Oak Bay resident Chaim Weinerman

Oak Bay’s popcorn master ready for 2013

Oak Bay teen helping to kick off Scouts Canada’s fundraiser campaign

Scout Canada’s annual, month-long popcorn fundraiser is underway and Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers and Rovers around the region are busy knocking on doors, seeking the public’s support.

Those based at the 5th Garry Oak Scout Hall beside the police station in Oak Bay may want to compare notes with Chaim Weinerman. The Oak Bay Venturer scout sold more than $14,255 worth of corn last year, placing him second overall in Canada.

“You need quite a bit of patience, dedication and a lot of hard work to go door to door after school, and coming home for dinner and going back out again,” he said.

Weinerman, now 16, went door-knocking throughout Oak Bay after schools on weekdays, and ventured out for another seven hours on weekends. He sold to about 500 people, who bought popcorn-based items ranging from $10 for a one-kilogram bag of kernels, to $60 for a large tin of chocolate-covered popcorn and pretzels.

About 60 per cent of proceeds from the sales go back into the local scout club, with the rest going towards the actual popcorn costs and administration.

First place in the country last year went to an 18-year-old Albertan scout, who raised more than $16,000.

Weinerman has been involved with scouting since even before he was old enough to join – that’s age five for Beavers – as his parents were scout leaders. He has sold popcorn for the past six years, including $8,000 worth three years ago with the help of a friend and his sister.

In 2012, Weinerman went at it alone with the goal of raising some serious money for his local scout group.

“I am part of Sea Scouts, so we go sailing as well,” he said. “Our group is more hard up on cash than other groups. We had a larger boat donated to us by a family and it needed some repairs.”

The ambitious Mount Douglas secondary student is selling popcorn again, but he isn’t aiming to place in the top three again.

“I’m not sorta going all out like last year,” he said. “I think I did my duty for my group.”

Scout Popcorn is Scouts Canada’s official fundraiser, raising $9.5 million last year, with more than $5.8 million going back to local scouting groups.

Scouts who sell $2,500 or more of popcorn in one year receive six per cent of their total sales back in the form of a scholarship. So far, $74,160 has been provided to 86 Canadian youths and there are 827 youths currently enrolled in the scholarship program.

Scouts Canada is open to boys, girls and young adults aged five to 26. Twenty per cent of members nationwide are female.

More information is available online at scouts.ca or scoutpopcorn.ca, or call the 5th Garry Oak group at 250-388-6577.

reporter@vicnews.com