades 3-6 can play in the indoor soccer league, and teens can try the drop-in futsal league.
“It is like indoor soccer, with some different rules,” Gaudette said. “They can play there is not out of bounds and balls can be played off the wall. And it uses a smaller ball.”
Longtime favorite Biddy Basketball is back for second and third graders.