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Eagle Scout hopeful takes charge of labyrinth project

August 20, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Some time ago, Eagle Scout candidate Kyle Downs learned that the Clear Spring Garden Club was contemplating putting a permanent outdoor labyrinth on the grounds of Leonard P. Snyder Memorial Library.

While they were still contemplating, Kyle decided to take charge of the project for his Eagle Scout project.

Soon the project will be completed and people will be able to contemplate all sorts of things while they wind their way slowly around the ancient shape designed to inspire spiritual exploration.

"The garden club is funding the work," said 16-year-old Kyle, the son of Andy Downs and his wife, Cindy, who is president of the garden club.

Early on, Kyle and his mother visited the labyrinth at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Cearfoss Pike to learn more.

"I got the design I'm using from the Internet," Kyle said. "It is an octagon that is 22 feet in diameter."

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While some might believe that a maze and a labyrinth are the same, there is a big difference.

"Unlike a maze, there are no wrong turns in a labyrinth," Kyle said.

The steady, intentional rhythm of walking is supposed to let one's mind relax, perhaps into a form of meditation, or just lead to a more peaceful place.

Kyle said he is also planning to install a concrete bench in the center of the labyrinth so walkers can stop to rest.

The labyrinth is just north of the library building and is close to the school memorial garden for deceased students, Kyle said.

The paving bricks for the labyrinth were obtained from Steffey-Findlay at a discount. Mark Myers has been lending a brick cutter to Kyle when he needs to shape the bricks to fit the pattern.

Once all the bricks are in, a sand product will be worked into the cracks. That product hardens like concrete once water hits it, Cindy Downs said.

"I started planning in the spring, with work beginning after school ended in June," Kyle said.

He has been coordinating his work with the times the brick cutter is available, and hopes to finish up before school is back in session.

Kyle is a member of Troop 117 and is a Life Scout. He is an incoming junior at Clear Spring High School.

Though he isn't sure what he wants to do yet, Kyle tentatively plans to follow his older brother to study at Shippensburg (Pa.) University.

Alan Downs, 19, is an Eagle Scout.

"I went to camp at Sinoquipe for two weeks this summer, one week of which was leadership training," Kyle said.

When not studying or doing his Scout work, Kyle is active in indoor and outdoor track, as well as cross country. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.

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