Scouts collect trees from neighborhood doorsteps

Local scouts Ikaika Ward, Julia Luoto, Heidi Kemper and Derek Spani helped collect Christmas trees at their annual recycling event Jan. 4. Boys and girls in Packs 568 and 569, Troops 411 and 745 and Venture Crew 215 collected trees in both Duvall and Carnation.

Christmas is over. The New Year has begun, and school has finally started again, which is a blessing to some and a curse to others.

Still, sitting in the corner of most people’s homes is that sad post-Christmas tree. The needles have littered the floor, partially from the cat and primarily from lack of water. Tiny shreds of wrapping paper may be hiding beneath the branches.

Taking time to throw out that tree is the worst chore in existence. Luckily, residents in Carnation and Duvall had the help of local scouts Jan. 4.

“The tree recycling event is a fundraiser and opportunity for community service in the cities of Duvall and Carnation,” said Jaime Kemper, secretary of Scouting for the Valley.

Scouts, ranging from early elementary to college age, volunteered their Saturday to collect trees from curbs within both city limits. Packs 568 and 569, Troops 411 and 745 and Venture Crew 215 spread out across the valley.

The scouts asked residents to do one thing for them: leave trees on their curbs by 9 a.m. They only asked for a $10 donation in return, although the price was not a demand or requirement. Kemper said many people left cash or checks on their doorstep or in the trees.

“We have a lot of people who are very generous in that nature,” Kemper said. “Sometimes people can’t give, and that is perfectly fine.”

Kemper said the tree recycling event has been a tradition for scouts since before he moved to Duvall in 2011. The day for collection is typically during the first week of January to allow folks to have time to settle down after the holidays, he added.

He said the organization has gotten better at using campaigns to let the community know about the event. The scouts took to social media to promote the annual tree collection. They also advertised Paypal as an easier way to receive donations.

“It seems like we’ve gotten a lot of donations,” he said.

Kemper estimated that the scouts raised a total of $3,000-$5,000, not counting Paypal donations. He said residents gave more money than was asked of them.

“The money goes directly back to the units,” he said. “It helps to offset the overall cost of things each year.”

Kemper said the donations are split evenly between the five groups of scouts. The proceeds go towards summer camps, adventure trips or scholarships for scouts unable to pay for certain elements.

The scouts separated into sections of each city to collect as many trees as possible. Troop 411 managed all of Carnation, while the rest of the groups focused on Duvall. Residents who really wanted to get out of the house dropped of their trees at the Carnation Tree Farm or Taylor Landing in Duvall.

Starbucks, Grateful Bread and community members helped put together a potluck at the recycling areas with cookies, coffee and chili. Kemper said it helped the overall program to facilitate a good community event.

He said Taylor Landing collected about 200-250 trees, which is more than last year. Scouts, parents and entire families used their trucks and trailers to haul away trees.

Kings Trees donated their labor to shred the trees, and in return, Kemper said the scouts used a portion of their proceeds to buy lunch for the workers. The trees will be recycled into wood chips to be used as garden mulch and animal bedding.

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