Boy Scout nets $16K in popcorn sales

Tristan Noel who sold lots of popcorn, forth in the nation, for a fundraisor for his troop describes one of the prizes he won when he first started selling

Tristan Noel can hardly go anywhere without being noticed.

“Hey, you’re the popcorn dude,” the seventh-grader at East Middle School said people have exclaimed upon seeing him.

There’s good reason folks might link the 12-year-old Boy Scout to popcorn. Noel sold so much of it for his Troop’s 357 fundraiser, his sales garnered him the fourth best popcorn seller position in the nation.

“I’m just thankful and hopefully you’ll be able to do it again next year,” Noel said about all those who purchased from him. “Maybe you can just keep $15 hidden somewhere.”

It’s suggestive selling such as this that helped Noel sell $16,334 worth of popcorn in two months. Sales representatives at businesses around the county have reportedly asked him to check back in for a job once he’s done with schooling.

But for now, Noel is still just a kid and pleased to know that 70 percent of sales goes back into local scouting programs. That means his efforts went a long way toward helping the 16 registered Scouts in his troop to get sleeping bags, tents and a larger trailer to hold weekly meetings.

As a high seller this year, Noel earned an MP3 player, a Camelbak, an overnight backpack and eight gift certificates of $140 each to Wal-Mart. Always a thrifty Scout, Noel cashed in his cards on Black Friday for a $600 Dell computer at the store. Since being a high seller for the past four years, Noel has already earned about $5,500 toward a college scholarship.

To sell so much popcorn this year, Noel went door-to-door each day after school for two hours in September and October. On Saturdays and days off from school, selling was his full-time job.

Noel never sold Sundays, respecting the day as a time to take a break. He sends thank-you notes to customers and sometimes small gifts to others who purchase in bulk.

Noel’s mother, Lisa, said she put 3,300 miles on her vehicle hauling her son around. And, like years before, Noel burned through another pair of sneakers this year.

Noel’s father, Kelly, said it’s amazing how goal-motivated his son can be. In Cub Scouts little Tristan sold $2,431 worth of popcorn in his first year. In subsequent years he sold about $5,000, $8,000 and $11,000 each year.

Noel said he plans to be an Eagle Scout and has a tentative project picked out, though that’s a secret he’s not willing to disclose. He knows he may not be able to spend as much time selling next year because of an increased workload as a Challenge Program student at school.

“I’m know I’m not going to be able to do that again because of homework,” he said. “Without my parents driving me around, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”


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