Scouts Hold Christmas Tree Recycling Event to Raise Funds for Organization

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Local Boy Scout Troop 603 held a Christmas tree recycling fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 8 at the front gate of the Clearwood Community, garnering about $400.

The proceeds of the event will help the scouts fund their yearly activities and adventures, like campouts and merit-badge workshops. During the workshops, community members teach the boys how to do things that range from shooting rifles to public speaking.

Marie Vilsack, the fundraising committee chair for troop 603, said the event saw a great turnout of participating scouts.

“We served hot cocoa and coffee and passed out candy canes,” Vilsack said. “We had five Boy Scouts and two future Cub Scouts that helped unload the trees. All the trees that we picked up were donated to a local goat farm.”

The boys were able to raise the $400 in a mere four hours, as they unloaded trees from people’s cars to then load them up onto the scouts’ truck and trailer.

Vilsack said the scouts did a great job remembering their manners as they interacted with the public.

“They were very helpful and very considerate,” she said. “They would say their ‘please and thank yous’ and were very polite about it.”

The scouts completed their work in shifts, as some of them stood by the roadway and held signs to elicit participation in the event. Others spent their time loading and unloading the trees.

“They did an absolutely fantastic job,” Vilsack said. “Like I said, we had the five scouts and every single one of them was willing to jump and work. … They were counting down the minutes until it was their turn to do the next one. It was really good. I couldn’t be prouder of these boys.”

Upon seeing the troop’s signs, some community members stopped and gave donations even though they didn’t provide the boys with any work.

The two future cub scouts were a couple of Vilsack’s kids, who are 5 and 8.

“They passed out candy canes, accepted donations and even helped unload the trees,” Vilsack said.

In all, the scouts collected 10 trees, enough to keep the boys busy and provide plenty for the goats.

Vilsack said the scouts did their best to stay warm.

“The weather wasn’t too bad,” she said. “It was cold, being winter and stuff, but we did have the sun peak out a little bit, so that was nice. They stayed busy.”

Some of those who donated stayed for a cup of coffee or cocoa as they enjoyed the day with the hard-working scouts.

“It was just something nice to add and offer to people who would want to donate,” Vilsack said.

The tree fundraiser isn’t the only way the scouts earn money each year.

There is usually a spring fundraiser of some kind, and the scouts will sell their trademark popcorn in late summer and early fall.

In addition to their activities and adventures, the scouts work to serve the community as best they can, Vilsack said. The most recent outreach program they worked on was an angel tree for the holidays, where the boys gathered Christmas gifts for those in need.

“We’ve got a lot of things we want to do to help the community and help these boys and give them the best future we can,” Vilsack said.

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