Dr. Bill Atwood

Christmas tree sales benefit Scouts

Central to most homes decorated for Christmas is the family Christmas Tree. It has become a popular secular iconic image of the holiday season right along with Santa and the reindeer. Near to the exact center of our state is the little town of North Fork - home to Scout Troop 357 who will happily help you purchase the tree that will be the center of attention in your house.

Troop 357 has been selling the only freshly cut local trees for this area for more than 30 years. This Saturday the Scouts and their leaders will be at the North Fork Library for the start of the annual tree sale. At $2.75 per foot (with the first foot free) it’s a deal hard to beat, considering the leaders and the Scouts, along with some volunteers, went up into the forest and cut the trees themselves, hauled them down to North Fork themselves, loaded them onto and off of trailers themselves, and then will be there to collect your money after you have selected the perfect tree.

As I have commented in the past years, I love buying my trees from the Scouts. I find it wonderful to have a very fresh tree that will last through the Christmas season, but more so I love knowing that with the exception of what the U.S. Forest Service charges per tree for the privilege of cutting in the forest the rest of the amount goes to the North Fork Scouting program. By the way, don’t get mad at the Forest Service over the charging of a fee as it is a national requirement.

Scouting turns the youngsters into adults with great leadership abilities. Running a Scout Troop whether for girls or for boys is an expensive operation, even though all of the leaders are volunteers who pay their own way on every outing and adventure. Summer camp is expensive. Equipment is expensive. Liability insurance is expensive. Awards are expensive as are the training books and manuals the Scouts need to advance in ranks on their trail to the Eagle.

The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” reminds us that as members of the local village we have an obligation to help ensure that worthwhile activities are available for our children to enjoy. Don’t complain about all kids in our area. Many are involved in church youth programs, after school programs, 4-H, FFA, Boys and Girls Club, and a host of others which are all doing great jobs of helping these kids do the right thing even when nobody is looking.

It is the same with the Boy and Girl Scouts. At this time of the year the North Fork Scouts are looking to earn your business and your money. The Scouts aren’t looking for a handout but a helping hand. Your purchase supports the goals and ideals of Scouting.

As you get help from one of the Scouts remember to look at that Scout and think 20 years into the future. You’re looking at a future civic leader, business owner, community volunteer, decent citizen, and a person who doesn’t feel entitled to your money but wants to get your money the old-fashion way; by earning it.

One other thing to remember and this is a tricky issue to follow - Scouts may not get a tip for performing a “Good Turn” as getting a tip violates the Scout Law of being helpful. However; while I don’t tip that Scout for helping me select a tree or for helping load it on to the car or into the truck, I do like the idea of rounding up the cost of the tree when I write the check to the North Fork Scout Fund. It will allow you to witness another one of the Scout Laws in action - courtesy as they will certainly thank you for the donation.

Once you have your tree and you drive home and set up that central focal point of your holiday decorations you will have a feeling of warmth that comes from getting a great deal from a great group in a great program.

See you Saturday in North Fork.

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