MOODY — Efforts at Mother Neff State Park to create a low-intensity hiking trail got a boost Saturday thanks to Boy Scout units from Copperas Cove.
Seven adult leaders, eight Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 258 and three Webelos from Cub Scout Pack 258 assisted two Texas master naturalists in the state park project.
The new trail will connect new park facilities. Because it is flat, the new trail will be hiking-friendly for those with strollers or others. On Saturday, the Scouts removed barbed wire and T-posts and lined the trail with rock. They also cleared the trail of some brush.
Scout Zack Rokosh, 15, camped out overnight Friday to get a jump start on Saturday’s project.
“Even though it was in the 20s, it didn’t bother me because I was well prepared. I am used to camping in the cold,” Rokosh said. “(Volunteering) is a way for me to get out of the house and work with people from all different backgrounds. I live a normal teenager life and volunteer service gets me away from computer games and gives me a chance to lend a helping hand to the community and environment.”
James Imhoff, assistant scoutmaster for Troop 258, said giving back to the community benefited the state park and the Scouts.
“There are never enough resources to get things accomplished. Manpower and labor are two resources the troop can provide,” Imhoff said. “The Scouts are at a pivotal time in their development. Boy Scouts provides an arena for developing work ethics, gets them outdoors, and provides exposure to many service projects aimed at building character, and showing positive morals.”
Scout Andrew Chairez, 17, said the project gave him the chance to do things he might not have had the opportunity to do.
“There is no better feeling or sense of accomplishment than after completing a volunteer service project and know others will benefit from something I did,” Chairez said. “I wanted to come out to a new park and meet the park ranger to see what other projects I could get involved with for other opportunities and bigger projects. I might complete my Eagle project here.”
The Scouts helped build the trail as part of the Messengers of Peace initiative, a nearly 95-year-old program in international Scouting.
Scout adult volunteer Trudy Perry said Saturday’s project fulfilled one of three requirements for the project that includes developing relationships between humankind and its environment.
“The Scouts feel that assisting to build new trails to be used for nature lovers, people wanting exercise, and a place of serenity and meditation would answer this requirement,” Perry said.
The World Scout Committee launched the Messengers of Peace program in 1920 following World War I when 8,000 Scouts from 34 countries united at the first world jamboree. Today, Scouts in countries around the world fulfill the commitment by working for peace through conflicts in their schools, working to unify divided communities, educating others on health and wellness topics, and completing tasks to improve the environment.