Boy Scout Troop 199 goes energy efficient after 55 years selling Christmas trees at St. Michael Episcopal Church

Boy Scout Troop 199 has new energy-efficient LED lights illuminating their Christmas tree lot.
Boy Scout Troop 199 has new energy-efficient LED lights illuminating their Christmas tree lot.

It’s a brighter idea for a troop of Boy Scouts who’ve been selling Christmas trees since 1960 at the corner of 67th and Nall in Mission.

Tired of replacing its strings of fragile, incandescent bulbs every couple of years, Kris Boyle and David Shepard, the Christmas tree lot coordinators at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, reached out to Watts Up, a lighting company based in Merriam.

“After last year, we realized we need to replace the lights again, there are seven strands stretched out over our lot,” Shepard said. “The lights were breaking and we wanted a more sustainable situation.”

Andre Smith, owner of Watts Up, came up with a solution that is expected to be much more durable and use less electricity as well, 265 LED bulbs in plastic casings that are tough enough to endure the occasional collision with a Christmas tree.

“It’s always fun to work with customers on special projects like this,” Smith said, “especially in the holiday season.”

The new lights in red, green, orange, blue and yellow will provide significant savings to the Boy Scouts and the church. The annual tree sale is Troop 199’s only fundraiser and Shepard said the scouts sell 1,600 trees in a typical three-week season.

It’s been a Mission tradition for many years.

“People come back year after year,” Shepard said.

He said Smith and Watts Up gave the Boy Scouts a good deal on the lights and wiring, and the process of acquiring the more efficient lighting was a good education for the scouts.

“We think the savings will be significant,” Shepard said. “There’s no doubt it uses a lot less energy and the hard plastic is more durable than glass.”