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Scouting the perfect tree at Camp Maluhia

Local Scouts fundraise for national trip costs

Jason Ruml of Troop 22 gives a tour of the Norfolk Pine trees available for sale to help support Maui's Boy Scouts. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

WAIHEE — Scouting out the right tree just got easier.

Whether families are looking for 3- or 30-foot Norfolk Pine trees, or anything in between, troops from the Boy Scouts of America Maui County District are helping the search with their second annual Christmas tree sale at Camp Maluhia in Waihee.

“It’s super fun and the trees are so much better than the shipped-in kind,” said Pukalani resident Mindy Lapke, who visited the campsite Saturday with husband Mike, son Keanu and daughter Kalia.

The family recently moved from Haleiwa, Oahu, where they had a tradition of finding and cutting their own trees during Christmastime.

“We used to go when we lived there to a tree farm. They had different kinds in Wahiawa,” said Mindy. “We were looking for something similar.”

Keanu Lapke, who was supervised by dad Mike, takes an axe to their Norfolk Pine tree on Saturday. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

When they found the right one, Mike and Keanu Lapke did the cutting. Then a team of Scouts helped carry and load the tree.

Another benefit of the local tradition is that cutting and removing Norfolk Pine trees from Maluhia helps the nearly 100-year-old campsite.

“It’s a win-win for everyone because it’s an invasive tree to our camp. So we can have people come and cut trees, and it helps the camp out by removing invasive trees,” said Scoutmaster Jamie Wright. “There’s not too many places on island where you can go with your family to cut trees. It’s a fun holiday event.”

The tree sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be held this Saturday as well. Cost is $5 per foot.

Proceeds will be used to help send 40 Maui Scouts to the 2021 National Scout Jamboree held in West Virginia. The event, held every four years, draws about 40,000 Scouts from around the country, and includes select international Scouts.

Mindy Lapke of Pukalani peeks through the foliage to watch her husband and son cut their family Christmas tree. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

Wright said 40 Scouts from Oahu, 20 from Kauai and Hawaii island, as well as Maui’s group, will be traveling together. Maui has 11 troops total; Scouts from five of them will be going.

The organizer added that people can help support Scouts through upcoming fundraisers, along with this week’s final day for finding a Christmas tree.

“We have up to 30-foot trees,” he said. “If someone wants to go big, they can come and go get it.”

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

Mike Lapke chops away the base of the tree as (from right) Noah O'Donovan of Troop 40, Keanu Lapke, Mindy Lapke and Brandon Wright of Troop 100 look on. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

Noah O'Donovan from Troop 40 helps carry a tree that the Lapke family found and cut on Saturday at Camp Maluhia. The Maui News / KEHAULANI CERIZO photo

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