'Scouting for Trees' initiative returns for 2018
In the winter of 2014, shortly after her family moved to Wilsonville and before her children were Cub Scouts, Elizabeth Robledo marveled at the program that allowed her to put her Christmas tree out on the curb and have it picked up later that same day.
Just a few years later, Robledo — now the mother of two Cub Scouts and the treasurer of Wilsonville's Pack 194 — serves as the chairwoman of the annual "Scouting for Trees" initiative that is set for Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., Scouts and families from Pack 194 will aim to hit each of Wilsonville's 5,286 single-family homes and pick up discarded Christmas trees with some help from Republic Services. Those trees will then be hauled to Grimm's Fuel Company in Tualatin, where they will be recycled for a fee of $1 each.
The event is Pack 194's sole fundraiser each year, with a suggested donation of $15 per tree (though all trees will be taken with or without a donation). Last year the pack raised a little over $11,500, and it has set an ambitious goal of raising at least $20,000 in 2018.
The funds are generally used to help kids pay for camps or participate in other Scouting activities. And Scouting for Trees isn't limited to Pack 194.
"The best part is we involve all Scouting (girls and boys) troops in Wilsonville," Robledo said. "Anyone who wants to participate can participate."
At the end of the day, the pot of donations is split up based on how many people participated from each local troop or pack.
"The adults who show up to help, they sign in for whatever park or troop their kid is with," Robledo said. "Then we collect all the money, take out expenses for paying for the recycling, and everything we have left we count. Say 10 percent came from Pack 199 — they get 10 percent of whatever money we earn.
"Every pack and troop is different in what they use the money for, but (in) our pack, we want every kid to be able to do Scouting and attend summer camps regardless of their ability to pay. So we'll cover annual dues, part of or all of registration for camps, things like that."
Scouts recently began hanging flyers and envelopes on doors around town to let residents know about the program.
"We don't do apartments or things like that ... anyone who gets a flier on their door, that's how you know we're coming back Jan. 6," Robledo said. However, she added that those who don't receive a flier can still drop their tree off at Wilsonville City Hall between 9 and 11:30 a.m. Jan. 6.
For those who plan to have their trees picked up at their homes, there are a few guidelines to follow.
"People need their trees out on the curb at 8:30 a.m., and donations can be attached to the tree or the front door, or they can be mailed," Robledo said. "We take regular trees and flocked trees, but we can't take wreaths or garlands. ... (And) it would be great to remove the tree from the stand. Last year, we had probably a dozen that were a tree with a stand, so we had to have a saw out."
If you're mailing your donation, checks should be payable to Cub Scout Pack 194 and the address is 20030 S.W. Town Center Loop East, Suite 202, Wilsonville, OR 97070.