Members of a local Boy Scout troop received a boost from the Ahwatukee Foothills community on Sunday as they went around to 30 homes to pick up and dispose of Christmas trees.
Boy Scout Troop 278 collected $515 in donations, which they will put toward a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, N.M. later this year. The troop spent the majority of the day traveling around Ahwatukee Foothills stopping by the homes of residents who had left their trees outside with their donations attached.
"We wanted to be able to collect enough to cover all of our expenses there and back (to Philmont Scout Ranch)," Scoutmaster Alan Moore said. "Then whatever we have left over will go toward gear and food."
The Philmont Scout Ranch trip is a 14-day adventure, which can take the Boy Scouts up to 86 miles through the mountains where they do a variety of activities including rock climbing, camping and rifle shooting. Each Scout brings one backpack with everything they will need for the duration of the trip.
"It's one of the best things I have done since (becoming a Boy Scout)," said John Maerling, 16.
Collecting Christmas trees was the first fundraiser the local troop has conducted, but it is planning to do more leading up to the trip in July. The cost per scout is about $725, Moore said, and that is not including transportation or supplies.
"It can add up to be expensive, but today was a good start," he said. "Today was just people being generous."
The Philmont Scout Ranch encompasses about 214 square miles of mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) range of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico. The ranch has been visited by more than 930,000 adventurers since it opened in 1938, according to the website, www.PhilmontScoutRanch.org.
"It is 14 days in the wilderness and there is just constant stuff always going on," Alex Moore, 18, said. "It was great to be able to do it with my dad (last year), and I am really looking forward to doing it again."