For Scouts, greenery leads to greenbacks


November 27, 2001|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE RAIN OVER the weekend didn't dampen the spirit of Boy Scout Troop 719 as Scouts, parents and leaders set up their annual Christmas tree lot in the parking lot at Carrolltown Center.

Everyone worked together unloading trees from two trucks and setting them up for display under strings of Christmas lights. Scoutmaster Wayne Stuckey and assistant Scoutmaster Tim Dulany were there, with parents and about 20 Scouts.

Tree sales began Saturday and will continue through Dec. 17.

This season marks the 34th year the Eldersburg troop has sold Christmas trees as a fund-raiser. Since 1968, this has been the troop's only annual fund-raiser, members said.

"Many people have passed through this troop over the years and still come back to buy a tree," said John Wigginton, a former Scoutmaster. "Some even come by that no longer live in the area."

Troop 719, sponsored by Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Don Herche, a former member whose sons Job, 11, and Jesse, 14, are Scouts, recalled the troop's first Christmas tree sale in 1968: He said the state donated 80 trees, and the Scouts had to cut them.

"There weren't any other tree vendors out here back then," he said.

At that time, about 2,000 people lived in the area, and the Scouts sold the trees in front of the old Wesley Chapel.

As the population has grown, so have tree sales. After Carrolltown Center was completed, the troop began selling trees there in 1978.

Jim Moore, a father with two sons in the troop, coordinates the purchase of the Christmas trees, beginning in July. He orders almost all the trees from Carroll County tree farms, except the Fraser firs, which are from North Carolina.

Last year, the troop sold 608 trees -Douglas firs, Scotch pines, and Fraser firs. Moore has ordered 600 trees this year and can order more if needed.

The tree lot is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Scouts, working in three-hour shifts, will assist shoppers.

Noncommercial market

St. Joseph's Catholic Community Church will present an Alternative Christmas Market from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The market counters the commercialism of Christmas by having people give money and time to charities instead of buying gifts. Shoppers take home cards to give to family members or friends stating that a donation has been made in their name.

Baked goods will be available for sale and will benefit Springfield Hospital Center. Music will be performed by the church's teen band.

A Children's Corner will be set up for children to make crafts, and St. Nicholas will visit.

Information: 410-795-7838.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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