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FOR THE KIDS : Boy Scouts to Kick Off Annual Popcorn Sale : They will offer microwave and light versions in addition to caramel corn with nuts to raise funds for activities.

September 30, 1993|JANE HULSE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Everybody knows the Girl Scouts come around once a year peddling those famous cookies. What about the Boy Scouts and their popcorn sale? Popcorn? Boy Scouts?

Starting Saturday, Ventura County Boy Scouts kickoff their second annual "Popcorn Fever" sale. At a "Pop-Off" celebration at Scout headquarters in Camarillo, the Scouts will get revved up by having a popcorn pie-eating contest and bearding their faces with the stuff.

Presumably psyched to sell, they will start knocking on doors offering microwave popcorn (including a light version with less fat and salt), a three-pound bucket of popping corn and caramel corn with nuts. The latter comes in a holiday decorated tin for $12.

While Girl Scouts might have a tough time defending the health merits of mint cookies, the Boy Scouts shouldn't have that problem with popcorn. In its unadulterated form, the stuff is cholesterol-free and relatively low in calories compared to, say, a handful of those cookies.

But calories aside, the caramel corn was the hottest seller when Korey Gilliland of Simi Valley went door-to-door last year. Korey, 15, should have a pretty good feel for the market. He sold $787 worth of popcorn to become the top seller in the Ventura County Council, which represents 6,000 boys.

"Some people would look at the back of the package and see if it was healthy," he said. "And they also liked the light popcorn."

Korey's efforts won him a $75 gift certificate at Sport Chalet. The same prize is being offered this year, and Korey will be out there knocking on doors again. The selling continues until Oct. 18, with delivery expected Nov. 20 to 27.

Last year the popcorn, called Trail's End, sold well throughout the county, even though the product didn't have the instant recognition that Girl Scout cookies have, according to Nancy Hales, the council's popcorn chairman.

The Ventura County Council made $17,000 after paying almost $20,000 in commissions to the Scouts and their units, Hales said. This year she expects to make more, with about 1,200 boys participating--nearly double from last year.

"This will continue and within the next few years we hope it will be 'Girl Scout cookies' and 'Boy Scout popcorn,' " Hales said.

Why sell popcorn? "Facts are facts--we need the money," she said. "We're not trying to raise future salesmen of the year." The council was a victim of funding cutbacks by United Way of Ventura County.

The profits from the popcorn sales help pay for Scout programs and activities. The boys can earn one "Scout Buck" for every $20 worth of popcorn sold. Then they spend the "bucks" at the Scout store or for camp fees.

Selling popcorn isn't a nationwide tradition like the Girl Scouts and their cookies, according to national Boy Scout spokesman Richard Walker. Some Scout organizations do it and some don't. "A lot of councils are starting to do it and having a lot of success," he said.

For information, call 482-8938.

Freebie

The Children's Festival of the Arts will be held Saturday at the Thousand Oaks Community Center, 2525 N. Moorpark Road.

This is a chance for kids 12 and under to do all kinds of artsy things--from making wreaths to wood sculpting. They can even paint a dead fish--literally--and then imprint fish onto a paper.

The festival, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., is being put on by the Conejo Recreation and Park District and the Conejo Valley chapter of the National Charity League. Entertainment includes dancers from Thousand Oaks' sister city in Russia.

Organizers expect a crowd of 3,000 kids and parents. They advise wearing old clothes because this will be a messy event. For more information, call 492-2461.

CPR

The Thousand Oaks Teen Center is offering two CPR training and certification classes. The first will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, 1375 E. Janss Road. The second will be Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $20 plus $1 for a book. For information, call 494-5156.

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