24th Scouts celebrate 25th year of selling Christmas trees

By Carrie Debrone
Kitchener Citizen
December 1, 2017

There’s nothing better than the unforgettable smell of a real Christmas tree filling your home on Christmas day.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the local 24th Kitchener Scouting Family’s annual Christmas Tree Sale – a sale that almost didn’t happen this year.

Three weeks ago, Scouter Jim Carse got the bad news that the Canadian Tire Store on Victoria St. N. would not be able to accommodate the local Scouts Christmas Tree sale this year because of a shortage of space.

“Honestly, that was one of the most depressing nights at our house. All I could think about was without the sale how would we be able to afford our programs for the kids. I was thinking no more summer camp, no winter camp, no Jamborees, no program,” said Scouter Teresa Carse.

But, a call to the Home Hardware store next door to Canadian Tire, brought good news and a new home for the Scout’s tree lot.

After a discussion with store manager, Scott Philips, Home Hardware welcomed the Scout group with open arms. The new tree lot is now at the back of the Home Hardware store parking lot, 1014 Victoria St. N. Kitchener.

“We are thrilled, and beyond relieved, to have their support and a new home. We owe Scott and Mark (Coyles, store owner) a huge thank you for helping us make sure that our tree sale happens again this year. The money this project brings in is vital to our group”, said Jim Carse adding that the group is “extremely grateful for the many years of free space and support that we have enjoyed at Canadian Tire.”

“They helped make a lot of things possible for a lot of youth by allowing us to move in to their parking lot with hundreds of trees every year for 24 years.”

A group of leaders, Scouts and Cubs gathered on the evening of November 24 to unload, unwrap, and tag a tractor trailer load of Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir and Scotch Pine trees that will be on sale until December 22 (or until the trees sell out). The trees are supplied by Somerville Nurseries Inc. in Alliston, Ontario and transported for free by a relative of one of the Scouters.

All proceeds from the Christmas tree sales go directly to the 24th Kitchener Scouting family.

“Our goal is to reduce the cost of Scouting for the kids and their families. It helps pay for the rental of facilities at our summer and winter camps, and buy equipment that needs replacing. It could help buy a kid’s uniform or buy them a sleeping bag so they can go winter camping. We have a “no one left behind” policy and we want to see any child who wants to be a part of Scouting be able to participate. Not every family can afford to have their child participate, so the tree sale is a major fundraiser that allows us to help these kids,” Carse said.

Tree profits have also made it financially possible for approximately 120 Scouts, Venturers and Scouters to attend the last 6 Canadian Scout Jamborees, held in Alberta, northern Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“The kids help with all aspects of running the Christmas tree sale. They learn about the trees and can identify the different kinds, and they learn how to use a saw, a little bit about pruning and lot about customer service,” Carse said, adding that this year there will be about 35 Cubs and Scouts helping to run the lot. They work in teams with an adult, usually a parent.

“I love this event every year. It’s very organized and I like to help teach the kids and be part of helping them develop a skill set,” he said.

As the trees arrive, Carse, who has organized the sale for the past 20 years, gives the Scouts instructions on how to safely unload and tag them. Then they start the work – often lifting trees that are one and a half times as tall as they are, tagging and stacking them neatly in their designated spot on the lot.

Carse adds that the Scouts take their role as salesperson to heart too, doing their very best to help each person select their own perfect Christmas tree. Over the past 24 years, the Scout group has sold close to 10,000 trees.

And, buying a Scout Christmas tree from the 24th Kitchener tree lot has become a long-standing tradition for many local families.

One family has been coming to the tree lot every year, with children, then grandchildren and even the dog in tow.
“There’s another family that comes every year. They come early because they want the biggest tree we have. They don’t care what kind it is or how much it costs, they just want the biggest one,” Carse laughs.

The 24th Kitchener Scout Christmas tree lot is open weekday evenings from 5:30 – 9pm, Saturdays 9am – 9pm and Sunday 11am – 7pm. Cash only, please.

For more information on the 24th Kitchener Scouting family or our annual Christmas Tree fundraising event, visit