Fundraiser brings in $38K for Boys & Girls Club |

Fundraiser brings in $38K for Boys & Girls Club

Bridget Manley

About $38,000 and counting.

On Monday, Boys & Girls Club of Craig staff members still were tallying up proceeds raised from Cowboy Christmas, the club’s annual fundraiser.

About 260 people attended the event Saturday at the club, which featured a dinner, dance, poker tournament and live and silent auctions. Together, they brought in an estimated $38,000, or 9 percent more than last year.

The figure, which doesn’t include expenses, still is “very tentative,” said Dana Duran, Boys & Girls Club executive director.

Still, Saturday’s proceeds and attendance gave her cause for celebration.

“It makes us really feel like what we are giving is of value to the community,” she said.

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At the event, attendees packed around tables for drinks and a dinner. The 13/40 Band, a local group and a Texas hold ’em tournament provided entertainment.

Numerous items were auctioned at the live auction, including sports tickets, golf rounds, autographed Broncos memorabilia, a quilt made by club members, a refrigerator, a hay ride and chili supper for 12, a llama pack trip, and three visits from Santa.

Some winners donated their items back to the club, and they were auctioned again.

Event organizers carved out time after the meal to recognize a business and individuals that, in their estimation, have bettered the community.

Youth of the year

An only child, Alejandra Ledesma, 17, knows what it’s like to come home to an empty house.

“I used to be the kid that came from school, went home and was just alone,” she said. “I had no one to talk to.”

She volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club for about a year before she began working there more than two years ago.

Her reason?

“I want to give them : something I never had,” she said.

Ledesma’s dedication was recognized Saturday when she was named Boys & Girls Club of Craig youth of the year.

“(Ledesma) never settles for less than excellence,” Duran said. “She pushes herself every day to make a difference for the club.

“That is really what it’s about – it’s about the kids.”

Volunteer of the year

Kandee Dilldine had to pause as she counted up all the organizations she volunteers with.

She leads a 4-H cake decorating club and Girl Scout Junior Troupe No. 300. She’s served on the Grand Olde West Days committee for three years and volunteers with Eagle Wings Christian School.

In between times, she volunteers at St. Michael Catholic Church and the Boys & Girls Club.

She serves the club, she said, because it offers children a positive after-school atmosphere.

“A lot of kids don’t have that always,” she said.

On top of volunteering, Dilldine also co-owns KS Kreations, a local craft store.

“To see her spirit of volunteerism, her willingness to give herself to the community and make it better made her an obvious choice for us,” Duran said.

Man/woman of the year

Like Dilldine, Craig residents Randy and Cindy Looper balance small business ownership with local volunteerism.

In addition to owning Elk Run Inn, the Loopers volunteer with Cub Scout Pack 166, which includes youths in first through fifth grades, and Cindy is a co-leader of Girl Scout Troupe No. 199.

The couple also donates time to local organizations. Randy acts as Craig Rotary Club treasurer, while Cindy is Moffat County Tourism Association board secretary.

Still, they didn’t just develop a desire to volunteer.

They inherited it.

“We were both raised by parents that were very involved in their community,” Cindy said.

For residents who haven’t yet gotten involved, Cindy hopes they will take the Loopers’ lead.

“We just use this as an opportunity to encourage others to get involved in whatever aspect (of the community) that interests them or interests their children,” she said.

Business of the year

The Boys & Girls Club of Craig chose Craig Daily Press as the recipient for its business of the year award.

Duran pointed to the newspaper’s communication of club information and its employees’ involvement in local organizations as qualifiers for the award.

“It’s truly an honor for the employees of the Craig Daily Press,” Publisher Bryce Jacobson said. “The employees : work very hard to support this community.

“I’m really pleased that we had this honor bestowed upon us.”