Two Girl Scouts clear the way for nature walks in Malta park

The Gold Award is essentially a capstone community service achievement for Girl Scouts. Other girls in Troop 2563 have done work with their churches or local youth groups.

Each girl is required to spend 60 hours on a project that will benefit the community for at least five years, have her plans approved by the area council and incorporate leadership elements into her efforts.

Group projects are generally discouraged, but the scale of Iannon and Finocchio's project allowed them to each put in the time requirement. Both have been involved in Girl Scouts since they were "Daisies" in kindergarten, and they have been in the same troop since third grade.

"We're used to working together," said Iannon.

Now that they have completed a GPS survey of their trails with help from the Northern Land Survey Co., they plan to place a map at the trailhead under an awning they built themselves. Completing the project on top of their schoolwork and other extracurricular activities like cross country and track has been difficult, but affirming.

"It think it's a great experience," said Joe Finocchio, Alex's father. "It's 17-year-olds taking such a big stepThere's very little coaching from the leaders, so they have to get the whole thing done."

The girls have already seen the tails being used by local residents and said they are happy to see their efforts appreciated.

"It's cool to see how different people use them and are involved in them," said Iannon.

"You just hope that people actually walk on it, and people have," said Finocchio.

The girls have also created a short survey to be placed at the trailhead to help identify any improvements that could be made to their projects, so if you intend to walk the trails, bring along a pen or pencil.""

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