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Youth-And Dinner- Served During Game SupperBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, March 04, 2006
North Adams - A decades-old Adams Outdoorsmen For Youth tradition of hosting a game supper lured over 300 people to the Fraternal Order of Eagles hall on March 4 for a buffet that featured tantalizing foods such as moose burritos, elk cordon blue, pheasant divan, and shoya rabbit.
|Diners move down the line with plates heaping at a March 4 Adams Outdoorsmen For Youth game supper.|
Chili was also served, and a long table laden with treats including pies made "from scratch" by Cheshire resident Helen Randall found itself surrounded by the many folks who managed to save room for dessert.
The meal was billed as "all you can eat," and in some cases, that proved to be quite a bit.
Cindy Bishop tackled salad duty.
The supper is the lone fundraiser for the non-profit organization, said club President Wayne Tinney. The group was founded about 30 years ago with a goal of supporting youth sports and outdoor activities.
The Adams Outdoorsmen for Youth host youth events including an ice-fishing derby [cancelled this year because of the mild winter], a late spring fishing derby that recognizes every participant, and offers a scholarship to Berkshire region high school seniors. The organization also offers financial support to youth interested in attending various sports camps and also supports youth enrollment at state-sponsored conservation camp.
"The number of kids who've been helped by the club is into the thousands," Tinney said during an interview at the supper.
James "Jimmy" Carpenter of Adams is a club founder and served as its' first president. Carpenter attended the supper and spoke about its' growth and its' continued commitment to area youth. The original founding contingent included Wayne Lillie, Paul Comeau, Joseph LaBonte, Robert Luczynski, and Joseph DeLorey, Carpenter recalled. While the club leadership changes and evolves with time, the youth focus does not, he said.
"These guys have all carried it through," Carpenter said.
There are many very supportive, active club members whose children have become adults, Tinney noted.
"A lot of the people who are involved have children that are older now, but we always thought it was important to continue this organization and keep kids involved," Tinney said.
Debby Kopala of Adams was among the volunteers selling raffle tickets during the supper. Her children benefited from the club's support, she said.
"I've been in the club since my kids were little, and my baby is 24," she said. "The best part is doing things for the kids. You should see the fishing derby, that is really awesome."
The supper takes enormous planning and coordination, including the food collection, preparation, cooking and serving. Local hunters donate the various game meats to the event, and club members often drive around and pick up the donated meat. Preparations begin the day before the supper, and the cooking usually takes a day and a half, or even longer.
Mike King prepped fish for the meal.
The serving has become an exercise in precision; huge serving platters, trays, and other containers are assembled onto long, cloth-covered tables. A group of volunteer servers are provided with protective gloves and serving utensils and are assigned to serve specific foods; diners are called to the serving line by table number.
Cooking crew members are in almost constant motion as they remove empty platters and trays and carry fresh food supplies to the serving table. For the past several years, the cooking crew has been led by Michael Kruszyna.
A Chinese auction and raffles held during the supper generate additional revenue for the club. All auction and raffle items are donated by Berkshire region businesses and merchants and their contributions are very generous and greatly appreciated, said Tinney.
"Super raffle" prizes were a kayak, a Remington 870/2 GA. Slug gun with V rib barrel, an Ace's trophy striped bass charter excursion for four, a hand-made quilt, a six-hour fishing charter trip for four, an insect [skeeter] vacuum, a Ruger 10-22 rifle, and $100 worth of state lottery "scratch" tickets.
Additional raffles were also part of the evening's events.
A prize committee led by club Vice-president Michael Cutler, Secretary Mary Beth Dickinson, and member Jody Goff handle acquiring and picking up donated items, Tinney said.
"A lot of guys go around and pick all the stuff up," he said. "It's a group effort and it's quite a lot of work."
Julie Wojieck, Karen Kelly, and Debby Kopala staffed a raffle-ticket table.
Among the youth volunteers at the supper were members of Boy Scout Troop 38. Christopher Gleason and Corey Revett have helped with serving and clean-up for several years, they said.
"My job is helping with serving and clean-up," said Revett. "We get to eat and the food is great."
"I've been helping out with this since I started the Boy Scouts," Gleason said. "It's a good event, and the food is good."
"They do a superb job and we're always happy to have them," said Tinney.
The morning of the supper is a busy one for Randall. She rises at about 4:30 a.m. to begin making pies, she said. She prepared two cream pies, two banana pies, two chocolate pies, two apple pies, and two pumpkin pies for the supper.
Randall said that she enjoys being active.
"I like to do things," she said. "I make desserts for my church and I help out with blood drives in Adams and Cheshire. I volunteered at the blood drive they had in North Adams just before Thanksgiving. I like helping out."
Helen Randall and a selection of her popular, home-baked pies.
Club membership is currently closed but will be opened to new members beginning July 1, Tinney said. There are presently 130 "family members," and club meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the St. Stanislaus Kostka Hall.
Club Treasurer Bruce Lillie was among those who comprised the cooking crew. Supper preparations make two demands; hard work and a sense of humor, he said.
"We work pretty hard and we pick on each other," he said. "Getting ready for this is really a lot of fun and we have some great recipes that go way back. It's a good bunch doing this and everything works out pretty well."
Super Raffle Winners:
Remington Slug Gun: Dan Paciorek
Ace's Striped Bass Charter for Four: Maury Lawson
Kayak: Peter Critelli
Handmade Quilt: Mark Therrien Sr.
Six-Hour Fishing Charter For Four: Dan Miraglia
"Skeeter" Vacuum: Deb Gigliotti
Ruger Rifle: Mark Therrien Jr.
$100 Worth of State Lottery Tickets": Steve Critelli
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.