ATKINSON — Less time in front of a screen can do more than just give your eyes a rest, and 18-year-old Girl Scout Audrey Latino of Atkinson can prove it.

As part of Latino's Gold Award project — the highest achievement Girl Scouts can earn — Latino created a treasure hunt with several stops, and no room for cellphones, tablets or computer screens, called the "Look Up Atkinson Treasure Hunt."

 

The treasure hunt kicks off at the Kimball Library on Wednesday with a workshop led by Latino from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For those unable to attend the workshop, treasure hunt maps and highlighted locations with instructions will be available at the library.

Latino said the map takes hunters to seven different locations, where they will find a question and one activity they may do at the spot, like taking advantage of a playground or exploring trails. 

The experience is not the only treasure hunters can look for — Latino said the winner of the hunt who has answered all of the questions correctly will have a chance to win a four pack of passes to Canobie Lake Park in Salem.

According to Latino, if she were to leave an impression on anyone completing the hunt, it would be that she would want the kids to see that they should appreciate each moment in life.

 

"They don't need their phone," Latino said of kids. "There's more to life than screens."

Latino, who started with Girl Scouts as a Daisy in kindergarten, said the hunt is an awareness campaign to get youth and families in the community to take a break from their screens and live in the moment, enjoying the world around them. 

Latino said the downside with spending time in front of screens is that "you miss out on the moments happening right in front of you. We don't live long."

 

To earn the Gold Award, girl scouts must face a board to gain approval, complete 80 hours of service related to their project, and submit a final report which will either be denied or accepted. 

The idea to pursue her Gold Award came from a play that she wrote last year when she attended Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen. Latino's project adviser is lifelong friend Lynn Tabiatnejad, a former technology teacher at PMA.

The comedy, called "Look Up," involved scenes where a marriage proposal went wrong, and people were texting and driving, walking into street poles, and not paying attention at a birthday party, according to Latino. 

Latino will be continuing her education this fall at the University of Connecticut, where she will be studying acting. 

The treasure hunt is open to people of all ages and ends on July 29. Winners will be announced on July 31.

 

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