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Sheriff's Ball benefits youth

Dancing for the integrity of today's youth is what the eighth annual Sheriff's Ball is all about.

The dance is from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. today at the Egypt Shrine Temple, 4050 Dana Shores Drive. Its proceeds benefit the Sheriff's Junior Deputies and Explorer Post 238.

Sheriff's Junior Deputies are fifth-graders who sign a special agreement when their classes are visited by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies. The agreement is a type of credo for the children to use in their lives.

"It's reinforcement to the kids to do the right thing," said Lorena Bitetto, administrative aide to Sheriff Cal Henderson.

The Explorers are a division of the Boy Scouts, ages 14 to 20. They learn about police work hands-on by working directly with the officers.

"They basically learn about being an adult and how to get along in the adult world," Bitetto said. "We've had several Explorers go on to be law enforcement officers."

This year's ball will have door prizes and music by New Baytown Brass.

"You'd have to see it (the band) to believe it," said John Leslie, president of the Sheriff's Sertoma Club. "I've seen them (the band) one year with the dance floor full of people doing the polka. And, 10 minutes later, people were doing the Shout from Animal House."

After all that dancing, participants can fill up at the midnight breakfast buffet.

Organizers found that everyone was going out to eat at the end of the night, so they came up with the idea of a late-night breakfast served right at the dance, Leslie said.

Tickets for the ball are $35 for couples and $17.50 for singles. The dance attire will be semiformal.

For information and tickets, call the Crime Prevention Bureau at 247-8115.

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