Troop 29 Brownies Unveil ‘Little Library’ at Ocean Acres Lake Park in Stafford

By DAVID BIGGY | Jun 19, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy

Stafford Township — Girls Scouts sell cookies. It’s just something they do. Well, this year, the Brownies of Girl Scout Troop 29 decided to turn the funds they had raised from their cookie sales into several things that would benefit others in profound ways for years to come.

“The girls sold 4,800 boxes of cookies,” said troop leader Jennifer Giouzelis, whose crew is comprised of 14 girls. “With part of the money we received, the first project was to make Linus blankets for kids in the hospital. And then we came up with the idea for a ‘Little Library’ for the park.”

In a brief ceremony on June 12, each of the girls had a pair of scissors on hand to cut a rainbow-colored ribbon, signifying the library’s unveiling to the public. The library is located at Ocean Acres Lake Park on Buccaneer Lane in Ocean Acres, situated right behind a pair of benches.

“We wanted to do something nice for the community, so this is what we decided to do,” said Brynn Angelozzi, adding that the girls had several options, but the library ended up at the top of the list because they all like to read books. “If somebody wants to read something, they can just come here and get a book. We thought people would like it.”

Measuring a couple feet wide and tall and a depth of roughly a foot, the library is constructed of wood, has an angled roof and was painted a bluish-gray color with an aqua-colored door, which also has a glass pane for easy viewing of the books inside. It has a solar panel atop the roof, which ignites a light inside the box when it’s dark. The girls also painted rocks with their names on them to decorate the base of the mounting post.

“We decorated the library with mermaid tails and put all our names on it,” said Sara Giouzelis. “It didn’t take us very long, maybe three or four weeks. Victoria Spirito’s grandpa made the box, and Catherine Miller’s mom painted the base colors, and then we did the rest. We wanted it to have an ocean theme.”

The girls also conducted a book drive and collected more than 1,000 books, according to the scout leader. The concept for the “little library” is simple – if you want to read a book, borrow it, free of charge, or exchange one book for another, and then return the book that was borrowed when you’re finished reading it.

“I like the mermaid prints and how it’s a good size. It can fit a lot of books, but I’m not sure how many,” Spirito said. “Every week, one of the girls from the troop will check to see if it needs to be filled, and hopefully a lot of people use it.”

Jennifer Giouszelis said the excess books that don’t make it into the library will be donated to the Bridge of Books Foundation in Holmdel, an organization that provides books to children in underserved communities.

“It’s important for the girls to understand it’s always good to give back to the community,” she said. “Volunteering and giving your time and energy to benefit the others is always a good thing.”

Stafford Mayor Gregory Myhre, an Eagle Scout who not only lives nearby but is supportive of any beneficial effort scouts within the community want to provide, was on hand for the ceremony.

“It’s great to see the teamwork and what the girls put together, and I like the fact it’s totally community based,” he said. “I saw a few books I’m interested in, and my kids, who like the library anyway, probably will be here borrowing a book sometimes as well. Hopefully this will serve the community for years to come. It’s a great spot, and I’m excited to see the response to it.”

In addition to Sara Giouzelis, Spirito, Miller and Angelozzi, the rest of the girls in the troop are Adelyn Sikorski, Rylee MacIntyre, Madeline Fischer, Briar Longo, Ava Junker, Kylie O’Connor, Maggie Greco, Savannah Fischer, Karolina Colino and Jordyn Lewczak. The troop meets every other Tuesday during the school year at Ocean Acres Community Center.

— David Biggy

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