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Scoutmaster Chris Burnett, Scout Leader James Kleber, Scouts Jay Kleber, Jacob Lichtsinn, Jordan Barnsfield and John Burnett Troop #344 trail clearing crew for the Vineyard 5K Trail Race benefiting Our Turn To Serve (assisting soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Brain Trauma).A year and a half ago, in March of 2014, plans began to take root for blazing a trail for a trail race to include running and/or walking through the woods and vineyard at Two EEs Winery.

The densely wooded property is located along Highway 24 near Roanoke and the trail begins across the parking area from the winery.

On a sunny Saturday in August, four Boy Scouts from Troop #344, out of Waynedale, and two Scout Leaders took on the task of assisting Cynthia Cornwell in clearing the trail for the Fall Vineyard 5K Trail Race on October 3rd.

Hauling brush, trimming and downing trees were all part of the hard-working scout’s job that day.

Boy Scout John Burnett called his experience over the years with scouting “great!” And said he had enjoyed the trips to Little Turtle, which included swimming, camping and hiking. “It’s fun having fun scouting.”

He said that scouting has been important to him over the years. “It is a big part of who I am.”

The brush was thick in places. It was almost like a green tunnel nearly impossible to pass through. It happened that way this spring from all the rain. “The work on a trail is never done,” said Cornwell. “There are roots, branches and sometimes an entire tree that will fall across the trail. And now this time of year we have walnuts to contend with.” All of which is unsafe to a runner or walker using the trail.

Scoutmaster Chris Burnett helped to organize the work party and serve as leader for the trail crew. When the leaders weren’t cutting branches, they were mentoring the scouts and encouraging them to be safe, yet have fun. They talked about snakes, frogs and ticks, and instructed the boys on tool safety, showing them how to protect their eyes and skin from falling branches, sharp sticks and thorns.

The Scout clearing crew covered about 2 ½ miles of the trail in 6 hours.

“I like working hard,” said one of the scouts. And work hard they did. Using tree saws, loppers and hand pruners. After the brush, vines and trees were cut down, they hauled the piles deep into the woods.

That day, one of the scouts confessed that it was his first time in a woods. He said he didn’t want to miss coming to help with the trail. “It was a bit tough, but I really enjoyed coming here. And, I liked the adventure.”

They have also done service projects at the American Legion Post #241, Kramer Park in Albion and at the Waynedale United Methodist Church where they meet Tuesdays from 7-8pm. In addition, after the storms this spring the scouts assisted an elderly lady in the Avalon Addition clearing and cleaning up her backyard.

This was not Troop #344’s first volunteer project. In fact, they have gone above and beyond the required volunteering hours! In addition, to helping with clearing the trail, they have helped set up and clean up at the Waynedale Community Picnic, Prairie Grove Cemetery, Waynedale Memorial Day Parade route and the ACSPCA.

On Saturday, August 9th the Scouts from Troop #344 came to clear the 5K (3.1 miles) stretch of trail. It was a difficult project, but rewarding, was the consensus from the scouts.

The Waynedale News Staff
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