THANK YOU! 

Giving your time, energy and holiday spirit is very much appreciated.  Your hard work will translate into programs that help develop healthy, happy, fulfilled kids.  On behalf of the Youth Center Board of Directors and staff, we wish you and your family a joyous holiday season!

 

VOLUNTEER SIGN-UPS:

Want to Volunteer? Volunteer Orientation is scheduled for November 17  6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Youth Center, 10909 Oak Street, Los Alamitos, CA 90720 and via zoom this year. This is very helpful to first time volunteers as you will learn a lot. All middle school and high school volunteers have to attend orientation in order to volunteer.

 

TIMES and DAYS TO VOLUNTEER

The tree lot opens November 28. We will be open weekdays from noon to 9 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can volunteer anytime we are open. Check volunteer sign up schedule for open days/times. If we have too many volunteers on specific day, we will only keep volunteers who signed up to work on that day. On the weekends, we can use TON of help!

 

TREE LOT VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION INFORMATION

 

WHERE IT ALL STARTED

Thank you for being so generous with the gift of your time and energy in support of Youth Center programs.  Back in 1999 Ganahl Lumber Company offered us the opportunity to establish a holiday tradition within the community while facilitating a source of revenue for youth activities.  We are extremely grateful to them for offering the use of their parking lot for our Christmas tree sales for the last 21 years.  As a volunteer, you are the most important element to our success!  In order for you to be effective, however, there are several things you need to know.  Please take a few minutes to become familiar with the following information.

 

ABOUT OUR HOST

Ganahl Lumber agreed to host us for our 20th Annual Tree Lot. If you see trash in the area, pick it up.  If our tree displays look anything but neat and tidy, take it upon yourself to correct it. We appreciate Ganahl Lumber for taking us in for the holidays and want to keep area as clean as possible. Our location  is 10742 Los Alamitos Bvld. Los Alamitos, CA 90720

 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Hans Lumme, Andrew Demofonte, Jay Martz and Alec Scott act as our lot managers.  One (or all) will be on the lot at all times; questions relating to the operation of the Christmas Tree Lot should be directed to them.  Prior to the start of every shift, lot volunteers will huddle with the lot manager(s) for work assignments and information updates. If you have questions, you can always talk to Lina Lumme, our Executive Director.  

 

WHY DO WE HAVE A CHRISTMAS TREE LOT?

There are two reasons we operate a Christmas tree lot.  First, the proceeds from the sale of trees will help fund Youth Center programs and other youth related activities in our communities.  Equally important, however, is the high visibility that operating a Christmas tree lot gives to the Youth Center.  As knowledge and popularity of Youth Center activities increase, so will the resources available to us.

 

WHAT IS OUR GOAL?

This is important!  We’ve worked hard to build a successful community tradition and we want to continue to make a positive impression on those folks who choose to purchase their tree from us.  If we are successful at that then chances are that they will choose to buy from us next year and for many years to come.  Our goal, then, is to have each customer leave our lot with a good feeling of having purchased a quality tree while supporting the activities for young people.  What does that mean to you as a volunteer?  It means we need you to greet everyone with a smile and a “Merry Christmas.”  It means we need you to wear a “can-do” attitude and make our customers feel that we really want their business.  It means offering them superior service.

 

WHAT’S YOUR JOB AS AN ADULT VOLUNTEER?

        It’s quite simple, really.  You are representing the Youth Center to the community.  We ask that you warmly greet customers as they enter the site.  Offer everyone a cup of hot cider or cocoa; give kids a candy cane, coloring book and crayons; and help the customer understand how the lot is organized.  After you let them know that you (or any other volunteer) will help them when they’re ready, allow them to browse at their leisure.  Then, when they are ready to make a decision, assist them to the cashier and help prepare the tree for transportation.  It’s that easy!  During the first few minutes of your time on the lot you’ll be shown how all this is handled.    And don’t forget to wear one of the red or green aprons provided; this will help you keep your clothes clean and help customers identify you as a Youth Center volunteer.

 

WHAT’S YOUR JOB AS A YOUTH VOLUNTEER?

Youth volunteers give our lot the true Christmas spirit.  And because the Youth Center’s “business” is young people, folks who visit our lot form an instant perception about our organization based on your behavior and how you interact with them.  Make us proud to be associated with you!

  • Youth volunteers from high schools will be assigned one of the most important duties in assuring our customers purchase a fresh tree: keeping the bowls under each tree filled with water.  We have become known for the freshness of our trees and their “staying power” throughout the holiday season.  The reason is simple: we buy fresh trees and keep them fresh by giving them plenty to drink. Tree quality will deteriorate if we fail to keep them in water at all times.  So water, water, water. Students will also keep the lot neat and safe by sweeping the interior and exterior of the lot of excess needles and trash.  Finally students will also be responsible for keeping the refreshment table clean & neat, the hot water pot (for cider and cocoa) filled with water, the CD player constantly playing Christmas music and the rest area tidy. 

  • Other youth volunteers will help with taking trees from the lot and loading them into/onto cars as well as other assigned duties.

  • Each individual youth volunteer will have an assigned duty and will wear identification indicating that duty.  Once you are assigned a duty you are not to take any other assignment unless directed by the lot manager. 

  • Always wear one of the aprons provided or a bright yellow vest.  This will help you keep your clothes clean and aid customers in identifying you as a Youth Center volunteer.

  • At the beginning and each shift, all youth volunteers are to sign in and out using the Volunteer Log.  Those who have completed the mandatory orientation will be listed in alphabetical order.   Simply follow the directions to correctly log your hours and thereby assure proper credit for community service hours.  Those who have not completed the orientation will not be listed and will not be permitted to work the lot until an orientation has been completed.

 

YOUTH VOLUNTEERS AND BEHAVIOR

The Youth Center loves young people!  We especially love the spirit and energy young people bring to the tree lot! 

But the business of selling trees is just that…a business.  And for that reason we must maintain a business-like environment.  We ask our young volunteers to (1) refrain from horse-play, (2) keep their voices in the “normal” range, (3) not congregate near the entrance or exit, and (4) generally conduct themselves in a business-like manner.  That doesn’t mean, however, that you should curb your holiday spirit!  Share that with your fellow volunteers and the public!!

YOUTH VOLUNTEERS AND TIPPING

Youth volunteers who help load trees into/onto cars will often be offered a tip from the customer.  While this is permitted, please remember that the manner in which you approach this process is a direct reflection on the Youth Center.  In past years we have had a number of instances arise where youth volunteers have become aggressive in their pursuit of tips.  This will not be tolerated!  In order to avoid situations that may result in inappropriate behavior we have established the following rules:

  • At no time are you permitted to ask for or make any reference to tipping including gestures that might lead the customer to feel obligated to tip.

  • Teams of youth volunteers are limited to two members; each member of the team will split all tips evenly.

  •  At no time will there be “competition” to help customers.  If more than one team is on duty the teams will alternate between customers.

This is a critical issue for the Youth Center.  Failure to follow these rules will result in suspension of your ability to work at the tree lot

REMEMBER: IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!

With our busy lives we often don’t get into the “Holiday Spirit” until late in the season.  Buying a Christmas tree should be one of those times when we feel the joy of the season.  As volunteers, each of us, in our own special way, should try to instill those warm feelings in our customers.  You will be surprised at the power you possess: a genuine smile and “Merry Christmas” will warm the heart of even the biggest Humbug!

 

WE NEED YOU!

You are our professional sales team.  Our success is dependent on your ability to properly communicate with the customer, answer questions and “make the sale”.  In order to accomplish these tasks you will need to know about the products and services we provide. Check the price list and know what makes each of our types of trees special! (See below.)

TREE PRICES

Trees are priced based on size and type of tree.  The price is indicated on a tag attached to each tree.   In order to maintain consistency, prices are firm and can only be altered by the Lot Manager in extraordinary cases.  Volunteers do not have the authority to adjust prices.  (Warning: Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the middle of a customer’s attempt to haggle over price.  State firmly yet politely that tree prices are fixed and then guide the customer to lower priced trees.)

 

OUR PRICES ARE HIGHER THAN THE BIG RETAILERS.  WHY?

The larger retailers price their trees at (or below) what they pay for them in order to attract shoppers to their stores.  We, on the other hand, price our trees to help develop funding for community youth projects.  If someone is price shopping, we’re not the place for them.  But if someone wants to buy a high quality, fresh tree at a fair price and support a valuable community organization, we’re it!  Don’t be afraid to communicate this to customers.

 

DON’T GET HURT! 

Unless you have been trained by the Lot Manager and are under his direct supervision, do not attempt to butt, drill or attach stands to trees.  These are the three operations that can cause serious injury.  Use common sense when lifting heavy objects and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  And use the convenient tree movers when transporting the tree from the lot to the car!  We don’t want you to spend the holiday season with unpleasant memories of your volunteer service to the Youth Center!   And remember that working in a tree lot “dirty business”.  Wear old clothes, one of our special green or red aprons and, when handling trees, gloves.

 

PRICE TAGS

Price tags are plastic, color-coded and pre-printed with our logo, size, variety, price and bar code.  They also have a removable “stub” on the bottom of the tag.  Both the tag and stub contain identical “control numbers” to identify specific trees.

  • When a customer selects his/her tree the volunteer is to remove the “stub”, give it to the customer and instruct them to take it to the cashier.  The cashier will use this “stub” to scan information, including the price, into the register.  The “stub” is then attached to the register receipt along with our thank you & tree care card.  DO NOT REMOVE THE LARGER PORTION OF THE PRICE TAG.

  • If a customer has trouble locating their specific tree, the control number on the stub will be used to match that same control number on the tag still attached to the tree.

 

TREE STANDS

Each of our trees are stood on a metal rebar stand with a water bowl.  This stand is reusable year after year.  The cost of the stand is not included in the cost of the tree and is clearly marked on the price tag.  If a customer already has a stand we’ll gladly remove the rebar stand for them.  Explain that the stand is reusable year after year… and that works out to only a few dollars a season.  Plus it’s a sound environmental decision.  We don’t need to use wood, nails and plastic bowls that will all end up in landfills!  All they’ll have to do is bring their stand & bowl back to the lot next year (and years thereafter) and we’ll install it on their fresh tree or trade stands with them.

USED REBAR STANDS

Folks who have purchased their tree from us in past years may return with their old stand. 

  • If we’re not going to install the old stand on the customers new tree, and will only be putting it into our inventory for later use, it is important that it be inspected for damage.  This inspection is to be conducted by the Lot Manager on duty.

  •  If the inspection finds no damage, the manager will approve the trade. 

  •  If the bowl requires replacement there will be a $10 charge

  • All used stands are to be refurbished by removing the bowl, installing a new rubber o-ring and replacing the bowl on the stand.  At the time of use we are to also replace the rubber ends on each leg.  There will be no charge for this reconditioning.

  • TREE STANDS CAN BE HAZERDOUS!  ALL LOOSE STANDS (INCLUDING TRADE-INS AND THOSE REMOVED FROM FRESH TREES) ARE TO BE IMMEDIATELY PLACED IN THE WORK AREA AT THE REAR OF THE TENT.

 

TYPES OF TREES (Important Info!)

We sell 4 different types of trees: Noble Fir, Nordman Fir, Grand and Douglas Fir.  Grand shortage in 2020. The trees are grown in Oregon and harvested within a week of being delivered to our lot.  Soon after arrival we butt (remove about 2” from the bottom of the tree), install the metal stand with bowl, and add water.  This process assures a fresh, healthy tree at the time of sale.

  1. Noble Fir:  This is the most popular tree.  Its limbs and needles are stiff while the separation between the limbs allows room for displaying tree ornaments.  If maintained properly needles will hold throughout the season. YELLOW TAG ON TREE

  2. Nordman Fir:  Gaining in popularity thanks mainly to its excellent needle holding, glossy deep green foliage, branch spacing and very attractive shape.  The needles point forward and grow around the branches, where are thick and soft. BLUE TAG ON TREE

  3. Grand Fir:  WE DON’T HAVE ANY GRANDS THIS YEAR DUE TO THE TREE SHORTAGE. This tree is a rather full, “bushy” soft-needled variety.  It is best known for its great aroma.  Take a few needles and rub them between your thumb and forefinger and smell your fingers.  Although not as hardy as the Noble Fir, if properly maintained needles will hold through the season. WHITE TAG ON TREE

  4. Douglas Fir:  This is the “traditional” Christmas tree and is the least expensive of the trees we sell.  They, like the Grand Fir, are a rather “bushy” tree.  Since they are not as hardy as the other trees, if not properly maintained they tend to loose their needles sooner.   Douglas Fir trees are most often purchased within two weeks of Christmas to assure freshness. GREEN TAG ON TREE

 

PROPER CARE OF TREES

Once a tree is butted it should never be out of water for more than a few hours.  Why?  Because sap will seep around the butt, fill the pores and form a seal.  If that happens the tree can no longer absorb water.  That’s why it’s imperative that we keep the water bowls full while the trees are on our lot and why we need to let customers know how important it is that they do the same.  Some trees will initially absorb as much as a gallon of water a day!  The price tag on each tree explains proper tree care, as does the slip attached to the cash register receipts.

 

NETTING/BAILING

Transporting and properly setting up trees at home can be a difficult chore because the tree limbs are fully extended.  Sometimes this means that limbs are raked through doorways, resulting in the loss of needles and a mess in the house.  This can be minimized with the simple and inexpensive process of “bailing”.  For $2.99/tree, we will compress the limbs of the tree within a candy cane netting, making it much easier to handle and set up.  You are asked to show each customer an example of a bailed tree and recommend that they have it done to their tree.  It only takes a minute!

We offer a special “Combo”.  For $4.99 the customer will not only get their tree bailed but they’ll also be sent home with a tree disposal bag and a bottle of tree preservative.  Please inform (“sell”) your customers on this special offer.

 

DELIVERY

We can deliver trees within the local community for a small charge.  Deliveries are made between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and between noon and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There is a $18.00 charge for deliveries within 5 miles of the lot.  Deliveries over 5 miles but less than 10 miles cost $36.00.  Orders placed after 8 p.m. will not be delivered until the next business day.

FLOCKING & FIRE RETARDING

We do not have the ability to flock trees.  We are, however, authorized by the State of California to fire retard them.  The cost of this service, including State certification, is $3.50/foot.  Please let the customer know that, depending on weather conditions, it may take up to 24 hours for the fire retardant chemical to dry and the tree available for pickup or delivery.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

We offer an array of other Christmas related products including wreathes, garland, mistletoe, disposal bags, tree preservative, filler tubes and much more.  These items are located near the checkout stand.  Make sure you point them out to each customer.