Our group gathered in our adviser's art room. Our mission was to create the perfect tree to donate to the annual Christmas Tree Jubilee.
We went into the back room and pulled the boxed artificial tree down. We set up the tree, and then tried to get the lights plugged in. After staring at the instructionless picture, we struggled some more. Finally with some ingenuity and a teacher's help, the lights were on and the whole entire tree lit up.
Now we were ready to decorate it for the fundraiser held on Thanksgiving weekend to benefit the Weber School District Foundation. The red and gold decorations and ornaments were pulled out of the various bags and boxes that they had come from. At the same time we debated the name of our tree.
I set out to make the topper for the tree. The snacks arrived and everyone ate and talked while they worked. As each decoration was wired on, sprays were created. I gathered up some sparkly gold leaf branches and a few poinsettia blossoms and set to work. I arranged a small two-sided topper, and asked the group about it. The two-sided look was observed and the unanimous decision was to make the topper more three-dimensional.
When I had gathered the sufficient number of branches and blossoms, I wired them together. To ensure maximum stability I then hot glued the pieces together. Then I pulled up a chair and set about wiring my creation to the top of the tree.
When I finished, I began wiring one poinsettia blossom to one leaf, creating sprays that were dispersed and wired on to the tree. People were constantly arranging and analyzing and debating. The conversations were laced with laughter, and no one sat around. We worked hard to get the tree completely filled up. The red and gold ornaments continued to be added to the tree, and the effect grew.
After finishing the sprays, I helped fasten ribbon to one of the empty boxes we were wrapping to place under our tree. I wrapped another present, and attached the ribbon. When I began to curl it there were a few delighted looks, and laughs. I smiled and asked if they had seen ribbon curled before. Everyone smiled and laughed.
When it was time to leave, a survey was taken to make sure there would be enough people attending the setting up of the tree in Ogden's Eccles Conference Center the following Monday. I took one last glance at the tree and headed out the door.
I couldn't attend the setup of the tree this time but I did remember last year's event. We began by reassembling the tree, arranging it so that its best side was in view. Then we unraveled rolls of ribbon and placed it in circles around the tree. A few more decorations and lone gold branches were fastened in. The pre-wrapped boxes were pulled out and arranged around the base of the tree.
After a few hours of work, everyone stepped back, and we were finished. We smiled and laughed as we drove back to the school satisfied with our work. I was sad that this year I could not be a part of that.
When Christmas Tree Jubilee was open this year, on Nov. 23 and 25, I went with my family to view the tree that Fremont SkillsUSA had created, as well as the others that were there. The finished tree, titled "Christmas Romance," was in the hall. I smiled when I saw it with its ribbon and completeness. It was not out of place there, but completely at home, full and beautiful.
I thought about the beneficiaries of the money raised by Christmas Tree Jubilee as I read stories of the kids who had been helped previously. All the funds are used to buy needed equipment or assistance for children's with special needs. It was nice to remember that our group had contributed to this effort.
Decorating the tree and donating to the Jubilee was a fun way for our club to establish ties before club competitions came. It was fun to do, but as I read those stories I remembered the most important reason that our chapter gathers every year to decorate the tree -- to help make a difference. Some child would be grateful that we had worked to earn them something that they needed, and that was why it was truly worth it. I know that I will always remember the trees I helped decorate for the Christmas Tree Jubilee.
Katey Campbell is a junior at Fremont High School. Contact her at email@example.com.