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Girl Scouts-Created Little Free Libraries Dedicated in Erlanger

The City of Erlanger joined Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Girl Scout Troop 1801 Tuesday to dedicate two Free Little Libraries designed and built by two award-winning members of the Troop.

Girl Scouts Clara Jamison and Selena Peru of Troop 1801 earned the Girl Scouts Silver Award for creating the Free Little Libraries, which are located at Silverlake Park and Depot Park in Erlanger.

Free Little Libraries are a network of more than 90,000 public book-sharing exchange boxes located in communities across the country.

"We are honored that these fine young Girl Scouts chose Erlanger for an award winning project that will enhance reading and learning opportunities in our community," said Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette. "We are proud to recognize and embrace the talent, commitment and community spirit of Clara and Selena and we thank and congratulate them for their work on this tremendous project."

Clara and Selena, both freshmen at Dixie Heights High School, partnered with the City of Erlanger, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and the Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road council on the Free Little Libraries project.

The girls spent over 100 hours on this project as the final component of earning their Silver Award.

The Silver Award is the highest honor a cadette can achieve. Girls who have won this award identify an issue they care about, develop a project and put it into motion.

Clara and Selena were particularly interested in addressing the issue on literacy within their community.

"I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember," Selena said. "I feel as though children should have the same opportunities that I had when I was younger – including access to great books. I also live in Erlanger and have a personal connection to this area, so I really wanted to do a project in my home town."

"I love books," Clara said. "I read all the time and want to share my love of stories and characters with others. When you have fun reading, you can learn new things and see things in different ways. Reading helps you grow in so many ways."

Troop 1801 Leader Mandy Jamison described Clara and Selena as "amazing young ladies who are great examples of what Girl Scouting is all about."

"They have repeatedly shown courage by stepping outside of their comfort zone and tackling issues that are important to them," Jamison said. "By completing this culminating project to earn their Silver Award, not only are they having a direct impact on their communities, but they have gained the confidence and skills necessary to put together a team of community members to take on large scale projects that are bigger than just themselves."

Selena joined Girl Scouts in first grade after a friend invited her to a meeting of Troop 1801.

"Once I got there, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and my newfound friendships. I begged my mom to let me join and now I have been a member for eight years," she said. "The best part about Girl Scouts is gaining leadership skills."

Clara said her favorite part of Girl Scouts is being with her friends.

"We go on lots of adventures together," she said. "We have been snorkeling with real manatees, kayaking, summer camp, to see the ballet, and snow tubing. I like getting to try new things and go new places. Girls should join Girl Scouts because it’s a place where you can be yourself and make lifelong friends. I met my best friends in Girl Scouts in first grade and now we are in high school."

Troop Leader Jamison said Clara and Selena continuously live out the Girl Scout law.

"They have had lots of practice since they have both been Girl Scouts since they were in first grade at Caywood Elementary," Jamison said. "They love to help others. Whether that means picking up trash along Turkeyfoot Road, making ‘calming jars’ for the Family Nurturing Center, sorting food donations at Action ministries, or helping younger scouts learn outdoor skills at Day Camp, they are always looking for ways to make their world a better place."

-Staff report