DALLAS — Members of Boy Scout Troop 281 logged 800 community service hours during the 2017 Back Mountain Memorial Library Auction and are gearing up to do it again, according to Assistant Scoutmaster Randy Perry.
For over a decade, the Dallas-based Boy Scout troop volunteered to help set up for the auction, plus operate the former Children’s Toy Auction that evolved into the Children’s Toy Tent, as well as help with various needs during the event.
“We always announce to members that not all (Scout) events are mandatory, but this event kind of is because we are so involved with it,” said Aric Gingo, assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 281. “The auction is an all-hands-on-deck type of thing.”
The 72nd Back Mountain Memorial Library Auction is scheduled for July 5-8 at the library grounds at 96 Huntsville Road.
Gingo and Perry estimate Troop 281 will have nearly 30 Boy Scouts and about 20 adult volunteers helping to set up tents, assist during the auction, dismantle tents and carry unsold inventory back to the library at the end of the four-day affair.
“Last year, we spent about six hours carrying boxes out of the library basement for the Nearly Old and Odds and Ends tents,” Gingo said.
During the auction, Scouts and adult volunteers operate the Children’s Toy Tent, collect garbage, carry items to people’s cars, help move items to the auction block and so much more, Gingo said.
“At night, or if it rains, we close up the tent flaps to protect the items inside,” Gingo said.
Many Scouts look forward to the event, he added.
Perry’s son Alex, 18, who has completed his Scouting years, refused to go on a family vacation because he wanted to volunteer to work the auction.
The Scouts are living up to their motto of “always being prepared” by starting their toy and bike collection for the Toy Tent this spring, Perry said.
The troop has circulated flyers asking people to call Perry at 570-899-2795 or Mark Chappell at 570-479-7641 with donations of gently used or new toys or bikes.
“We like to see every kid get a bike or toy,” Perry said. “We have 30 bikes already.”
Some bikes are donated, while others are discovered during the Kingston and Dallas townships’ Spring Clean Up days, Perry said.
Scouts and adult volunteers wash and repair the bikes that may be in need of fixing.
“Bikes that are determined to be unsafe are not taken to the auction,” Perry said.
Perry and Gingo collect the toys donated to the library and store them in Perry’s garage until the auction.
“My garage is a two-car garage,” Perry said. “It is over half full with toys and bikes by auction time.”
The troop used to sell the toys and bikes at the former Children’s Auction, which was held Saturday morning during the four-day event. However, dwindling attendance for that event inspired a transition to the Scouts hosting a Children’s Toy Tent.
“The boys used to auction off toys at the Children’s Auction,” Gingo said. “The audience included up to 10 people, sometimes only two to three people.”
In 2016, the troop hosted the Children’s Toy Tent, which was very successful and became a new staple for the event.
“We do a lot of community service,” Gingo said, noting this event supports the Back Mountain Memorial Library, which is a big part of the community.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.