SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – John Jay High School junior and Vista Girl Scout Troop member Zoe Horton was tired of the way the southern entrance of the Lewisboro Library looked.
The retaining walls around the sidewalk were old, unsightly and, worse, they were beginning to collapse, she said. The plantings surrounding the walls left much to be desired. That’s when it struck her: fixing the entranceway would make an excellent Gold Award project.
The Gold Award is the Girl Scout’s equivalent to the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout designation and Horton had been struggling to come up with a way to earn the coveted accolade.
“I was having trouble coming up with an idea,” she said. “Then I walked into the library and saw those walls caving in and the bushes around it, which were kind of ugly. So, I talked to my parents and they thought it was a good idea [to fix it].”
Horton spoke with Gary Page, the president of the library board of trustees, as well as the crew that maintains the library’s grounds for their approval. She then needed to get the green light from the Girl Scouts Council, which she got after filling out some paperwork.
Every Gold Award project needs an advisor and it just so happens that Horton’s father, Ken, is a contractor. He agreed to join the team and lend his daughter his expertise – and a backhoe.
“He’s helping to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Horton said of her dad’s participation.
Horton then recruited some fellow Girl Scouts, some Boy Scouts, friends and family members to round out her construction crew. She approached Ring’s End, a building material store, about donating some lumber, and they happily agreed to help out.
“It was a very generous donation,” said Horton, who will also ask area nurseries to donate plants and shrubs to be used to put the finishing touches on the entranceway makeover.
Horton and her team are working weekends to complete the project. They began last Saturday and hope to have it finished in a couple more weeks if the weather cooperates.
“Once it’s finished, I have to send in a log of the hours I’ve worked along with pictures of the progression of the project (to the Girl Scouts Council),” Horton said.
Cindy Rubino, the library’s director, said she was thrilled the entranceway was being rebuilt. She said the library had been putting it off for years.
“I’m just so pleased she chose her Gold Award project for the library,” Rubino said. “[The entranceway] has been a long-standing problem. We’re just grateful to her whole family and her friends. She’s doing a wonderful job – it looks fresh and new and the hazards are being removed. We’ve had a lot of positive comments from the patrons.”
Horton said the work has been physically demanding, but she’s more than willing to take it on.
“You kind of anticipate the physical labor,” she said. “There’s a lot of lifting and digging, but it’s not too bad. The project makes me feel like I am doing something to help the community and it’s something everyone will see.”
The library is currently working on plans to renovate and expand and hopes to begin work in the summer of 2013. Horton said officials have told her they’ll likely be able to preserve the work she’s doing when the renovations begin.