On perhaps the nicest day of summer yet, 17-year-old Damien Young and about two dozen other high school students from across Anchorage were paving the way to a better community.

The teenagers are part of the Municipality of Anchorage’s Youth Employment in Parks program. This week they were hired to build a gravel trail connecting the Scenic Foothills neighborhood near Muldoon Road to Far North Bicentennial Park.

“They probably don’t like all the noise, but they are really going to enjoy the trail when it’s done,” Young explained.

Scenic Foothills trail near Muldoon Road. Photo courtesy Youth Employment in Parks

Scenic Foothills trail near Muldoon Road. Photo courtesy Youth Employment in Parks

“There’s a lot of diversity and everyone comes from different backgrounds but we all came together,” said 16-year-old Sarah Nunes. “It’s cool to see how everyone working together, we can accomplish something really big.”

The Scenic Foothills neighborhood has asked for these improvements for years. Each wheelbarrow full of gravel is a step closer to better trail access.

“It makes me feel great because it means so much to people and because I’m giving people a good trail in somewhere where their family can have fun and enjoy the wildlife and outside,” Young said.

Youth Employment in Parks leads these teens down a path full of teamwork, service and perhaps even a future career, according to the program’s website.

This week’s project is just the first of five projects these teens will tackle this summer, including improvements to Cuddy Family Park and the South Anchorage Sports Park.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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