The Rio Grande Council of the Boy Scouts of America will be holding a fundraising event next week to help support the local scouting programs.
The Friends of Scouting Annual Giving Campaign is scheduled for Thursday, Sep. 10 at 6:30 p.m. It will be held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Normally we have these events with sit-down dinners, but because of COVID-19 we had to change it to a virtual ask event,” Field Director Ernest Espinoza said. “On the 10th, we have Dr. Teviet Creighton from UTRGV. He’s going to talk about the CARA (Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy) Program and a little bit about space and technology.”
Espinoza said that the fundraiser is important because it helps to support the programs provided for the scouts. He said that there are currently an estimated 1,500 scouts in the Rio Grande Valley, including girls.
“We just rebuilt Camp Perry,” Espinoza said. “We put millions of dollars into that camp with a new air-conditioned dining hall, a new gymnasium. All these things are new, but no one can go over there right now until this (pandemic) passes.
“Right now we’re hurting because we built this beautiful campsite so many, many thousands of kids could enjoy it, but they can’t enjoy it right now.”
Espinoza said that many packs and troops have continued to meet, but they are meeting virtually through Zoom. He said they will continue to do so until local orders allow for groups larger than 10 people to congregate.
Last year, the scouts were able to raise over $80,000. This year, the goal is to raise $40,000. As of the publication of this story, $1,396.11 had been raised.
Thursday’s fundraiser is the first of three for as many Valley districts. The Sep. 10 fundraiser is designated for the Arrowhead District, which makes up the McAllen and Edinburg area.
The next fundraiser is scheduled for Sep. 14 for the Rio Bravo District, which is based in the Weslaco area, and the last fundraiser is scheduled for Sep. 23 for the Tip-o-Texas District, which is based in the Brownsville area.
Adrian Arriaga is chairman for the Arrowhead District. He said that the scouts play a large role in keeping kids out of gangs.
“It gets the kids going in the right direction. That’s why I decided that I wanted to get involved,” said Arriaga, who was an Eagle Scout himself. “My commitment is to make sure that we have all the resources available to help kids get involved in scouting.”
“Please support us,” Espinoza added. “We would like to get as many members as possible into the scouting program because scouting is a very important program for kids, especially in the Valley. It helps them form leadership skills, it helps them learn ethical values and moral values, it helps them to become better students.”
Anyone interested in supporting the local scouting program can text ARROW to 71777. For more information about joining the Boy Scouts of America, visit www.beascout.org.