Carter Benkendorfer remembers the Boy Scouts of America Troop 3 barbecue fundraisers of his youth.
"It wasn't on this grand of a scale. I got my Eagle Scout award in 1979, and we used to have (the fundraiser) at Sokol Hall and cook about 950 chicken dinners at that time," Benkendorfer said. "(This year), we're probably close to 2,700 chickens."
Now the scoutmaster, Benkendorfer was one of the adults manning the barbecue pits while the 60 active scouts in the troop boxed the meals, dealt with customers and prepped the sides for the 49th annual fundraiser at First United Methodist Church on Shoreline Boulevard.
"It teaches them leadership and responsibility and being able to show up on time and do what they need to do," he said. "I'm the scoutmaster, but it's really a boy-led organization. This is what scouting is about. It's about having a good time."
Before the fundraiser started at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, more than 800 chicken plates had been bought and were ready for delivery or pickup. By noon, they set hundreds more on the pit for drive-up customers.
The money from the troop's sole annual fundraiser goes toward its various trips throughout the year, including the Boy Scout Jamboree and trips to the Philmont Scout Ranch, a 140,000-acre facility in New Mexico.
Cooking and serving barbecue for 49 years, Committee Chair Bruce Hamende said it's another landmark year for Troop 3: it's the 100th anniversary of their charter.
"There's not many troops that can say that, but we are consistently the oldest, longest running troop in Corpus," Hamende said. "The boys learn planning, organization, teamwork building, character. (The barbecue) is a small piece, but it helps with their development."
Braedon Breseler, an Eagle Scout who will be a Ray High School junior, said scouting is important because it teaches boys how to be men.
"It's a transformation between boyhood to manhood. It teaches all the correct manners and essentials you really look for in the modern day man, as well as the primitive man," Breseler said. "You're doing experiences that will last a lifetime."