Scouts Await Your Holiday Luminaria Orders

Light up your neighborhood with traditional luminarias, which will be assembled this weekend.

(Editor's note: This is a reminder to get your order in soon for Boy Scout luminarias, which are being assembled by Scouts and parent volunteers this weekend. Check out this feature story by Tia Benjamins and the see the contact information for each troop at the bottom of this story so you can make your orders.)

By Tia Benjamins

If you take a drive in San Marin and other neighborhood pockets of Novato on Christmas Eve, you will be treated to a local tradition that has united the neighborhood for several years running. Like clockwork every Christmas Eve, curbs, driveways and yards are lined with the traditional decorating symbols of the Southwest, known as luminarias or farolitos. You will see little rivers of light, rios de luces, as neighborhoods glow.

Amazingly, this will be the 50th year of Troop 42 scouts delivering those charming little lanterns, along with holiday spirit, to our community! It all began in 1962 when Novato had a population of just 17,800. Now with more than 53,000 residents, Novato Boy Scouts continue the annual tradition of building luminarias to raise funds supporting their many public service projects and positive outdoor experiences throughout the year. 

Previous Eagle projects include work at Miwok, O’Hair, Dogbone and Stafford Lake parks, local schools, Point Reyes National Seashore, Tomales Bay and Samuel P Taylor state parks, the Novato Youth Center and many other local amenities. Scouts also help with Clean and Green Day, local food drives and other environmental and community efforts, and they enjoy camping, hiking, biking and rafting trips to the mountains, deserts, rivers and oceans — fun, character-building experiences to last a lifetime.

This year, on Dec. 8 (if the weather cooperates), in a Herculean logistics effort, the Scouts will gather for the big build with their families and as many others as they can rope into it. This involves several cubic yards of sand, a flat-loader truck, thousands of paper bags folded by hand (mostly over Thanksgiving while watching football!) and as many candles. Putting it all together and delivering hundreds of completed sets of 10 luminarias per cardboard “flat” (from recycled soda packaging) all on the same day requires a high level of teamwork and organization. It’s a positive and (dare I say it) enlightening experience all around.

“The build day is actually a lot of fun as well as a lot of hard work," said Tim Elsmore, father of two Eagle Scouts and Troop 42 alumni. "It’s truly an amazing sight to see the results on Christmas Eve. When every house in a neighborhood participates there really is a true sense of community.”

Join your neighbors this year and make your home warm and inviting with a one of a kind Southwestern flavor, by decorating with luminarias. Don’t be left in the dark!


Each of the city's scout troops services a different area of Novato.

Troop 42 covers the San Marin area north of Novato Boulevard and west of Simmons Lane, “The Presidents” area around Novato High School, and Hamilton. Order online at www.novato-troop42.org.

Troop/Crew 82 covers Loma Verde, Pacheco Valle and the Marin Country Club (south) side of Ignacio Boulevard. Order by e-mailing Crew82Lum@gmail.com.

Troop 200 covers downtown Novato to West Novato, on the southwest side of Novato Boulevard from Diablo Avenue to Sutro Avenue, the Olive Avenue area, Atherton Avenue area, Bel Marin Keys and the north side of Ignacio Boulevard (from Entrada to Turner drives). Order by e-mailing  TROOP200LUMS@gmail.com.

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Morris & Company November 24, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Troop 42 filled & lit 200 luminaries along the sidewalks on Grant Avenue last night--in front of the shops. What a great bunch of kids! Looks really neat!! Thank you!!!!
Tia November 24, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Note: last day to order online is December 2nd!!
Roger November 24, 2012 at 04:46 PM
A map with colored zones for different troops would be real helpful. The above descriptions seem to be rather confusing to me. I know Troop 42 used to handle almost all of Novato, but I guess Troop 42 is starting to give up parts of Novato to other troops. That is nice of them.
Amanda Montgomery November 24, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Or, you could make your own, which is what I'll be doing this year. I cannot support the Boy Scouts of America any longer. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/boy-scouts-anti-gay-policy
Proud Scout Mama November 26, 2012 at 09:19 PM
@ Amanda: the funding generated from Luminarias goes directly to local scout troops, NOT te BSA, which is the corporate entity unfortunately responsible for the bigoted antigay policies. Local troops are "franchised" and haveno control over what the BSA says. I can speak for our own Troop and say that we would never discriminate against our LGTB community members.
Carol November 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM
@ Amanda: BSA promotes Citizenship, Community Awareness, and Leadership skills for our youth. Taking fund raising monies away from our local troops only hurts our youth program here in Novato. Did you happen to see all the Boy Scouts (and girl scouts) working for the local food drive the two weekends before Thanksgiving?!? This is just one example of many community service projects that I've seen scouts working on. I would personally rather see our youth in an organization that teaches these skills than not. Please try to learn about the local BSA program, rather than judge from the sensationalized news articles that don't always give you all the facts. Let's try to focus on the local good vs. the political hype, please!
DMC February 25, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Great way to teach your kids to discriminate!


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