Faith Bennett saw how the COVID-19 pandemic affected mental health and wanted to give her community a peaceful, meditative outlet.
While researching ideas for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, the Abington Heights High School junior came across the concept of a labyrinth — a spiraling path that takes users on a calming walk from the edge to the center.
In pursuit of the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, Faith plans to bring a labyrinth to Hillside Park in South Abington Twp. She needs donations to reach her $15,000 goal.
“We thought building a labyrinth would be a perfect opportunity for people to be outdoors, be by the lake, and really be able to relax their mind and just focus on healing and becoming … centered in the present,” she said.
Faith, 16, an ambassador with Troop 50800, joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten. She previously earned her Silver Award by painting a mural for the emotional support classroom at Clarks Summit Elementary School.
For her Gold Award project, she intends to purchase a $15,000 prefabricated labyrinth kit from the Labyrinth Co. in Greenville, South Carolina.
Located on the lakeside trail at Hillside away from the noise of the athletic fields and partially surrounded by a stone wall, the labyrinth will feature a floral design in the center with petals representing different areas of spirituality. It will also be Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible.
“When you get there, you can meditate in the center and just look out on the lake and reflect in your surroundings,” Faith said.
The area will include an informational stand, as well as a sign recognizing the project’s biggest donors.
Her 13-year-old sister, Grace Bennett, is working on benches, landscaping and a pathway to the labyrinth consisting of memorial pavers for her Silver Award project.
Local architect Christopher Police donated his time to make digital renderings of the labyrinth, while Ed Frable with Ed Frable Construction Inc. volunteered to do the excavation and installation, Faith said.
Mark Spatz, co-chair of the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board that manages Hillside, said members approved the project and saw it as another way for parkgoers to enjoy nature.
The AAJRB allocated $2,000 toward the project, he added. He encouraged the public to donate.
“We thought it was an interesting, new twist for something different at the park,” Spatz said.
Faith secured $500 donations from both the Rotary Club of the Abingtons and the Labyrinth Society, as well as $250 from Fidelity Bank. She hopes to purchase the labyrinth kit by November and unveil the finished project May 1, which is World Labyrinth Day.
“I definitely hope it helps our community heal from the depression, anxiety and isolation they might be feeling from the pandemic,” she said.
Donate online at justgiving.com/fundraising/faith-bennett. Donors may also write a check to GSHPA (Attention: Fund Development) with Faith Bennett, Troop 50800, in the memo, and mail it to Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, 350 Hale Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17104.
Brooke joined the Wyoming County Press Examiner staff as a reporter in December 2018 after graduating from Marywood University. She covers county commissioners, borough councils, township supervisors and school boards in addition to writing lifestyle and business stories. Contact her at 570-836-2123, ext. 36, or email@example.com.