Annual Tree Sale Benefits Local Teens in Portage County
Trees that are on sale at the YMCA in Stevens Point. Photo by Alex Grant.

Annual Tree Sale Benefits Local Teens in Portage County

The annual Christmas tree sale held at the Stevens Point Area YMCA helps raise money for the teen center.

For over 40 years, the tree sale has taken place at the YMCA, and it’s not the average tree sale. Tiffany Praeger, the teen department director, has been helping the tree sale for six years.

“The proceeds go to our teen department programs. Kids in Portage County can come in and do different activities at the YMCA like swimming, movie nights, volunteer, playing video games or shoot some hoops,” Praeger said.

She also explained that if families can’t afford a membership or if they aren’t able to pay for programs, they can apply for scholarships. Which is another thing that the proceeds go towards.

Both the tree sale and the ski swap that took place in November to help raise money for teen center programs and financial assistance for nonmembers or members unable to pay.

“One of the greatest things about our tree sales is that it’s a community effort. We harvest our trees from a local tree farm in Almond, and Jaymar trucking donates their time to deliver the trees, and the teens are the ones who take charge of the sales by volunteering to work in the lots,” said Praeger.

Praeger said that from start to finish, every part is done by the community.

“My other favorite part is getting excited and getting ready for the holidays. The kids are excited and the people shopping for their trees are in a good mood and it feels good to help spread the holiday cheer,” Praeger said.

Though Praeger runs many of the sales during the day, the teens are the ones who are working the sales in the evenings.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 33 million holiday trees are harvested and sold annually. However, that’s still more environmentally friendly than fake trees because of the material that fake trees are made from.

According to the National Christmas Tree association, over 85 percent of artificial trees are shipped from China, which increases our carbon footprint. Artificial trees are also made from PVC which is a non-recyclable plastic that will stay in landfills indefinitely.

Anyone looking to get a great tree that is harvested locally and helps a good cause can check out the Stevens Point Area YMCA.

Their hours are Monday through Friday 4 p.m.-8 p.m., Saturdays 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They have Balsams and Frasers with a wide variety of sizes and height. If anyone wishes to get a tree outside of those times, the YMCA still sells trees during regular business hours as well.

Aaron Zimmerman

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