Scouts blaze a trail

Lynnfield’s very own Scout Troop 48, a dedicated community service club affiliated with the Boy Scouts, has been significantly impacting on their town with a series of vital projects under the guidance and support of their troop advisor, Gordon Forrest.

Three years ago, a member of Troop 48, Michael Madden, who was not only a Scout but also a member of the high school cross-country team, proposed a transformative project to the Conservation Commission. Madden’s proposal was simple yet impactful: to develop a cross-country trail in Pine Hill.

Over two years, Michael Madden dedicated himself to the realization of the Pine Hill Conservation Area loop trail, which is now utilized by the Lynnfield High School cross-country team for training sessions.

Before the trail, Lynnfield’s cross-country team was the sole Cape Ann League member without access to soft terrain for their practices. They conducted cross-country practices on pavement rather than softer surfaces.

Bill Wallace, the coach of the Lynnfield High School cross-country team, expressed his appreciation for the trail, noting how it has positively impacted his athletes.

“The grounds offer a relatively soft surface, and we often run loops through the woods,” Wallace explained. “This trail has provided a fantastic experience because there are limited trail-running options in Lynnfield. Becoming accustomed to running on trails is crucial, particularly since many of our away meets take place on such terrain. So, it not only serves as an ideal practice ground but also prepares our athletes for the challenges of competitions on similar trails.”

Last academic year, several high school students and aspiring Eagle Scouts within Troop 48 embarked on various community projects. Forrest, the troop advisor, highlighted the value of these endeavors, emphasizing that they provided the students with invaluable real-world experiences and the chance to engage in adult situations.

Eagle Scout candidate Jack Mackey’s work at the Beaver Dam Brook Reservation is nearing completion after almost a year of planning and execution. Mackey approached the Conservation Commission last year with his Eagle Scout project proposal to restore the reservation.

Sprawling across almost 200 acres, the Beaver Dam Brook Reservation is an open forest space at the very heart of Lynnfield. Mackey proposed sprucing up the area, which residents use for leisure activities.

“It was kind of one of the hidden gems of Lynnfield,” Mackey said. “But I could tell it needed some work.”

Mackey is currently working on remapping the entire area, maintaining existing trails, establishing new trails and connection points, and installing new signs and wetland crossings.

Matthew Squadrito, a high school student and Eagle Scout, has been collaborating with the Veterans Group on a project involving the GIS mapping of Lynnfield veterans’ grave sites. He is leading a team that aims to integrate the location of veterans’ graves into the town’s geographic information system, essentially creating a digital map for the community. This innovative initiative will make it easier for individuals to locate and pay their respects to veterans during significant events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Another Eagle Scout, Chris Gonzales, who recently completed all the requirements for this prestigious rank, took on a project of constructing a storage shed for the Lynnfield Rotary Club. Meanwhile, Dan West contributed to the community by working on the Bow Ridge trail restoration and bridge-building project in collaboration with the Lynnfield Conservation Commission. The most recent endeavor was spearheaded by Lucas Williams, who partnered with the MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center to provide shelter to feral cats during the harsh winter months.

Forrest, the primary coordinator for Troop 48 and the mentor for these aspiring Eagle Scouts, has been working with these young men for nearly 13 years and has witnessed their journey toward becoming Eagle Scouts.

Forrest also explained the role he plays in assisting these high school students. He helps those who wish to attain the esteemed rank of Eagle Scout by helping them identify and plan their projects. He also supports them through the often intricate paperwork process.

The mission of Boy Scouts, as per their statement, is to instill ethical and moral values, as reflected in the Scout Oath and Law, in young people. It aims to mold them into leaders, responsible community members, and environmental advocates. Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a significant part of this journey.

Troop 48 holds their regular meetings every Thursday from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at the Lynnfield Centre Congregational Church, where they collaboratively plan outdoor activities and community service initiatives, fostering the growth of young leaders and responsible citizens within their community.