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Tree sales an annual Christmas tradition

You won’t find any Charlie Brown Christmas trees at Gore Park: the 1st Elmira Scouts select only the best to put on sale.

The appearance of a large quantity of trees and the little sales trailer in the Elmira park is a Christmastime tradition. The group uses the money raised from the sale of trees to support programs such as camping, hiking and canoeing for the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Ventures and Rovers that make up the 1st Elmira Scouts.

Zain Wilson was one of the Scouts on duty to sell trees Tuesday afternoon, just after the first snow had fallen.

The Grade 6 student has moved up to being Scout just this year in Elmira, having been a Cub for two years prior.

He has helped out at the Christmas tree lot for the last few years.

“Well, we just sell trees; it is a bit of a fundraiser for us, and people get Christmas trees, and that’s great,” he said.

Wilson  has a live tree at home and enjoys being able to help other families find one of their own, as well.

“People get to get a Christmas tree, which is great, and then my friends and I play hide and seek and [build] forts, which is fun,” he said of mixing business with pleasure.

Scout Zain Wilson stands in front a decorated Christmas tree at the bandstand in Elmira’s Gore Park, where the 1st Elmira Scouts are selling Christmas Trees once again for their annual fundraiser.
Scout Zain Wilson stands in front a decorated Christmas tree at the bandstand in Elmira’s Gore Park, where the 1st Elmira Scouts are selling Christmas Trees once again for their annual fundraiser. [Ali WIlson / The Observer]
One of the primary fundraisers for Scouts for the year, the tree lot helps to subsidize activities for local participants. Camping trips and rock climbing are a few of Wilson’s favourites from among the activities made possible through the Scouting program.

“I like being outdoors and just learning new skills that some people don’t get to know; we get to go outside and have fun and go camping,” he said.

Each year they sell some 350 trees, which come from Kris Kringle Christmas Trees at Somerville Nurseries near Barrie.

Brian Soehner, the Scout group co-commissioner in Elmira, has been involved in the Christmas tree sales for 30 years now.

Looking around the park less than two weeks before the big day, you can see the options are becoming limited, yet he says you won’t find any picked-over trees here.

“Several years ago we decided to buy only number-one grade trees,” he said. “So we pay a premium for that, we don’t have any Charlie Browns.”

Last year and the year before they sold out all 350, after all expenses they bring in anywhere between $5,000-$6,000.

“It is our biggest project of the year,” Soehner said.

Volunteers from the 1st Elmira Scout group can be found at Gore Park Monday to Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

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