Scouts complete Little Free Library
Josh Walker and Zoli Bedo, of Bedo Construction, stand in front of the newly-placed Little Free Library with junior Girl Scouts Ady Norton and Caylee DePauw. Walker and Bedo helped place the Little Free Library into the ground. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

When Girl Scout juniors team up to make an impact on their communities, they learn important leadership skills and discover new passions, all while witnessing how small actions can make a difference in a big way.

Thanks to the work of two local girl scouts, and assistance from fellow community members, a worldwide book-sharing movement has a new post in the Upper Keys.

Ady Norton and Caylee DePauw are both in their third year with the Girl Scout Troop 151 of the Upper Keys. The two Plantation Key School students both acknowledge how much fun they have spending time with the 14 other girls, ages 6-12, in the troop and partaking in various activities. And yes, DePauw says it gets her out the house, but it’s also allowing the junior scout to leave her imprint on the community.

“It’s very exciting,” she said.

Recently, the two junior girl scouts teamed up on a project to install a Little Free Library at the corner of Old Highway in front of Treasure Village Montessori as part of their Girl Scout Bronze Award project, a leadership adventure that more than half a million scouts do around the world.

“They earn three awards — bronze, silver and gold,” said Lizz Smoak, leader of Troop 151. “This is the first of those awards that requires a service project within the community to earn the award.”

“They had different projects they could choose, but the Little Library is nationwide,” she continued. “You can put it on a map, a computer, and if you’re visiting in an area you can look them up and they’re all marked. It’s their intention to be on the map for all to enjoy.”

The girls have to follow specific steps to get the award, including going on a journey to discover things about themselves, building a team, exploring the community and choosing the project. For Norton, the idea of a Little Free Library is something the community as a whole can use and enjoy.

“Kids can come after school and pick up a book,” she said. “Adults can too.”

DePauw said she was reading a magazine when she came across the Little Free Library Sharing Network. She also says she’s seen them while visiting her grandma in Sebring.

With more than 90,000 posts worldwide, Norton and DePauw identified a location outside TVM, which sponsored the project, and gained some help from Zoli Bedo and Josh Walker of Zoli Bedo Construction, and Bill Guy of All Southern Trucking and Bobcat to build and place the post into the ground.

Who can stop by the Little Free Library for a book? DePauw and Norton say anyone can visit and grab a book. People are also encouraged to leave a book when they take one for another reader to enjoy. To help fill the Little Free Library, Sue Woltanski is assisting as the biggest book donor.

With the Little Free Library post up outside TVM, the scouts will also be working to place one at Coco Plum in Key Largo.

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