Rainstorm no match for community determined to support local Boy Scouts
FORT KENT, Maine — The weather in northern Maine did not cooperate for a bit on Thursday afternoon but community members still showed up to raise funds for local youngsters during the 2022 Fort Kent Lions Club and Boy Scout Troop 189 Chicken Barbecue.
The Fort Kent Lions Club has supported Troop 189 for nearly 60 years. Part of this includes cooking a wildly popular annual chicken barbecue meal to raise funds for the Scouts, a tradition that has taken place for at least half a century.
This year’s barbecue sold 999 meals — all via drive-thru service at Riverside Park — of a grilled half-chicken with barbecue sauce, corn on the cob, baked potato, coleslaw, strawberry shortcake, buttered roll and a beverage.
Lions Club members volunteer to do the bulk of the cooking by handling the chicken and corn, a task that begins eight hours before the food is even served, and is cooked on grills and in heavy pots outdoors at Riverside Park.
Scouts and their family members sell tickets for the fundraiser, prep the other fixings, and package and serve each meal to customers in vehicles at takeout lanes that often extend for several blocks.
Sudden bursts of heavy rain throughout the afternoon did not make things easier for this year’s fundraiser.
“It took a little more effort to get and keep our charcoal lighted, but overall it did not change the day much,” Lions Club committee chairperson Zach Voisine said. “The rain was definitely not what we wanted but it all came together just fine.”
Troop 189 committee chairperson Lee Theriault said that although the rainstorm caused barbecue customer traffic to back up for a while in the afternoon, all turned out well.
Funds from the annual barbecue go toward purchasing and maintaining equipment for the Scouts, as well as providing rechartering fees and support outdoor adventures.
“It gives a lot of kids opportunities they might not otherwise be able to have. It teaches them civic responsibility, provides them with leadership skills and helps them to become better all-around citizens and individuals,” Theriault said.