By Rick Dandes

TURBOTVILLE— When it came time to think up a Girl Scout Gold Award project, Warrior Run High School senior Alyssa Hoffman had what was, for her, a perfectly logical solution. 

As a member of the school’s cross-country team, she planned for and helped construct a 43-feet wooden bridge over a creek on the cross-country trail course, replacing an older, too narrow bridge that had fallen into disuse.

As a cross-country runner, Hoffman explained, “there were always complaints about how small the old bridge was. At the same time, I was looking for a Gold Award project, so both things came together and it all worked out. It seemed like a good idea.”

“I had the idea for this, and started working on the plan in my sophomore year,” Hoffman, 17, of Turbotville, said.

It was finished a few weeks ago, she said. “It’s taken almost two years to finish.”

The Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond, according to Girl Scouts of the USA.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, and is awarded to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually. Each Gold Award Girl Scout spends 1 – 2 years on her project. 

It took Hoffman a good year to figure out what the bridge was going to look like and how she was going to be involved with it.

The physical work began only after getting a permit from the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, Hoffman said. “We did all the permits about the time COVID hit this year. Over the summer we got everything we needed to build the bridge.”

A trailer bed serves as the floor of the bridge, which helped cut down costs. Mid-Penn Engineering actually designed the bridge, “and I worked with them to see how it’s done. It was really cool,” she said.

She was also helped in part by members of the Warrior Run School Board.

The actual build took about two weeks, Hoffman said. “And it was done in time for our first cross-country meet.”

Warrior Run Cross-Country Coach Corey Dufrene, who has been coaching her on his cross-country team for the past six years, described Hoffman as “a great kid. Hard worker. dedicated and determined.”

Dufrene helped with the project “a little bit with the construction of the bridge,” he said. “But in terms of the planning stage, that was all Alyssa. She took this on. She had thought about for a number of years. Without having the bridge, it made our cross-country course not viable. It was a lofty goal, to do a bridge. But she did it.”

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