Boy Scout Troop 363 opens Christmas tree lot

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Holiday traditions can extend so far into the mists of memory that nobody remembers how these lovely, comforting practices originated. El Cajon’s Boy Scout Troop 363 opened the organization’s annual Christmas tree lot on the morning of Nov. 26, outside the local El Cajon Elks Lodge #1812.

Holiday traditions can extend so far into the mists of memory that nobody remembers how these lovely, comforting practices originated. El Cajon’s Boy Scout Troop 363 opened the organization’s annual Christmas tree lot on the morning of Nov. 26, outside the local El Cajon Elks Lodge #1812.

Greg Williams, an assistant scoutmaster for the troop, furrowed his brow when asked how one of East County’s best Christmas tree lots got started. “Well, it’s been at least 25 years,” he replied. “None of us still around now know when and how exactly this first began.”

Williams, a Spring Valley resident and professional architect, has three sons who belong to the 19-member troop. His son Kyle is 15 and was designated troop spokesman for opening day.

Kyle Williams has belonged to this Boy Scout troop since he was six years old. He said that this is his third or fourth year to work at the lot, assisting Christmas decorators to choose that “just right” tree for their homes during the holidays.

“My favorite trees here are the Douglas firs,” Kyle Williams said. “I really like all of those, how the branches are spaced out.” The lot also features Noble firs and Nordmann fir trees. “We usually start asking tree shoppers which kind of tree they would like best. If they are undecided we ask how tall a tree they would prefer, and then we show all the available trees around that size. And when I select a tree to show to a customer, I twirl it around to show that the tree doesn’t have gaps missing anywhere.”

Why should East County locals buy a Christmas tree at the Boy Scout lot instead of elsewhere? Kyle Williams replied, “Sales here support our Boy Scout activities throughout the year. The proceeds will help pay for our upcoming weeklong trip to Yosemite over spring break.”

And? “These trees are fresh cut,” Kyle said. “Two days ago, these trees were still in the ground. We take very good care of them too. We water the trees during every work shift and keep them standing in wet hay.”

Kyle’s father, Greg Williams, further mentioned, “These are beautiful trees. The pine smell around the lot is wonderful. Ours is an active troop, with one campout each month. We also have a longer campout for one week during spring break and another summer camp for one week. This is one of the few organizations dedicated to taking boys into men, teaching them leadership and maturity. The camping is a plus.”

All Boy Scout Troop 363 members work at the lot, during weekend hours of 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. On weekdays, purchasers can visit from late afternoon through evening, 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. “Our labor force is in school,” Greg Williams explained. Jamba Juice has a booth on the site with a choice of healthy beverages. Tree delivery is offered. Prices are based on tree height, ranging from $34 – 94 for Douglas firs, $57 – 141 for Nordmann firs, and $72 – 132 for Noble firs. The Christmas tree lot is located at 1400 E. Washington Avenue.

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