Just like the Olympics, in the Girl Scouts of America, you can earn the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. This year in our area, two girls worked all Summer to attain the silver award. The silver award is the second-highest award as a Girl Scout. It’s basically for 6th-8th-grade girls, and you can only get it during those school years. To earn the silver, you have to already have completed and earned the bronze award first. The second girl to do so from this Girl Scout Troop #2659, is Maelynn Howell. In August, the Portsmouth Daily Times wrote about Howell’s friend and fellow girl Scout, Savannah Williams and how she was looking to get the silver. Each girl did their own project, Williams’ project was bees and Howell’s project was a free library box.
There are five girls in this Girl Scout troop, Troop # 2659 and their advisor is Karen Crum.
Howell says, “My project is a little free library. A little free library is to help people who don’t have transportation to go to a public library or don’t have enough money to buy any books. It helps the community by giving people the opportunity to read more books. You have to have 50 or more hours to complete the silver award. During the research, I realized that a lot of people designed their little free library as houses. So, I decided I wanted something different. That was challenging because we thought we were finished, but the wood bowed, so we had to put a metal top on it, so the rain wouldn’t leak through it and get the books wet.”
Howell continued, “There were also some people who help me. My father helped me with the wood and welding the box and things like that, my mother helped me gather books, and the Portsmouth West Middle School let me put the Little Free Library there. Sheree Crandall, the librarian, is the caretaker of the library and people have donated flyers to help advertise my project and a bunch of people have donated books to keep the Little Free Library going. There’s also a park right beside where it is located, so people can get a book and enjoy it at the park. My little free library is also on the worldwide map of libraries. I advertised my project at the Scioto County Fair. I went there most of the time to tell what my project was about and where it was located. I hope I inspired people from building a Little Free Library to build one themselves and help the community like I did. I’m active in the community myself, and I play volleyball, basketball, softball, I’m in the FFA and Girl Scouts. My next goal is to complete the highest award you can get, the gold award.”
Another thing that Howell’s Little Free Library does is it helps recycle books, instead of just throwing them away. People can donate books back as they take books, but she wants them to get books to read. She said that you don’t have to put books in place others if you don’t want to do so. Originally, she was going to put it in Earl Thomas Conley Park, but the librarian felt it would go better at the school. So her mother, Tracee, and her got permission to have it at the schools. Howell put some of her own books in the library and then a few people were giving away books this summer on Facebook and they got those to put in the box. The Little Free Library has been used and books have been taken to be read. In the library, there are a variety of books, but they want the books to be appropriate for all to read.
To get approved for the silver award, you have to submit the project you are going to do and it has to be a problem that is in your community, like how it affects your community and the people that live there and Howell felt that the problem was that there were not always books available for those who couldn’t get to a library, to read. Then you have to present it to the committee, along with who is going to sustain your project when you are done or older, like the librarian at West Middle Schoool. And there has to be a minimum of 50 hours put into the project and Howell had to justify those hours.
The Girl Scouts that are still in our area, have some very dedicated young ladies in this group and Howell has put in the work especially during the Summer when other girls were just relaxing and enjoying their time off, Howell was doing her research and putting her project for the silver together. This, is something that should be recognized as a job well done.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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