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300 attend event that benefits Boys, Girls Scouts
About 300 people showed up at the Willows Elks Lodge on Wednesday, scouting for a good cause and a good dinner.
The Elks Lodge served its famous pork loin and rice to raise money for the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations.
Supporting Willows Scouts is the Willows Elks Lodge's signature charitable project, said scouting Chairman George Waters.
The event raises several thousand dollars each year to help finance programs, activities and camps.
"It looks like it is going to be $2,000 this year," Waters said Thursday, before the final tally.
Waters said the proceeds from the dinner will be split three ways between the Willows Cub Scouts, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, and presented to the organizations at a regular lodge meeting later in the year.
Members of all three organization helped at the Lodge on Wednesday.
The Girl Scouts also held a bake sale at the door to help raise money, and the Boy Scouts held a 50/50 raffle.
Local girls and boys join scouting organizations primarily through word of mouth among parents and members.
"I always wanted to be in Boy Scouts, but I didn't know where to go," said Ricardo Hernandez, 13, who has been in Troop 57 just over a year. "Then I learned about it from my cousin. It's a lot of fun. I love camping."
The Willows scouting organizations, especially the Cub Scouts, have grown in recent years, primarily due to more adult volunteers.
"Parents are very important to our organization," said Boy Scout Troop Leader Jim Shivley. "We're small, but strong."
Shively, who also runs the River Jim's Adventure Camp through Willows Intermediate School, said he does expect a fair amount of Cubs to advance next year.
Matthew Walter, 12, started as a Cub Scout four years ago, and said Boy Scouts is a wonderful way to learn skills that prepare you for life, while getting to enjoy the organization's traditional outdoor activities.
"It's amazing," Walter. "Nothing compares to the thrill of paddling a canoe for 10 miles."