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Gold Award

Girl Scout Leaves Watermark On Rowing Community

Alexis Barron, middle, pictured in a red sweatshirt, rows with the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association after departing from the floating dock she helped build. The fixture was finished and installed in the Chadakoin River next to McCrea Point Park in September 2018. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

If Girl Scout Alexis Barron’s lifestyle could be summed up in one word, it would be “rowing.”

Propelling herself forward, whether across lake and river waters or through successful journeys through high school and scouting, Barron’s had an eye for rowing ever since middle school when she joined the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association’s High School Club Team.

Barron has made her way through the ranks in Girl Scouts as well, and in an effort to combine her passions into one, she spearheaded a Take Action service project to create a floating dock on the Chadakoin River behind the Rowing Association boat house at 18 Jones and Gifford Ave.

In doing so, the young lady became a recipient of the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

“I was able to build a six-section dock with ramp and concrete footer,” Barron said. “It took nine months to finish.”

Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Alexis Barron displays a poster detailing her servant leadership project. Along with family and other volunteers, her work entailed building a floating dock behind the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association boat house. She stands in front of the fiberglass rowboat she used to use when she competed for the High School Club Team. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

Adjacent to another floating dock constructed 14 years ago, the sports team now has another space to launch from for practices. A pair of eight-person rowboats can launch simultaneously, and when one dock is being used for boats to launch and return to shore, another is still available for those who want to fish and enjoy the scenery next to McCrea Point Park.

Barron helped lead 20 people to assist with her project from January to September 2018. From the planning process to completion, she put in about 125 hours into the service project alone. Family, friends and other scouts and athletes assisted with the construction of the floating dock and ramp.

The riverbank needed cleared of foliage before the dock’s pieces could be installed. A skeleton, with sections referred to as “coffins,” was built for each of the six interconnecting pieces of the new dock. Buoyant tanks filled in the spaces before crews placed each new platform on the water.

“We had a ton of people here just to pick them up,” Barron said.

Volunteers balanced the wooden structures with rope and lowered them slowly into the near-shore area behind the boat house last summer.

Barron said the biggest part of the project was creating the ramp, which rises and falls with the water line. Connected to a concrete footer, the entire dock should be in place for recreationalists to use for decades to come.

“What better way to give back to the community than (to) build a dock for the club and local park to use,” Barron said.

She just completed her freshman year at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. Barron is a dual major in athletic training and sports medicine with a concentration in physical therapy. Now she serves as a board member for the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association, and she has organized getting new shirts and hats for club members. As the high school team has 16 members currently, she wants to help recruit more interested students for the team.

Barron helps give pointers to team members propelling the fiberglass rowboats the team uses for practices and races.

As a former state champion and rowing athlete at Mercyhurst, she hopes her passion for the sport is infectious for young people. Local youth from seventh grade to 12th grade can become club members. The Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association can be contacted at facebook.com/rowchautauqua.

Follow Eric Zavinski at twitter.com/EZavinski

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