14-year-old makes, sells trees for his dream

Deborah Wheeler | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunDeb | dwheeler@waltonsun.com

Caelin Reeves has a dream. He is only 14 years old, but he is a young man who is on a mission to own his dream car -- a 1968 Camaro.

Caelin does not expect anyone to hand his dream to him, however. He has been taught to work for what he wants, and he is willing to do that.

Every Saturday between now and Christmas, Caelin can be found outside his grandparents' gift shop on U.S. Highway 98 in Miramar Beach offering his wood Christmas trees for sale that he made and painted.

"I have been wanting this and we tried to figure out a way for me to make money," said Caelin. "We saw this picture of the wood trees and we put our twist on it."

All the money he makes is being socked away to go towards his dream of owning the 1968 Camaro.

"He likes to earn what he gets," said his grandmother, Janet Reeves. "With all the kids who want everything for free, we are proud that he is willing to work."

This is Caelin's second year to make the trees, and this year he has included a hand-written card with each that tells his story.

"Hi, my name is Caelin and I am 14 years old," it reads. "My dream for the past 2 years has been to buy and rebuild a 1968 Camaro with my dad. Thank you so much for buying this tree and helping me get closer to my dream … Caelin."

"When I read it, my heart just melted," said Pam Dowling, who works at the shop. "I think we don't hear enough about our young people being taught a strong work ethic and the ability to see a dream realized in such a way. A lady who bought the first tree told me that Caelin's card had touched her heart and she wanted me to share that with him. He is such a kind and gentle young man."

The trees are made from palette wood and he paints them a rustic white or green and on some, he attaches Christmas balls.

Caelin lives in Miramar Beach and attends Ohana Institute. He stays busy with band and other activities during the school year, but during the summer, he often comes down to his grandmother's shop and asks to help out.

"He has always asked for work projects," said his grandmother. "When he was younger, he would ask to work so he could earn money to buy toys. He does service projects, too, like helping pack backpacks for Food For Thought."

Caelin's trees are currently offered in three sizes and sell for between $24 and $40.

So far, he has about $500, but he needs around $10,000 for a Camaro that at least has a motor. He plans to paint it blue and white.

Caelin's trees are available at Footprints Gift Shop across from Camping on the Gulf.