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Aspiring Eagle Scout's project will be a story for the ages

Boy Scout Connor Lemay of Tilton and Hall-Memorial Library’s children’s librarian, Kelly Finemore, are pleased to announce the popular tale, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” will be the first book available for children and families to enjoy once Lemay’s Eagle Scout project, a StoryWalk on the Winnipesaukee River Trail in Northfield, is completed next month. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 20, 2011
NORTHFIELD — Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton's Boy Scout Troop 82 is proud to have yet another member about to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, as 13-year old Connor Lemay of Tilton begins his task to create a StoryWalk Project along the Winnipesaukee River Trail in Northfield.

The eighth grader is currently a straight-A student at Sant Bani School who has only been in scouting for the past two and a half years.

While some Scouts may take longer to work their way through the many requirements and badges necessary to becoming an Eagle Scout, to Lemay, it was just a matter of applying himself.

"I look at scouting as a challenge. I've worked on my badges a little each day to get them all done. You've got to want it," he said.

As Lemay contemplated what he would do for scouting's highest honor, he said he considered three projects.

The focus of an Eagle Scout project is on the community, and he ultimately decided a StoryWalk would benefit the most people in many ways. Hall-Memorial Library's trustees and children's librarian Kelly Finemore were not only pleased with his selection; Finemore pledged her assistance with the walk.

"Anything that promotes families reading together is a plus for literacy and the library," she said.

The StoryWalk Project is the trademarked creation of Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vt., developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The StoryWalk Projects are spreading throughout the country, and benefit each community through the promotion of literacy, as well as exercise and a special time spent together as children and adults make their way along each walk to read the book selection.

In order to move forward with the project, Lemay had to seek approval and cooperation from the Boy Scout Council, Hall-Memorial Library, the Winnipesaukee River Trail Association, as well as local selectmen and parks commissions. He found he was met with much enthusiasm for the project after every presentation he made.

Work on the WRT StoryWalk Project is already underway. Lemay estimates it will take a few weeks to complete the setting of each of the 18 posts along the trail, and he will then need to construct the reading platforms, which will hold two pages of each book chosen for the walk.

Finemore said she hopes to change the stories often, but will begin with the popular tale, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

Lemay has also volunteered to assist the library with the book exchange whenever necessary. Both he and Finemore envision nearby elementary schools, daycare centers, Head Start groups, summer camps and families all taking advantage of the beauty of the WRT while they enjoy a good book.

"It can really be a win-win situation for a lot of people and children's organizations," said proud mom Katina Lemay, who also assists with the troop.

Out of their 15 members, local Boy Scout Troop 82 currently boasts three Eagle Scouts and six Life Scouts, the level achieved just prior to Eagle Scout. Previous Eagle Scout projects have constructed a shelter at Hermit Lake beach in Sanbornton, a program to assist new mothers at the Carey House in Laconia, and two dugouts at Sanbornton Recreation area's ball park.

Lemay's StoryWalk will begin on the trail at Surrette Park in Northfield, and run west to Cross Mill Road. In making this project a reality, he is required to involve the community, and therefore is seeking further assistance from residents and businesses in the Winnisquam region.

Podiums along the way holding pages of each book can be sponsored by companies and individuals for $100 each. Lemay will recognize each contribution with a plaque bearing the name of the sponsor. He has ten sponsorships to date, and hopes to find others willing to help with the remaining eight reading stations, but there are other ways people can assist.

Finemore said the library will respect and benefit each author whose work is selected by purchasing new books, rather than using donated copies. Those who would like to donate $25 towards those purchases will be recognized on the first podium of the walk when their book is featured.

"We're asking for $25 because we have to buy three copies of each book- two to place in the podiums, since the pages are printed on the front and back, and a third copy of the book for the library to lend out," said Lemay.

He is also seeking contributions or donations for the purchase of the 18 necessary four-foot-by-four-foot-by-eight-foot posts, cement to hold each post in the ground, plywood for the reading platforms, grass seed to repair the trail from his post digging, as well as plexiglass, rubber gaskets and hardware to protect the pages from the elements. Laborers are also welcomed. All leftover money will be placed in a special fund at the library for future maintenance needs and book purchases.

"I hope to have it all set and the first book in place by early August," said Lemay.

Anyone who would like to assist in this community project may contact Lemay at 527-9066 or through the family email, legendkl@metrocast.net.

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