THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
VIRGINIA BEACH — On a rainy morning last month, Cub Scouts and parents gathered at the Military Aviation Museum in rural Virginia Beach to install a blue and gold Free Little Library, a place to find books and, as the philosophy of the nonprofit book exchange program suggests, maybe leave a book for someone else to discover and enjoy.
Cub Scout Pack 179, Den 1, chartered by St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, took on building the library as a project, and chose the location to reach people in rural reaches of the city and people enjoying the museum, a popular family destination here.
The library is just to the left of the entrance to the museum and Virginia Beach Airport property off Princess Anne Road. It is in an area called “Jerrassic Park,” which features dinosaur sculptures and is free and open to the public. It bears a name that references Jerry Yagen, founder of the aviation museum.
“We think with kids coming here to see the dinosaurs and the museum, this will be a good location,” said Michael Sladki, one of the den leaders and father of a scout, Dean, who is 9.
Because of the nearby sculptures, which the boys visited while parents put some finishing touches on the library, the Den 1 boys initially stocked the library with many titles related to dinosaurs.
“I have books,” Logan Hoey, 9, said.
All the boys did. They filled the library after it was standing on a post – and temporarily under a tent due to the weather.
“Dad, good thing we put them in a bag,” said Nathan Santo, 10, speaking to his father, Tim Santo.
It protected some titles from the rain, but books can be easier to keep clean than Cub Scouts.
“Liam, seriously, buddy,” said Billy McAfee, whose son, Liam, 9, had been adventuring among the dinosaur statues. “You’re covered in mud.”
When the library was complete – and stocked for those who will come here and enjoy it – the boys and den leaders joined together for a photo with Mitchell Welch, head of operation for the Military Aviation Museum.
He was impressed by the new addition at Jerrassic Park.
“You guys did a great job,” he told the scouts. “Nice and sturdy. Thanks for the adult help, too.”
Pack 179, Den 1, includes den leaders Tim Santo, Billy McAfee and Michael Sladki, and scouts Nathan Santo, Liam McAfee, Dean Sladki, Logan Hoey, Nathan Fanelli, Mason Fanelli and Timothy Strother.
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