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Recent Articles and Notes about Quincy High School

Ready To Test Their Limits

Ready to test their limits

Friday, August 4, 2006
By Holly Wagner

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A group of 12- and 13-year-old girls has been trudging up and down Quincy's riverfront bluffs twice a week since April, carrying backpacks.

They've gradually increased their distance to seven miles, and then 10 miles. Fourteen miles is the goal.

As difficult as that seems in the heat, what they're preparing for could be even hotter and more difficult, so they want to be ready.

The group is Girl Scout Troop 119 from St. James Lutheran Church. They leave at 4 a.m. Aug. 10 for a trip that includes a stop at Mount Rushmore, a stay in Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone, a side trip to Arches at Moab, Utah, and hikes in Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.

They'll also go whitewater rafting, take a Hummer across a mesa and ride horses out to a chuckwagon cookout dinner.

"I get excited just talking about it," troop leader Patti McNay said. "We're all ready to load up and go tomorrow."

McNay began planning the trip and making reservations two years ago. To keep costs down, she arranged for lodging through Girl Scout Councils along the way.

On the first night, in Lyman, Colo., instead of the keys to the city, they'll be receiving the keys to city hall. That's where the Lyman Girl Scouts meet.

When McNay and her troop arrive in town, they'll call the sheriff and he'll unlock the town hall and hand over the keys. Then the girls from the two troops will gather for a pizza party.

For the rest of their nights on the road, the girls will experience everything from the luxury of Old Faithful Lodge, to sharing the floor and bunks in Roosevelt Towers.

Original projections put the cost of the trip around $400 a person. But that was before gas prices rose. With a little outside help, they plan to raise enough to leave $110 per girl for food for the trip.

"We'll be eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly," McNay said.

Going on the trip are Katarina Bowles, Nicole Duesdieker, Valya and Roza Panos, Mia McNay and Audrey O'Dear. Several mothers are also going.

Duesdieker said she had to clean her friend's barnstall to raise money for the trip.

"It will be totally worth it," Duesdieker said. "I've heard this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I'll never get to do this when I'm older."

Bowles said she's never been away from her parents for so long before, and she admits she's a bit nervous something will happen. But she's determined to make it a fun trip.

"I've never been out West. It's gonna be fun," she said.

The girls have sold 200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies each the last two years, and have paid McNay $10 a month for the last 22 months.

"They've had to work for it," McNay said. "I told their parents, 'You cannot just give it to them.' Otherwise, if they get out there, and it was a gift, they're going to be whiny children. But if it's something they work for (they'll appreciate it more).

"We're not sure what conditions we'll get. The girls kept hiking (recently) when a storm hit. And it's why they can't let the heat stop them."

Troop 119 is only one of three troops McNay leads. She recently took a dozen 10- and 11-year-olds to Chicago, where they learned how to use the subway, stayed overnight in a youth hostel and stuck their toes in Lake Michigan.

McNay enjoys giving girls the experience of a lifetime.

"When they go back to school, they're going to be able to say, 'We did it.' For that age, I think it's just going to give them so much confidence that they can do anything. They can do anything they put their mind to," she said.

"That's the whole goal of setting a challenge so high, so there would be that long-term effect that comes from it. It's been a joy."

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