Modesto pingpong tourney will benefit Boys & Girls Club of Stanislaus

Thirty-two teams stand ready, with paddles and little white balls, to raise money for a youth group Friday night.

The Battle of the Paddles pingpong tournament will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Stanislaus County. It’s a grown-up event at Modesto Centre Plaza – complete with a bar and hors d’oeuvres – on behalf of a group whose mission is young people.

Teams representing businesses have reserved all of the tournament slots, but supporters can pay $100 to watch the action. The event also will feature darts, blackjack, a “Jeopardy”-style contest and an auction of club members’ artwork.

Organizer Laura Ward, a club board member, said she was looking for something different than the typical fundraiser. “The Boys & Girls Club is about fun, about learning,” she said. “We’re trying to make it a fun event.”

The club was established last year at Sylvan and C. F. Brown elementary schools in Modesto and expanded this year to Somerset Middle School. More than 400 children and teens are expected to take part this school year.

The club offers after-school help with academics, along with sports, arts, character development and other activities. It also has a summer program.

It is part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which serves nearly 4 million young people at about 4,000 sites across the nation and on overseas military bases.