Scouts work together to gather Christmas trees

Troop 370 in Vancouver one of many troops that went out to neighborhoods to find Christmas trees to be picked-up at annual event

Todd Bachmann drove ahead in one car with his passengers. His sons, Henry and Emmett would point out the Christmas trees left on the side of the road, then would seek out the donations that folks left nearby.

The O’Claire family was in the SUV with a trailer behind the Bachmann car. David and Kathleen up front, with their son Jack in the back seat. When the Bachmanns gave a signal, the O’Claires made it down the street for easy access to the trailer.

David O’Claire (left) and Todd Bachman and his son Henry, gather Christmas trees during Saturday’s pick-up day for Scouts of America. Photo by Paul Valencia
David O’Claire (left) and Todd Bachman and his son Henry, gather Christmas trees during Saturday’s pick-up day for Scouts of America. Photo by Paul Valencia

The two families made for quite the team Saturday morning at the annual Christmas Tree Pick-Up day by Scouts of America.

And they were part of a much larger team. Boys and girls, parents, and plenty of other volunteers, representing troops from all over Clark County, drove through neighborhoods searching for trees left to be picked up and hauled away … for free or donations. 

Robert and Kairos Phed went out in a small pick-up truck and by the time they returned to Thomas Jefferson Middle School to drop off their collection into a larger truck to take for recycling, their pick-up looked twice as big, with all the trees.

Not even rain could ruin this day for Troop 370.

This Christmas tree pick-up was appreciated, and not just for the families who wanted an easy way to rid themselves of their trees. This was a special day for the scouts, too. With COVID-19, most of the scout meetings in the past year have been on video conferences. Scout leaders said it was a fantastic morning, to meet outside, distancing of course, but at least together for the pre-pick-up meeting.

“Anything we can do outdoors is very welcome,” said Mary Kilway, scoutmaster for 370. “We haven’t seen a lot of these faces in a while.”

Kilway noted that it is a big fundraiser for the scouts, but it is also a valuable community service.

“The great thing about events like this is you have unexpected people come out to help,” Kilway said. 

Philipp Tistov, a former scout, and his brother Mark run Clark County Junk Removal. They called the scouts and offered their truck and labor to help out Saturday.

“To come out and donate their time like that is just amazing,” Kilway said. “The beauty is our younger boys are seeing these great role models, of what you can do after (being a scout).” 


About The Author

Paul Valencia joins after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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