Gaby Villalta helped out her brother’s Boy Scout Troop 72 during last year’s Christmas tree lot fundraiser in Queen Anne, but this year she’ll be doing so as a Scout herself.

“I’ve always been like kind of jealous of my brother and all the cool outings he gets to go on,” Gaby said, “so I’ve always wanted to join.”

The Boy Scouts of America changed its policy and name last year, allowing girls to join its ranks starting in 2019.

“We don’t say boys or girls anymore, we just say Scouts,” said Jeff Coombs, Queen Anne Scout Troop 72 scoutmaster.

Gaby Villalta said she’d tried giving the Girl Scouts a chance, but only stayed with it for less than a year.

“It wasn’t very fun. I never went on an outing, I didn’t go camping,” she said. “We’d have meetings and they’d be like, ‘We’re going to do arts and crafts,’ and I was like, ‘Why?’”

There are three official Scout troops in Queen Anne: 70, 71 and 72. The girls are in Troop 71.

“And Troop 72 and Troop 71 act seamlessly as one troop,” Coombs said.

That means the same uniforms and the same opportunities for advancement, and Coombs is looking forward to seeing the girls become senior leaders.

“We asked our son whether he was fine with his little sister being with him in the Scouts, and he was really for it,” said Gaby’s mother, Martha Villalta, who also serves as scoutmaster for the girls troop. “We kind of knew which girls were going to join, and we just have seven girls, and they all seem to be doing really well with coming in.”

“The boys, they don’t treat us differently,” Gaby said, “they treat us like part of the troop.”

And that means volunteering to set up, work and eventually take down the annual Christmas tree lot.

“Tree-lot season is bonkers, because we sell between 1,600 to 1,700 trees,” Coombs said. “It’s huge logistics and involves a lot of people and is all for a good cause.”

All Queen Anne scouts will be out in the Safeway parking lot the day after Thanksgiving to set up stands, lighting and fencing, Coombs said, and then about 1,000 trees will also arrive that day.

“Then we have one other large delivery about a week and a half later,” he said.

Martha Villalta said scouts have to help with setup, and then volunteer for at least three days of the sale, followed by tearing down the lot on Dec. 21. The lot could end sooner if the trees all sellout before then.

“Last year we had a lot of smaller trees, so this year we’re not getting as many trees as last year,” she said, “but we are getting more bigger trees than smaller ones.”

“Sometimes we have trouble stocking enough of those,” Coombs said, “so the people who want those better come early.”

The proceeds from the Christmas tree sale benefit the Queen Anne Food Bank, where Gaby and her brother, Anthony, recently spent a weekend working on building shelving for a storage container as a community service project.

“And this year I’m definitely in the Scouts, so I’m definitely going to be working on the tree lot,” said Gaby, who is the senior patrol leader for her Troop 71.

Scouts have already started making the rounds to Queen Anne businesses to get fliers up for the lot, and will soon begin building A-frames to support the Christmas trees, Gaby said.

“It’s definitely a fun experience, because you get to sell these trees and talk to people, and it’s really fun,” she said. “Most of the shifts are going to be cold, so we get cookies and hot chocolate and hot dogs.”

“Selling at the tree lot is the most fun selling you’ll ever do because everyone is happy to be there,” Coombs said.

The Queen Anne Safeway has long made its parking lot available for the Christmas tree sale, but 2100 Queen Anne Ave. N. will eventually become a construction site. Albertsons Companies has spent years working to get designs approved that will allow it to replace the Safeway with a store twice its size and with hundreds of apartments on top. A new design is in the works, and construction could start sometime in 2021.

On the Safeway side, it’s progressing. We are expecting either this year or next year will be the last year,” Coombs said of the Christmas tree lot’s future and the need to find a new space. “There are a bunch of places we’ve been looking at. If anyone has any ideas, that would be great.”