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Marlton Boy Scouts help refurbish Freedom Barks dog run

Troop 49’s efforts will help ensure animal safety

Boy Scout Troop 49 of Marlton and its leaders pose for a picture after the youth restored a long-used dog run at Freedom Barks in Medford. The work helped troop members accumulate required service hours.

Twelve members of Boy Scout Troop 49 in Marlton visited Freedom Barks Park in Medford on April 30 to refurbish a dog run that was part of a silver award project years ago.

“They did an awesome job,” said Freedom Barks President Gwen Allen.

The dog run at Freedom Barks was originally a project Medford resident Megan Applegate of Troop 23784 planned for her silver award in 2016. Because of its long existence, a  renovation was needed at the run to ensure safety for the dogs. Allen reached out to troop leader Alan Amato to see if his Marlton Scouts would be interested in helping the effort. It marks the first time Freedom Barks has partnered with the troop.

“It was great,” Amato said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity. I know some of us have used that dog park before, so we were familiar with the structure.”

Supplies for the restoration came from funding set aside for service projects by Medford Township and the help of Open Space Coordinator Beth Portacalis and Township Manager Kathy Burger. Freedom Barks provided decking material and screws for the repairs and the Scouts and their adult leaders had tools such as battery-operated drills and a chop saw.

According to Amato, the project helped Scouts accumulate required service hours.

“It’s so important to get our young kids involved with volunteering,” Allen noted. “To get them excited about doing something in the community and that other people can enjoy is just such a joy. Being a young person today and just making sure that they’re getting those values, they will hopefully carry them on through life.”

The dog run was fenced off while the troop worked, and once the original plywood was removed, the fence reopened to the public.

“We had a lot of folks walking by as we were doing it that were kinda smiling,” Amato recalled. “You could tell they were grateful for the work that was being done.”

For their work, troop 49 members will be honored with a plaque in the near future.

“They [the Scouts] enjoyed being able to extend the life of the former award project,” Amato said.

Visit https://thesunpapers.com/2016/12/14/megan-applegate-earns-silver-award-after-paw-fect-project/  to read about the original project of the dog run.

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