Judy Plymyer sits behind a “Charlestown Chase” board game. Plymyer and some friends worked together to develop the game to raise funds for needy neighbors. (Photo courtesy of Judy Plymyer)

Thanks to COVID-19, the last year and a half has been difficult for everyone. Lockdown mandates kept people isolated and unable to enjoy their regular activities like socializing with friends and neighbors or visiting with relatives. Well, Judy Plymyer didn’t let the pandemic stop her from staying busy and engaging her fellow Charlestown Senior Living residents in a stimulating activity. In March of 2020, Plymyer harnessed her artistic proclivities and creative skills to construct a board game to raise funds for Charlestown’s Benevolent Care Fund. Since the community’s Treasure Sales had to be canceled, Plymyer, and the neighbors she recruited to help, stepped up to replace lost funds with their board game project.

Plymyer had a long career as a Maryland attorney and administrative law judge, having worked in private practice, NSA, The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C., the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, and the Maryland Office of Administrative hearings. In retirement, she remains active by crafting, playing the piano, sewing, and quilting, in addition to serving in the recorder group of musicians at Charlestown. A self-described “army brat” who has lived all over the world and studied five languages (Japanese, Spanish, Latin, French and German), she knows how to live life to its fullest.

Plymyer says the board game called Charlestown Chase was designed from a map given out by Charlestown’s sales office to help folks get around the campus. Based on the rules from the popular game “Clue,” Plymyer says, “The object is to discover, by moving around the board and asking questions, which resident lost which personal object at which location on the board.” To add to the complexity of the game, she added “Oops! Blocks” and trivia cards. 

Once the game was conceptualized, Plymyer enlisted the help of friend and neighbor Gordon Piche’ to design the board and several neighbors pitched in to create the “lost personal objects,” or game pieces, including glasses, a wallet, cellphone, tote bag, keys, and jacket, etc. Another friend, a calligrapher, did the lettering on the board and label and several others helped cut out the cards. Once all the artwork was completed, the game board and cards were
 laminated at FedEx in Catonsville. The final step was to advertise the game on Charlestown Senior Living’s in-house TV station, on bulletin boards within buildings, and in the community’s newspaper. 

From July to December, 100 games were sold to residents and a few staff members as a fundraiser. Plymyer proudly reveals, “We asked for a minimum donation of $20. We covered our costs for printing, laminating, the card stock, dice, pawns, and spinners, and still made $2,400 for the Benevolent Care Fund.” Plymyer confesses that she occasionally still gets calls for a game, but it sold out.

Clearly Plymyer believes in putting her talents to good use as she also developed a board game as a fundraiser for the United Methodist Women’s group at her family’s church, Severna Park United Methodist. Since the church also had to cancel its annual garage sales because of COVID-19 restrictions, she got to work making “Sunday 5!” She explains the board of this game represents the church’s interior and grounds and, “the object is to enter the building and accomplish five tasks: worship, music, meeting, fellowship, and mission, and then to be the first to leave.” So far, the game has raised $700.

Judy Plymyer’s Baltimore Album quilt raised $1,800 for her church. (Photo courtesy Judy Plymyer)

Also, Plymyer made a “Baltimore Album” quilt the church auctioned off by email for $1,800. She followed in her mother’s and great-grandmother’s footsteps, as both were also avid quilters. “I quilt and sew all kinds of things, mostly to give away,” she said. 

If there’s a lesson to learn in 2021, maybe it’s that is there’s no better time than now to “love thy neighbor” and get involved in community service. Judy Plymyer is one of many Marylanders volunteering for the benefit of others.

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