ALPENA - Girl Scout Cadet Sydney Mecheau earned the highest achievement for a junior high student when she finished installing a Little Free Library near the entrance of the breakwall at the Alpena Small Boat Harbor on Friday.
"The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest honor a Cadet can earn in junior high and it requires a minimum of 50 plus hours of work," Girl Scout Troop Leader Deb Milostan said.
Milostan said Mecheau sought the funds to sponsor the project, and "she had some really good donations."
News Photo by Paige Edwards
Girl Scout Cadet Sydney Mecheau stocks the shelves of the Little Free Library that she built and installed with the help of family, scholarships and local business contributions at the breakwall entrance of the Alpena Small Boat Harbor on Friday.
The Silver Award requires seven steps before the award is given including the project requirement of being within the local community beyond the Girl Scout community.
"It's been wonderful the entire nine years I've been (a part of the Girl Scouts). I've got an amazing leader. We've been camping and do community service, so it's a lot of fun. If you want to join do it," Mecheau said.
Milostan said Mecheau's love of books further drove the young Cadet.
"She is an avid reader which is why she took this on as her project, to spread her love of books," Milostan said.
Mecheau's idea to build the little library stemmed from another library she saw when traveling.
"I can't remember what city it was in but I saw a little box and it had a couple of books in it," she said.
Mecheau said she did not recognize what the box was and she used the Internet to search, "little box with books in it."
"(The search) pulled up the Little Free Library Foundation and I checked out their website a bit. It had some cool stuff on there. I decided that I wanted to build one of these to help little kids," Mecheau said.
The goal behind the free libraries is "take a book, return a book" in order to share favorite literature and stories according to the Little Free Library website.
"There's a sign that I can get from the Little Free Library to put on (the library)," Mecheau said.
Mecheau had help from family, friends and local sponsors along the way including Alpena Supply, Frontier Communications, Home Depot, Thunder Bay Shores Marina, Northern Tool, Werth Development LLC, and the Zonta Club of Alpena.
"Leslie Dort (of the Downtown Development Authority) helped find the location," Mecheau said.
Mecheau worked on the project all summer and spent over 50 hours writing essays to obtain scholarships, designing and building the little library.
"There were days I worked on it from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.," she said.
Mecheau's main goal in building the free library is to help spread the love of reading.
"Inspiration came from seeing tons of little kids and other kids complain about reading. It's important for them to be reading for literacy and learning to love books. I wanted to do something to help," Mecheau said.
For further information about Little Free Library visit www.littlefreelibrary.org.
Information about the Girl Scouts may be found online at www.girlscouts.org.
Paige Edwards can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Paige on Twitter @pt_alpenanews.