With a little more sunshine and a little less snow on the ground than last year, Boy Scouts from four different troops in Bend set out to collect and recycle Christmas trees for their annual fundraiser.
The fundraiser has taken place since 1990, and it has a different feel than last year, said Troop 18 Scoutmaster Fred Schroeder. With temperatures in the mid-40s, the Scouts joked about wearing Hawaiian shirts while out collecting Christmas trees in various neighborhoods.
“Generally, the worst part is the snow and ice and trying schlep these big trees around, but it’s really nice out this year,” said Boy Scout Ethan Mawdsley, 14, of Bend. “(Last year) the snow certainly affected the safety of the driving. This year, it’s a lot more fun and a lot safer and a lot lighter trees.”
Troop 18 is one of four troops in Bend that will set out with trucks and trailers to collect Christmas trees to be recycled. The suggested donation of $5 to $10 helps fund various camps and trips throughout the year. The trips include sailing, backpacking and campouts.
This is the third year Mawdsley has participated in the Christmas tree fundraiser and he looks forward to it now, he said.
“It’s fun to end up in new cars with new people each year and you can bond better with the Scouts in the troop,” he said. “I look forward to this fundraiser so that I can afford all the camps that I have the opportunity to go to.”
The Boy Scouts start early, printing the flyers before delivering them to neighborhood doors, prepping the trucks and trailers that will haul both trees and children before unloading the Christmas trees that will be recycled into mulch by High Desert Mulching.
“We have a pretty tall trailer so it’s hard getting the trees into the trailer,” said first-time tree collector Mason Spreier, 11, of Bend. Spreier — one of the shortest Scouts in the troop — said he is definitely coming out again next year, rain or shine. “It’s been fun working with other Scouts and getting all the trees.”
Former Scoutmaster Phil Brummett, 52, of Bend, has stuck around long after his son moved on from Boy Scouts but has switched gears from hauling the Christmas trees to master chef — cooking sloppy Joes or macaroni and cheese for the hungry Boy Scouts on their lunch break.
Aside from raising money for summer camps, Brummett said the most rewarding aspect of the fundraiser is getting the boys out in town where they are visible to the community.
“The big thing about trees is that you get out in the community,” he said. “Most of the time we are out in the woods and a lot of people in town don’t run into us. This is the time we are out in town and the kids really like it.”
Schroeder says the planning and preparation is typically the toughest part.
“It’s hard to predict it being less successful from year-to-year,” Schroeder said when comparing the warmer weather to last year’s snow. “This is a very well-established fundraiser, people know it.”
The Boy Scouts will be picking up trees from 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 7.
Those living inside the city limits do not need to call to request a pickup, though residents living off the main routes — on a culdesac, for example — or who may have put their tree out after the pickup, are encouraged to call their designated troops, Schroeder said.
Troop 18 covers neighborhoods south of Newport/Greenwood Avenue and west of Third Street. Residents can schedule a pickup calling 541-385-3977.
Residents on the west side of Third Street and north of Newport/Greenwood Avenue can call Troop 25 to schedule a pickup at 541-385-2692.
Troop 23 will pick up trees east of Third Street and north of Newport/Greenwood Avenue. They can be reached at 541-385-2672 .
Troop 60 focuses on the east side of town and south of Newport/Greenwood Avenue and can be reached at 541-385-3942 to schedule a Christmas tree pickup. All four troops are working together to answer the many phone calls and messages and forward them to the correct troop, Schroeder said.
There are also Boy Scout troops in La Pine, Redmond, Sisters and Sunriver that are recycling Christmas trees.
— Reporter: 541-617-7829, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated the longevity of the fundraiser. The Bulletin regrets the error.