Boy Scout Troop 52 has been selling Christmas trees for 49 years; it is the main fundraiser for the troop. It is estimated we have sold over 15,000 trees over the years; many Scouts have learned the basics of salesmanship, marketing, and commercial forestry through the Troop’s Christmas tree sales program.
Christmas tree sales were first introduced to the troop by the efforts of Ken Fortune, Assistant Scoutmaster and Ken Bovard, Scoutmaster in December of 1968. The troop purchased trees from a farm in Bentonville that first year and shortly after that we branched out and purchased some of our trees from the Rudacille farm.
During the first 20 years the troop bought the Christmas trees from various tree farms in Virginia and as far away as Pennsylvania. In 1979 Dr. Craig Zunka, a long time member and Eagle Scout from the troop, agreed that the Troop could plant trees on his farm in Browntown.
Depending on the variety of the tree it takes from 6 to as much as 12 years from the time a scout plants a Christmas tree and it is ready for sale.
Since then, Dr. Zunka has overseen the planting and care of the trees on his tree farm for the Troop. The number of trees the scouts plant every year as well as the number of trees harvested depend largely upon the weather and the type of trees.
The Scouts learned how to plant the seedlings, how to properly trim the different variety of trees and the need to keep the weeds from growing around the bases. Dr. Zunka maintains the mowing between the rows and spraying to reduce insect or disease damage to the trees in the summer.
The first tree sales were held on the “Weaver lot” across from the old Front Royal Volunteer fire station that was beside what was then our town hall. Peyton street now runs through where the Troop had its first tree sales lot.
It was just after the 1969 tree sales that Bill Ollinger, manager of the Safeway store in the Royal Plaza shopping center invited the troop to set-up the 1970 tree sales next to his grocery store and we have been selling trees somewhere on the property of the Royal Plaza shopping center ever since. The Troop has enjoyed and appreciated the support from the merchants in the shopping center that we have received for all these years!
All of the profits from our tree sales goes into the Troops operating account to pay for advancement awards and activities of the troop. We also pay for some of the Scouts cost towards summer camp.
This past year the troop covered just over $200.00 for each Scout to attend Boy Scout Camp and in addition the Troop covered the cost for the Scouts trip in June to a “rope course” in the southern part of Virginia. The Troop covers the cost of camping trips and other activities for the Scouts.
100% of all funds from tree sales go towards the program and equipment replacement.
See where & when you can purchase trees here: Troop 52 Christmas tree sales.
Submitted by Ronald “Hoss” Feldhauser, Warren County.