Cub Scouts have tree lot

Channeling the spirit of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Cub Scout Pack 10 in Hill City has provided a way for people to get a Christmas tree with an old-fashioned Christmas tree lot.

Stefanie Doaty, Cub Master for the Cub Scouts, and Carl Doaty, committee chair for the Cub Scouts and Scout Master for the Boy Scouts, are spearheading the effort.

“We are trying to do something new this year with the whole Christmas spirit around town — trying to bring Hill City back to the Heart of Christmas,” Carl said. “We are trying to do a different type of fundraiser for the Cub Scouts.”

The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has been tough for the Scouts in Hill City, Carl said, because the group was unable to hold their annual Pinewood Derby like they normally do. The Pinewood Derby is the Scouts’ largest fundraiser of the year in Hill City.

With the Pinewood Derby not happening, the Scouts had to look for other streams of revenue, and Carl said, with the urging from Hill City mayor Kathy Skorzewski, they decided to open a tree lot.

Carl said he had the idea of operating a tree lot in Hill City for about two years now, and this, he said, presented the perfect opportunity for not only raising funds but also getting the Scouts in on the Christmas spirit in Hill City and teaching valuable life lessons and skills.

As of Dec. 5, Carl said the sales have been pretty good. They bought 40 Christmas tree tags for the Black Hills National Forest, and at that time they were four sales away from breaking even.

A tree will cost someone $25.

“These are all local trees from the Mystic District in the Black Hills National Forest,” Carl said. “All of these pretty much came locally from around Hill City. I got a couple other spots up near Custer Crossing where we’re going to get some more trees either this weekend or next weekend.”

Carl said he and other adults will take the Cub Scouts out with to the forest and show them what to look for in a nice Christmas tree and will let them go around and pick out trees. The adults will come and cut them down, and The Scouts will help drag them back to the trailer and then offload them.

“We try to teach them forestry, and with getting 40 trees we don’t want to take 40 trees out of one area because that could hurt future use,” Carl said. “So we’re trying to teach them about spreading around the area, proper forest management, looking at trees and what trees we could cut next year or we could cut one tree for this year that will give another tree room to grow for next year or a few years down the road. We are hoping to make this a continuing thing in the future.”

The tree lot is located in the vacant lot next to the Jon Crane Gallery, who allowed the Scouts to use the area at no cost, Stefanie said. People who wish to buy a tree when the Scouts are not present can take an envelope off the tree Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and take it inside the gallery with cash payment.

Stefanie said the Scouts will be at the lot on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. selling trees. Santa Claus, too, will be present on Saturdays.

The Scouts’ trees will be available for purchase through the weekend before Christmas or until they sell out.

“Hopefully we’ll sell out,” Stefanie said.

Carl said in addition to forestry, they are also teaching the Scouts things like fundraising and financials.

He said they approach Scouting differently in Hill City and try to incorporate things like life lessons the Scouts can take with them into the world beyond Scouting.

“And even with the Scout troop I teach the kids...these lessons, these skills I teach you, they’re not just for Scouting. It’s stuff that’ll go past your Scouting years,” Carl said. “I know several people here who have businesses on Main Street who were Scouts as kids, and they still have their Scout books, they still talk about stuff they use from Scouting today, and we are talking about people who have been out of Scouting for 30 plus years.”

Right now, the Scouts are finishing up their Scouting for Food Project (see “Scouts deliver, page one). Carl said it’s never too late for kids — both boys and girls — to join the Scouts. Cub Scouts is set up for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, and the Boy Scouts is for youth from 11 or sixth grade through 18.

The Scouts are also taking COVID-19 precautions at their meetings.

“When it’s nights that are nice we are meeting outside in open spaces,” Carl said. “We’re trying to continue on the best we can with the new normal and just provide as good as a program as we can for the youth in the times that we’re dealing with.”

For more information on either Scouts or their trees people can message the Hill City Cub Scout Pack 10 Facebook page.

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