One Boy Scout troop has made it a tradition to help Murfreesboro residents deck the halls every holiday by selling Christmas trees.

Troop 197 is hard at work again selling trees from a space in front of Murfreesboro’s Fellowship United Methodist Church, where it is chartered. The troop has sold trees as its major fundraiser for either 13, 14 or 16 years, depending on who you ask. The Scouts and family work at the lot, and the boys who work receive credit to pay for troop activities, several parents said.

They start off the season every year on Black Friday, and they sell out of their premium Fraser Firs well before Christmas, depending on how many trees they receive, the adult leaders say. This year, they received 465 trees, said Nick Nicholls, the troop’s committee chair for tree sales.

By noon on Black Friday, the troop had sold 45 trees off the lot, plus a special pre-order of 25 to a country club in Chapel Hill, adult leaders said. The tree lot has become a tradition not only for parents and grandparents who have more than one boy in the troop, but also for repeat customers as well, the leaders said.

“The Scouts are prepared to welcome you to the lot, share prices and availability, and help your family select the perfect tree,” Nicholls said. “Many families have made this an annual tradition, taking pictures and enjoying this festive holiday adventure. Kids love to listen to the music, roam through the tree lot and help in the family selection.”

Raising up Eagles

Working at the lot is hard work, and appears to be a breeding ground for future Eagle Scouts.

Dylan Conley, 14, a First Class Scout, said this is his fourth year working at the lot. He is on track to become an Eagle Scout next spring. He said his Eagle Scout project was to build a butterfly garden at Holy Cross Episcopal Church.

Dylan said his favorite thing about working at the tree lot is gaining retail experience and staying busy.

Dylan said he is a sophomore at Central Magnet School but added that troop members come from many of Rutherford County’s high schools; he pointed out boys from Stewarts Creek and Rockvale.

Dylan’s father, Brian, said he enjoys working at the lot to help the boys raise funds for their activities.

Culann Brown, who will receive Eagle Scout rank in March, said this is his seventh or eighth year working at the lot. His Eagle Scout project was cleaning up and building shelves at the office for Last Call 4 Grace, a street ministry.

Supporting Scouts

Scouting teaches boys service, and the tree lot is no exception. The Scouts will prep the tree, give it a fresh cut, wrap it with netting and load the tree.

The troop sells only premium Fraser Fir trees from the North Carolina mountains, Nicholls said.

“These trees are known for their fresh fragrance, symmetrical shape, strong limbs, and ability to retain its soft needles for a long time when cut. They don’t prick easily when hanging ornaments, making them one of the best trees for this purpose,” he said.

All profits support the troop’s year-round camping, hiking, backpacking and conservation activities, Nicholls said. The Scouts are actively involved, from the building of the tree lot structure, managing the lot and following through with all sales.

CHRISTMAS TREE LOT

Who: Boy Scout Troop 197 annual fundraiser

Where: Fellowship United Methodist Church, 2511 Hwy 99 / New Salem Highway (across from Walmart), Murfreesboro.

Hours: Monday–Friday, 5:30-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sunday,

Payments: Cash, checks or credit card.

Contact: bsatroop197.com/trees.htm.

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