Christmas Tree Lot Works To Improve Young Lives

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

Now that thanksgiving is over, you might be thinking of getting out to pick up your Christmas tree. What if buying that tree could help influence someone's life?

The Boys' Home Christmas Tree Farm is where it's happening.

Ten year-old Ashton Aanfelse had been a little behind at school and was having a hard time maintaining a good work ethic. That's why he's working at the Christmas tree farm this year. It's a special situation that caters to those young men that need a little guidance.

"By and large our guys, they're not in a structured situation in their home," said Associate Director Greg Lemmer. "Maybe they can stay out too late, maybe they're running the streets and maybe they get into a little bit of trouble. So they come here and we beging putting some of that structure in their life."

The goal of the Boys' Home is to help each child that goes through it's programs become a productive member of society. By letting them do most of the hard work at the Christmas tree farm they should be able to realize their full potential. With it there is a big learning experience to be had just from families coming to pick out a tree.

"One of the things that really helps them here is we can see a happy, complete family, one with a mom and a dad and maybe a couple of grandparents as they come out and work together and find a way to agree on their tree," said Lemmer. "This is not a common situation with many of our guys."

The farm opened for the season Friday and Ashton is already a big help. He says he can cut down a tree in two minutes. But that wasn't always the case.

"The first time I did it, I didn't complete it," he said. "Somebody else had to come and do it. Oh my gosh how do they do this I thought. When I got used to using the hand axe I got used to it."

During the next month Ashton will have a chance to learn and see many different things. He's enjoying the experience even if he can't do the one thing he really wants to.

"It's really fun, it's easy work," he said. "I do everything. I just can't drive the tractor."

Hours of operation and directions to the Boys' Home Christmas Tree Farm can be found at: http://www.boyshomeinc.org/tf_christmasTrees.shtml


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