Members of Girl Scout Troop 118 Cadettes are collecting books for a new reading space at Island Recreation Center. Calay Swift

Girl Scout Cadettes in Troop 118 are on a mission to make it easy for kids to snuggle up with a good book at the Island Recreation Center. So far, they have gotten permission for a dedicated space, collected more than 500 books, and have enlisted the help of a contractor to help them measure, build and paint bookshelves.

Not bad for a project that began just a few weeks ago.

Troop leader Calay Swift said the girls came up with the idea on their own as they were discussing possible community projects they could implement to earn their Silver Award – the highest honor a Cadette can achieve.

To earn the Silver Award, girls must learn about community issues, choose a project based on their findings, develop it, make a plan, implement the plan, and then share the story. Each girl is expected to spend a total of 50 hours working on the project.

Seventh graders Morgan Barron, Sophia Lazor and Natalie Wilson, and eighth grader Jayden Lopko discussed a number of issues they saw in the community. Swift said they came up with some great ideas – such as a spay-neuter clinic for feral cats, better running trails around the schools campus, and eliminating all plastics from the ocean. But those were a little out of their reach as far as time, money, scope, and red tape.

One of the girls is a regular at the Island Rec after-school program. She has watched the renovations over the past couple of years and enjoyed the new spaces and programs.

But she found there were few books available for kids to read while there, and most were for younger children. That’s how the idea for designing and stocking the book nook came to light.

“We approached Bethany Brown, preschool and youth director, with the idea of creating a fun space full of books and she loved it,” Swift said.

The Cadettes will build and paint the shelves, purchase a fun carpet, add lighting and even sew their own bean bag chairs, Swift said, to create an inviting space to snuggle in with a good book.

All the girls love to read and are excited to share their love of reading with others. When the nook is complete, they will also spend time reading with younger Island Rec participants.

The girls are inviting the community to help stock the shelves they will be building over the next month. They would like to outfit the nook with gently read books for all ages, particularly preteen and young adult.

Book donation boxes can be found through the end of February at the Art of Massage & Yoga, First Presbyterian Day School, at Island Rec Child Care entrance, and at each girls’ home.