“Buckets and Beats: The Silver Spring Block Party” event engaged community members through a variety of activities
On Friday, Sept. 22, Montgomery County Councilmember Kate Stewart and the Silver Spring Regional Services Office hosted “Buckets and Beats: The Silver Spring Block Party” in Veterans Plaza from 2-7 p.m. The event brought together over a dozen local organizations and agencies to help connect and engage youth community members.
Montgomery County Councilmember Kate Stewart set up the event so that young people could have the opportunity to socialize and have fun with friends. “My office wanted to partner with our regional services department in the county to create a space for young people to come out, enjoy themselves, connect to some of the community partners we have and also our county departments,” Stewart said.
The plaza featured many activities ranging from a pop-up skatepark to informational booths, but the main attraction was a basketball tournament. Teams, split across middle and high school divisions, were made up of three players who played mini-games under the main pavilion. Students could either pre-register their team online or walk in during the event to participate.
Blair sophomores Bodhi Bird, Eli Chen-Goldberg, and Jean Drivet took part in the tournament and made it to the final round for the high school division. The group originally planned to spend the afternoon walking around downtown, but signed up for the tournament after an event volunteer encouraged them to play. “We were like ‘Oh, let’s join. We’ll see what happens,’” Drivet said.
Beyond the basketball tournaments, organizations and agencies like Community Bridges, Montgomery County Volunteer Center, CCI Health Services, Montgomery County Recreation, Leveling the Playing Field, and EveryMind set up tables across the plaza to share information and opportunities with the community. Faith McNeill, Volunteer Center Manager for the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, found the event to be a great platform to spread awareness, distribute flyers, and interest students. “[This event] is geared towards young people in this area and the volunteer center partners really closely with MCPS and helping students get those SSL hours. We really want to make sure that students are aware of this,” McNeill said.
Students of all interests could participate in the event through the raffle drawings, free food and snacks, skateboard park, live community mural, and half-court shot contest. Mickeltha Bobo, a sophomore at Northwood High School, learned about the block party from her school’s advertisements and enjoyed walking around the informational booths. “I got to learn a lot of stuff about different events and different organizations,” Bobo said.
Stewart hopes that events like “Buckets and Beats” can take place in the future to connect with more youth in the community. “When you do events like this, it truly is about collaboration and people coming together and that's my favorite part. That's why I do my job,” Stewart says.
Tejusvi Vijay. Hello! My name is Teju (she/her) and I'm a staff writer. Outside of SCO, I enjoy playing board games, watching Disney movies, and telling puns. More »