Ravens Groups Soar Into The Season With Optimism


The Baltimore Ravens are sporting a new look this year with Lamar Jackson in his first full year as quarterback, along with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown at wide receiver, Mark Ingram at running back, and safety Earl Thomas roaming around in the secondary.

Those changes create a buzz around the team, and that signals good news for Ravens Nests and Ravens Roosts around Pasadena.

Football fans and philanthropists, the groups do their best charity work when fans are invested in the team.

“We love helping people, we love interacting with other Roosts, we love being there for each other in good times and bad,” said Tracey Despeaux, who started Ravens Roost 65 with her husband, Darryl, in 2001. “It’s a great bunch of people who are making a difference, a little love at a time.”


Ravens Nest has 60 adult members, but some bring their families, so people involved in the group range from age 5 to 70. Their 2019 schedule includes a Halloween dance, mini golf fundraiser, cookouts and more.

“Being a part of Ravens Nest 18 provides us an opportunity to become active members of our community and has a lasting, positive impact on the community as a whole,” said Nichole Bentz, chairwoman of Nest 18. “Most of Ravens Nest 18 can say they are proud to be born and raised right here in Pasadena.”

The group meets monthly August through June around the Pasadena area for meetings, fundraising events, games or other community events. Meetings and events are open to the public, so people can join by attending an event. To learn more, email 18ravensnest@gmail.com.

“A lot has changed over the years, but one thing will always remain the same in Pasadena, and that is community togetherness,” Bentz said. “If we as a group continue to show support and compassion for our family, friends and community, we can only hope that the love and support for community togetherness will be passed down for generations to come to make Pasadena one of the greatest places to live.”


“It’s a good group of people who are interested in football and charity work,” said Dave Milam, who is serving as Nest 10 president for the fourth time since it was founded in 2002. “It’s a great thing. We have probably averaged $20,000 a year for almost 20 years.”

Each year, the Nest picks five charities to support. For the upcoming season, those charities are Anne Arundel County Special Olympics, the SPCA of Anne Arundel County, Maryland Patriot Guard, Hero Dogs, and Hope For All.

After congregating at Bill Bateman’s Bistro in Severna Park for the last several years, Ravens Nest 10 will now meet at the Greene Turtle in Pasadena on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:30pm.

The group is around 44 members. Anyone interested in joining can fill out a membership application at www.ravensnest10.com.


Formed in 2001, Roost 65 has long been an advocate for Maryland Special Olympics, Kami's Jammies, London’s Legacy and other nonprofits. This year, the group will make blankets and collect toiletries for Kami’s Jammies, hold a game night and more.

Roost 65 member Karen Stiltner started London’s Legacy after experiencing two unthinkable tragedies: losing her 2-month-old granddaughter, London Brielle, in 2016 and then Stiltner’s daughter, Amy, dying one year later. The group collects small toiletries for parents and grandparents who suddenly find themselves at the hospital with no comb, brush, toothbrush or deodorant.

Tracey Despeaux said supporting large charities is great, but sometimes, helping the smaller ones provides a feeling words cannot express.

“One of the most memorable moments for me was around Thanksgiving,” she said. “We were provided the name and address for an elderly person, living alone, who needed help with food. I remember her face clearly when she answered the door, the look of relief when she saw the bags of groceries. The thankfulness in her eyes as she teared up asking, ‘Is this all for me?’ I will never forget that moment, and [it] provides inspiration and motivation to keep the Roost moving forward.”

Roost 65 consists of 85 members who meet on the third Monday of each month at 7:30pm at Beefalo Bob’s. Prospective members are invited to attend a meeting to see if they are interested in joining.


While the Ravens are fresh off victories over the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, Ravens Roost 75 members are still euphoric after bringing home three trophies at the annual convention held by the Council of Ravens Roosts in Ocean City: second place in the crazy hat parade, first place in the mini golf tournament and first place in the Best of Theme float for the parade.

Now, they have their attention turned to charity. Roost 75 is working on its second ticket raffle for October. Tickets are $5. The group also plans to hold a trivia night and organize a Toys for Tots collection prior to Christmas.

Now around 50 members, Roost 75 congregates at the Brass Rail Pub on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm. The Roost is always accepting new members. To join, attend a meeting or email coachkeith9@gmail.com.

“We are super excited for the Ravens season and the new-look offense,” said Roost 75 president Keith Wiedenhoeft. “If Week 1 is any indication, this could be a very exciting season.”


Darryl Despeaux predicts the Ravens are going 12-4. Although that wouldn’t be much of a surprise after their hot start, his other prediction is bold.

“One other huge prediction will be the Ravens playing the Broncos in a playoff game, Lamar Jackson vs. Joe Flacco,” he said. “You couldn't write a better story than that one, with a storybook ending that I can't predict.”

Bentz is cautiously optimistic, saying, “We love to get together and watch the games, and hope that every year we would make it to Super Bowl. We are still a new team and hope our new quarterback will help take us there.”

Pasadena is also home to Ravens Roosts 121 and 129. For more information on Ravens Roosts, visit www.councilrr.com. To learn more about Ravens Nests, go to www.ravensnest10.com or www.ravensnest18.org.


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