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25 days of volunteering in Columbus




It’s easy to get wrapped up—literally— in our own affairs and those of our loved ones during the holiday season, but it’s more important now than ever to think outside of yourself your circle.

During this time of giving, consider giving some of your time to those less fortunate in our community.

Here are some events (courtesy of Columbus Gives Back) this month to get out and give back.

Deck the Halls with Faith Mission

December 1 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm @Faith Mission Community Kitchen

Our volunteers will be wrapping gifts for clients and decorating the building for the holidays.

Special Olympics Ohio – State Swim Meet

December 1- 3 @Ohio State University

Volunteers are needed for Special Olympics Ohio’s State Swim Meet. Come support athletes as they compete! Volunteer will escort athletes, keep time, and assist with other tasks.

Package Meals for Meals on Wheels at LifeCare Alliance

December 3 from 5:30 – 7:30pm @LifeCafe Alliance

Volunteers will be working on the meal packaging assembly line for older adults and chronically ill persons who are unable to provide meals for themselves.

Blankets & Brews with My Very Own Blanket

December 4 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm @My Very Own Blanket

Volunteers will be heading to the My Very Own Blanket headquarters to sip on drinks while you make a blanket for a child in foster care. This event is BYOB.

Help Registers Shoppers for Firefighters for Kids

December 5 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm @Central Community House

Vlunteers will check their IDs, log them into a computer website and print out a receipt with a time for them to visit a warehouse to “shop” for toys for each child.

Science Night for the YMCA Van Buren Shelter

December 5 from 6:15 pm – 8:15 pm @Van Buren Shelter

Volunteers at a STEM-themed activity night for the youth at the YMCA Van Buren Shelter.

Volunteer for St. Jude Kids Radiothon

Volunteers will be responsible for answering the phones and securing partners in hope which is a monthly $20.00 donation to the hospital.

Volunteer for Project: See Kids Dream

December 8 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm @Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H center

Volunteers will be making a blanket as a gift that will be donated to those in our community who could use a sentiment of warmth and kindness from a caring family.


Habitat for Humanity ReStore NORTH

December 8 from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm @Habitat Restore – NORTH

This is an indoor opportunity, where your valuable time will be used to help sort, organize, and display building materials, furniture, and household fixtures donated to ReStore.

Volunteer for the Santa Speedo Dash

This event raises tens of thousands of dollars to help those with diabetes throughout the central Ohio community. Central Ohio Diabetes Association will need help in different areas of the race to make it successful!

Volunteer at Ganthers Place Lighting of the Luminaries

December 8 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm @Ganthers Place

Volunteers will help with a variety of tasks to ensure the event runs smooth and is enjoyable for everyone.

Serve Lunch at YWCA Family Center

December 9 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm @YWCA Family Center

. Volunteers are needed to set up and serve lunch for the families staying at the Family Center.

Shop Assistant for Broad Street Food Pantry

December 13 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm @Broad Street Food Pantry

Volunteers will be assisting clients as they shop the choice pantry – help them select from available items, enforcing limits as necessary, offering suggestions for recipes and ways to use new foods.

Game Night with YMCA Supportive Housing

December 13 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm @YMCA of Central Ohio

This event is one where volunteers are able to have hands on interactions with those in need and have fun doing it!

Habitat for Humanity Build Day

December 15 from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm @TBD US (Google Map)

Tasks will vary and our helpful site leads will teach you everything you need to know! Come dressed ready to work.

Build Furniture with a Heart

December 15 from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm @Furniture with a Heart Thrift Store

Activities include any or all of cleaning donations, organizing donations, sorting donations, assembling furniture, and more.

Bake Cookies at Ronald McDonald House

December 18 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm @Ronald McDonald House

Join Columbus Gives Back as we head to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio to bake cookies for the families staying there.

Winter Wonderland Holiday Giveaway with 614 Youth Prevention Foundation Inc.

December 21- 22 @Eastside Vineyard Church

Please contact Jynette for specific information about the volunteer positions available this year and the times volunteers are needed.

General volunteering opportunities courtesy of Columbus Moms Blog:

Bethlehem on Broad

Broad Street UMC hosts a family assistance program that provides 1,200 food baskets during a mid-December Christmas Party.

Broad Street United Methodist Church, 501 East Broad Street

Phone: (614) 221-4571


Salvation Army Red Kettle

Bell Ringers needed Monday – Saturdays until December 24 (10:00am – 8:00pm)

80 Locations in Central Ohio

Contact: Debbie Luffy, Kettle Coordinator

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (614) 403-0404

Ohio Nature Education

Become Santa’s little helper by wrapping purchases at Half Price Books in Columbus from December 10-24.

Donations benefit Ohio Nature Education.

Contact: Manon VanSchoyck

Email: [email protected]

Homeless Families Foundation Holiday Store

This program allows parents to select free gifts for their children.

Volunteers are needed to help pick-up and/or sort donations, organize and restock store, personal shoppers, and gift wrappers.

Contact: Geneviev

Email: [email protected]

Seeds of Caring

Spread cheer by creating holiday cards and caroling for seniors during four scheduled events this month.

Limited space available.


Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center

Contact the Shelter to become a dog walker, groomer, customer service representative, adoption counselor, media ambassadors, or photography volunteer.

Phone: (614) 525-7282
Email: [email protected]

Pets without Parents

(614) 267- 7297

Any day from 9am- 8pm with miscellaneous opportunities including cleaning cages, walking animals, greeting potential adopters, and feeding the animals.

Bonus event: Not Your Mama’s Craft Market

Sunday, December 2 from 5pm- 9pm @Schiller Park

Bring your kiddos to Schiller Park during Village Lights to make holiday cards to be donated to hospitals and nursing homes in central Ohio!

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The Muffins vintage “base ball” team pays homage to a traditional pastime

J.R. McMillan



When Aaron Seddon first stepped up to the plate nearly a decade ago for the Ohio Village Muffins, he was actually stepping back in time. It wasn’t the same game he’d played in his youth. The rules and uniforms were unfamiliar, and pushing 30 as a walk-on wasn’t out of the ordinary. Even the spelling was different. This was 1860 vintage “base ball.”

No that’s not a typo—and no, the whole team didn’t forget their gloves either.

“When we’re talking to spectators about the differences in the game, they’re immediately concerned that we aren’t wearing gloves. That kind of protective gear didn’t enter the game until the 1870s,” explained Seddon. “We get a lot of our recruits from people who come to matches, who are intrigued by what we’re doing. We’re a close-knit group, even o the field. We’re a team, but we’re also a family.”

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Long before the days of hot dogs and dugouts, what we now know as baseball was played in fields and empty lots from Cooperstown to Hoboken. Historians still dispute the exact origin story of the sport, but generally agree that it was the inevitable intermingling of Union and Confederate troops that transformed the game into a national pastime.

But Columbus has its own history, mixed with a little folklore. Before the war, there were exactly zero baseball teams in the capital city, but shortly after its end, there were six. Players learned the sport from fellow soldiers from New York and New Jersey who brought bats and balls with them to pass the time between battles. Even the hand signals still used today for balls, strikes, “safe” and “out” arguably owe credit to the Ohio School for the Deaf in Clintonville, put into play a decade later to help their hearing-impaired athletes compete as equals.

Which brings us back to the matter of the Muffins. When the Ohio History Connection started their vintage baseball program in 1981, there was no prototype, only a rulebook. Recruiting most of that first team from their employees, they couldn’t help having some self-deprecating fun at their future expense. In the early days of baseball, your best players were referred to as the “first nine” followed by the “second nine.” Everyone left on the bench were called the “muffins.” A “mu ” was period vernacular for an error, back before they were counted. The name was so inside baseball, it was perfect.

“The umpire’s role isn’t really to arbitrate the game. He’s there to settle disputes between the players they can’t adjudicate themselves,” Seddon noted. “And the pitcher’s role is to facilitate hitting. In modern baseball, your pitcher is your best defensive player, to prevent the ball from getting into play. The game we play is before it became professional. Everyone was an amateur back then.”

Fans will also notice a suspicious absence of balls and strikes. Newspapers from the era report some batters taking 50 or more pitches waiting for just the right one, because if a hit was caught on the first bounce, it still counted as an out.

“Probably the biggest difference between modern baseball and the game we play is—if an opponent makes a really good play—everyone cheers,” Seddon revealed. “We’re playing a competitive game, we’re obviously both out there to win the match. But there’s much more camaraderie between the teams.”


Speaking of the other team, the Ohio History Connection has more than one vintage baseball club. Much as the rise of men’s baseball inspired impromptu games among women well before Vassar College started the first formal women’s program in 1866, the Diamonds played their first match in 1994. Despite their parallel history and popularity, many of the early women’s vintage baseball teams have since consolidated or faded away, making matches more challenging.

Like the Muffins, the Diamonds also represent the game as it was played in 1860, which for women of the era was strictly recreational. The rules were the same, but even playing in back fields among themselves, the ladies often caused quite a social stir with their attire.

“We wear period-accurate dresses made from patterns of actual garments considered either a camp dress or a work dress. Someone who first starts out may play in a long skirt and a white blouse,” explained Jackie Forquer, who has played for the Diamonds for more than two decades. “We don’t play as many games as the men, but the time commitment is also less. We play festivals and exhibitions games. Our players who come from a softball background see this as another way to share their love of the game.”

Both the Muffins and Diamonds are technically historical “interpreters” who interact with spectators much as players would have in 1860, sometimes to exacting detail. Forquer, who plays first base, is sometimes the first ambassador for vintage baseball folks may meet, either through school programs or at the beginning of a game, with Diamonds matches often preceding the Muffins. Never breaking character, she’ll politely ask the umpire to seek the approval of the audience before women roll up or remove their sleeves before beginning play. Showing so much skin used to be scandalous.

Every organization has a historian, but vintage baseball happens to have an actual one. Dr. Jim Tootle came to the original version of the game later in life than most, but has still managed to outlast many of his peers. Having retired as assistant dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences at Ohio State, his passion for preservation is as infectious as his laugh.

“I’ve gotten to play in four major league parks from coast to coast. I thought my playing days were winding down when I stumbled upon this, and I’ve probably played 600 to 700 vintage games,” Tootle recalled. “It’s been a wonderful experience to represent the Ohio History Connection on our home field at The Ohio Village, but also to travel the state and the country.”

Tootle actually has written the book on vintage baseball—two in fact, not counting a third still used by prospective vintage baseball teams across the country trying to get their start.

“It’s like Civil War reenacting in a way because we give great attention to accuracy—interpreting the rules, our uniforms, and our equipment. And yet, the moment the first pitch is thrown, it’s not a reenactment anymore. It’s a real game, and we don’t know who is going to win,” Tootle chided. “I have to laugh watching ESPN anytime there’s a barehanded catch. They go nuts and show it three or four times. I feel like saying, ‘Come out to a vintage baseball game, every catch is a barehanded catch. Gloves weren’t even invented yet.’

For a complete schedule of games, including the 2019 Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival featuring 30 teams from across the country, visit

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(614)-360: Mystifying scenes from within Otherworld

Mike Thomas



As avid 614NOW readers already know, Otherworld is an incredible immersive art space on Columbus’ east side that allows visitors the opportunity to step outside of the bounds of normal reality.

If you still haven’t checked out Otherworld in person, we hope this sampling of some of the incredible 360 views found within will kickstart your curiosity.


Needless to say, these images pale in comparison to the real thing. Visit Otherworld for yourself, and discover all of the wonder and mystery that awaits. Until then, view our 360 gallery below to kick-start your curiosity.

Pro-tip: hit the “expand” button on the gallery’s top-right corner for a fullscreen view of the images.

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Brand new festival to bring adventure to your summer




A brand new festival is running, jumping, and climbing into Columbus later this summer. Scioto Fest will be a four-day adventure celebrating all things Scioto Audubon September 12- 15.

This dog- and kid-friendly event will include a Yappy Hour for big kids and their pups, and outdoor moving screenings for the little kids. Live music, vendors, and giveaways are to be enjoyed by all!


From climbing, to camping, to slacklining, Scioto Fest is sure to get your adrenaline flowing.

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