June 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 81 F

Axis of Evil Does Good for Box of Rain at Galway Bay!

The Box of Rain program was founded by Anne Harrington in 2003 and has been successful in meeting its mission to connect under-served youth to the Chesapeake Bay. Box of Rain is a free program offering summer activities such as boating, swimming, sailing, fishing and Bay ecology. During the winter, the Box of Rain participants learn the skills and experience the teamwork needed to build an entire boat. In 2018, the Box of Rain merged with Annapolis Maritime Museum’s (AMM) educational department. 

The same year as Box of Rain was established, Galway Bay Restaurant launched its popular weekly Trivia Night. There are teams who have been participating for many years, with a core group of teams competing regularly for first place. A team was pulled together by local resident Eric Peltosalo, who recruited three team members for the inaugural night of trivia. As Peltosalo noted, “I was one of the original group with Raul Nelson, Will Kostelecki and Dennis Robb. The Quizmaster insisted that our team have a name, so I came up with idea of calling us Axis of Evil.” This was a month after the second Iraq invasion and President Bush had resurrected this World War II term. The Axis of Evil trivia team hit the ground running and dominated early on. Willy Storey and Howard Shure soon joined the “Axis” and the permanent lineup was in place. Another core member, Valerie Tetrow, joined as the self-pronounced “super six” went on a winning streak. 

When asked if they ever considered changing their name, they said that none of the other teams had an issue with their team name, and from the start, groups competed to take a symbolic swing at the Axis. When the team suggested to the other weekly regulars that they were thinking of a name change, the near-universal response was, “No! There should always be an Axis of Evil to battle!” 

A variety of Axis of Evil team “uniforms” have been donned over the years, ranging from golf shirts to t-shirts to fezzes. One memorable night the team wore tin-foil hats as a spoof designed to keep the other teams from reading their minds. Lucky for the Box of Rain, the team takes the competition seriously, they just don’t take themselves too seriously. The closest they have to a motto is, “If we don’t win the quiz, we still win the party!” 

The Axis of Evil has a range of “experts.” One person knows WWII history. Another knows geography. Another is a generalist who claims to have read the dictionary as a child. As they combine their talents, they have built a remarkable track record for winning. According to Peltosalo, “Some of us have specialized knowledge, but each has a vast storehouse of useless general information. Pop Culture, the Bible, and Shakespeare are often our stumbling blocks!”  

Each Galway Bay Trivia team pays ten dollars to play each week, and the pot of money goes to the charity chosen by the winning team. The Axis of Evil has regularly selected the Box of Rain as its designated charity. In 20 years, the group has averaged more than one win per month. Most impressive is that the team has donated nearly $30,000 to the Box of Rain during its Tuesday night reign!  

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is grateful to the Axis of Evil for their support for the Box of Rain and the tangible impact the organization has had on the lives of so many Annapolis youth for many years. 

Named after the Grateful Dead song Box of Rain, the Box of Rain Program was founded to honor the memory of Lee Griffin, a dedicated sailor and Annapolis community member. Box of Rain’s mission is to connect under-resourced youth to the Chesapeake Bay and their maritime heritage through fun, educational, and immersive experiences in nature. This year-round program has served and continues to serve hundreds of youth, ages 8-14, at the Museum’s Park Campus and on field trips throughout Anne Arundel County. These programs are designed to improve youth’s self-esteem and develop essential life skills that lead to personal growth and positive contributions in the broader community. It serves our youth through three core programs: the Build-a-Boat Program, an Afterschool Program, and the Summer Maritime Program.

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