By Danielle Ray, Senior Reporter
Members of Girl Scouts Troop #64696 recently completed their Bronze Award project, a leave one/take one bookcase, and five of the seven Juniors in the troop celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 13.
This is the final project for the girls, who are all entering sixth grade in the fall at Thomas Prince School – they are not continuing Girl Scouts next year.
“It was a bittersweet moment for us,” said troop co-leader Andrea Surabian, whose daughter Hannah Gervais is in the troop that began when the girls were in first grade. “Proud that they were able to complete their Bronze Award, but sad this is it for them.”
The girls started their project earlier this past school year, during the pandemic, “as a way to make sure people in our area had easy access to books,” Surabian said. “Literacy is important to them, and they wanted to make sure books were available for all age groups from young to older readers. Now that the state is ‘open,’ this is still a great place to pay it forward, especially with the ‘take one, leave one’ motto.”
Surabian said there are seven “little tweety birds” on the sides of the bookcase featuring the initials of the Girl Scouts who participated in the project.
“Each girl had a responsibility in making this idea a reality,” she said. “For example, one girl donated the paint, another girl donated the wood from her old toy chest for the top section of the bookcase, another girl coordinated book donation, and someone added the bird accents on the bookcase.”
The girls all worked together one day to paint the vibrant, colorful bookcase and the base. Surabian said they called the project “the not so little library,” an ode to the Little Free Libraries that have popped up all over the place internationally, “just because of the size of it.”
“The girls worked on this project little by little, pulling all the pieces together that they had worked on separately and together, responsibilities which the Girls Scouts call girl-led tasks, and officially completed it once all the books were placed in their not so little free library bookcase at the ribbon cutting.”
Surabian said the owner of Post Office Place gave them permission to place the bookcase in the plaza.
“He and his family were there for our little presentation as was the owner of The Thirsty Lab,” she said. “It seems to be the perfect location, near the outdoor seating section of the plaza and also near the senior center.”
Bronze Award is the highest achievement Girl Scouts Juniors can complete.
“This project meant a lot, especially with seeing how much these girls have grown over the last five years,” Surabian said. “They were able to incorporate some of the core values of the Girl Scouts, such as ‘making the world a better place’ and “using resources wisely,’ i.e., the paint and wood.”
Surabian said she and co-leader Felicia Kokernak, whose daughter Alyssa Kokernak is also a troop member, are “very proud” of the girls’ accomplishment.
“It was so nice to see how proud they were of each other as well, and how they cheer each other on and how their concept and idea was made into a reality,” Surabian said. “It was nice to see how the girls learned, among other things, that they can still make an impact while coordinating ideas at home separately or together during a Girl Scouts meeting, and how they all really wanted to make a positive impact and lasting contribution to their community.
“Over this last year they have all learned to be thankful, grateful, and resourceful,” she continued. “It was a big accomplishment for them to complete their Bronze Award this year, and how it will be something that can stay in our community for years to come.”

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