Evy Vlahos of Salem installed mile markers, worked with first responders to map them
SALEM, NH – People who enjoy walking and biking the Salem Rail Trail can feel safer knowing that a Gold Award Girl Scout has provided police and fire with a way to locate them in case of emergency. Evy Vlahos not only organized continuing maintenance of the trail, she installed mile markers along 2 miles of the trail that first responders can use to quickly locate anyone in trouble.
Vlahos, 18, of Salem, worked closely with the town police and fire departments during her project, Finding Your Way Mile by Mile. The Salem Women’s Club assisted with a donation, and Fences Unlimited came through in a big way, donating all the mile markers and helping her with installation.
The Gold Award is Girl Scouting’s highest honor for girls in grades 9-12, the capstone achievement for a Girl Scout that changes the world for the better. The Girl Scout Ambassador and senior at Salem High School spent over 90 hours working to make Salem a better place with her project.
“Working with Evy under guidance of her mother, Story, was a good experience, said Dave Topham, of Friends of the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor and her project advisor. “Evy was enthusiastic, on time for appointments, offered some good ideas, and was always glad to ‘dig in’ - even for the post holes.”
Topham said feedback from rail trail users since they were installed in July has been positive.
“People like to know how far they biked or walked,” he said. “The town likes the idea of knowing where on the trail a person might need emergency service.”
As with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic did force some difficulties in completing the project, but Vlahos followed through and organized friends and family to help. Actual installation of the markers had to wait until last summer due to the pandemic. She also created a video to inform the public of the markers’ existence.
Vlahos gained invaluable life skills through her work.
“I learned new ways to publicize and promote projects or ideas I may have in the future,” she said. “I also learned how to raise money for projects which gave me new ideas for future reference. Lastly, I improved my presentation skills and realized that I am not afraid to speak in public.”
Vlahos has earned some of Girl Scouting’s other highest awards as well. As a Cadette, she cleaned out the cow tunnel on the rail trail, planted flowers and put up a sign, for which she received the Girl Scout Silver Award. As a Junior, she earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award for Fido Bags, providing the fire department with items to help animals in the event of a fire. She has been a Girl Scout since second grade, enjoying trips and summer camp, funded by her Girl Scout Cookie sales.
Vlahos is deciding which college she would like to attend, but is interested in a career involving animals or the hospitality field.
Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Evy Vlahos has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.