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The Scouts have not only been building a wall-to-wall bookshelf but collecting books to stock it.
Photo courtesy of Michelle FisherPoff The members of Girl Scout Troop 1180 display the tools they have been using to bookshelf for the Roanoke Rescue Mission. Front row left to right are Erynn Martin, Sonja Taylor, Grace FisherPoff
back row from the left: Julia Bledsoe, Rachel Roberts, Matilda Vladu, Audrey Taylor, Hannah Sparrow.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
They’ve been Daisies and Brownies, and now the group of 10-year-olds are carpenters, showing they aren’t afraid of working hard and learning new things, especially if it’s to help others.
The members of Girl Scout Troop 1180 at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church have spent most of their Saturdays — since the end of June — collecting books, swinging hammers, measuring lumber and working with power tools to nail, sand, drill and paint a bookshelf for the Roanoke Rescue Mission’s women’s and children’s center.
The bookshelf is part of a project for the girls to earn a Girl Scout award.
What started out as a simply 4-by-8-foot bookcase replacement has turned into a wall-to-wall unit because the Scouts excelled in getting materials and supplies donated from the community as part of the project guidelines, explained Michelle FisherPoff, troop leader and mother of one of the Scouts.
“We are basically replacing a whole wall,” she said, explaining that the girls have spent three-hour increments working on the oak plywood unit at her home on Saturdays.
After the fourth and final coat of white paint is applied Saturday, the unit will be installed Wednesday in the center’s “The Kidz Klub,” a quiet space for children and their parents to read or get books to take back to their rooms.
Other youth groups have come to the Rescue Mission to volunteer: serving meals, washing dishes, making beds and serving in Children’s Chapel. The 10-year-old members of Troop 1180, however, appear to be the youngest to conduct a project of the magnitude of building and installing a bookshelf, said Leslie Littlefield, volunteer coordinator.
“I’m very, very impressed that they took this on,” Littlefield said of the fifth-grade Scouts. “Somebody’s shown them how to use tools.”
Although Troop Leader FisherPoff said “this is the first time these girls have done significant wood work,” her daughter, Grace, wasn’t exactly a novice when the troop began using power tools.
Grace said she helped her dad, Tim, make a radiator cover and helped build a bookcase for her room.
“I enjoyed the nail gun. I think it’s fun to put nails in wood,” she said, adding she eventually wants to build a bench for one of the local walking trails.
Tim FisherPoff and another father, Steve Taylor, have been the contractors and foremen on the project. FisherPoff has gained “a lot woodworking experience from home improvement projects,” according to his wife.
“It’s fun; it’s a cool experience; it’s exciting,” Hannah Sparrow said of working on the bookshelf project.
“I learned to use equipment. I liked it because I’m doing something for other people,” Hannah added.
The Scouts were familiar with the Rescue Mission because they had a conducted a blanket drive for the southeast Roanoke facility last year, FisherPoff said.
After a more recent visit to the mission, the girls, all avid readers, considered the new bookshelf as a group project and conducting individual book drives to fill the new shelves as part of their individual project for the Bronze Award, the highest achievement a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.
Sonja Taylor said she remembers seeing the old bookshelf but it “didn’t look unsteady” until someone touched it and it shook. She said she also learned that most of the books on the shelves were for younger children and that many of the children didn’t have books of their own.
“I knew we had to build a better bookshelf,” she said.
Sonja said she’s learned “how to work as a team and how good it is to donate and how to use power tools and how to paint properly so it looks good.”
She’s already collected about 60 books, mainly in boxes she’s placed at Pop’s Ice Cream & Soda Bar on Memorial Avenue.
Monique Taylor, Sonja’s mom, is proud of the Scouts and speaks highly of area businesses, churches and others who have supported and assisted Troop 1180.
“It’s wonderful outreach for our daughters to witness — the outpouring support of the community,” she said.
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