SPARTA, NJ – Visitors to Wallkill Wildlife Refuge in Sussex County have access to two “little free libraries” created by Brianna Conlon. Conlon built the book sharing structures for her Eagle Scout project.
Conlon said she undertook the project after contacting the refuge. They offered a list of projects and this spoke to her.
“I’m an avid reader,” Conlon said. “This nested with my passion and values.”
Troop 150 Scout Master “Uncle” Joe Fucito helped with the woodworking, including donating the wood for the project, Conlon said.
The project took about month to complete. She used the $400 raised on her GoFundMe page, mostly from donations of family and scouts.
Conlon said a local library that was shutting down allowed her to take books for her library efforts.
In addition to being a member of Scout Troop 1150, Conlon is President of the Venturing Crew and is a member of the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of BSA for scouts who “best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives” according to the Boy Scouts of America.
Conlon said she had wanted to be part of the boy scouts, following her father and grandfather who are also Eagle Scouts. Her brother is also a boy scout and she saw he “always had fun. She initially joined Venturing Scouts, a co-ed branch of Boy Scouts of America available to 14 to 20-year-olds, “because girls could join.”
“I love the experience of Venturing,” Conlon said.
Conlon is a senior and a member of the Drama Club, the National Spanish Honor Society and National Honor Society. She is looking to go to a four-year college to major in psychology. She was also a girl scout.
To earn Scouting’s highest rank,honorees must work their way up through the lower ranks, each one requiring leadership, community service, practical skills and a quota of merit badges. Their final project requires candidates to be project managers covering the planning, fundraising, staffing, execution and documentation of a service project to benefit the community. At each rank advancement they must also show that they live their lives to the Scout Oath and Law, which requires them to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
On the way to Eagle, a Scout must progress through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life Scout and earn 21 merit badges or more. Only about 7% of Scouts attain the rank of Eagle.