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Golden girl's activity a hit at River Falls Public Library

Brandi Bennett1 / 2
The turnout for Brandi Bennett’s community service project at the library earlier in July was way more than expect.2 / 2

On Wednesday, July 9, crowds of children and parents packed the public library’s lower level. They built towers out of dry spaghetti noodles and mini marshmallows along with aluminum foil boats to keep eggs afloat in tubs of water.

About 174 people in all attended -- much more than expected.

“I wasn’t sure people were actually going to come,” said 15-year-old Brandi Bennett, a River Falls High School sophomore. “But to know that almost double the people we were expecting to come came... it was really nice.”

The event was a special part of the library’s summer reading program, arranged by local Senior Girl Scout Bennett. It was part of her Gold Award Project.

This award is the highest a Girl Scout can earn. According to, it is open to high school-aged Girl Scouts, and challenges them to “change the world -- or at least (their) corner of it.”

To earn their Gold Award, Girl Scouts create a community-service project that will have a lasting community impact. Gold Award recipients can be eligible for a college scholarship.

The Gold Award is meant to promote higher education and learning, life skills and community service.

Before getting to the actual project, Girl Scouts are required to complete two “Journeys” -- books full of activities to do and lessons to learn to prepare for the project.

Because she had already completed her Silver Award, Bennett only had to do one journey book to prepare for Gold Award -- Silver Award counts as a journey.

Bennett is an avid reader. She’s a member of the library’s High School Book Club, led by Youth Services Librarian Monica LaVold.

LaVold said she’d never worked with a Girl Scout going for her Gold Award before, but working with Bennett went very well.

“I’m so impressed with her and her work, and just what she’s done so far,” LaVold said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Bennett planned two activities -- the first was a science experiment-based activity held July 9.

During the event, kids moved between several different stations doing projects like making towers out of dry spaghetti noodles and mini marshmallows.

“There (were) two boys that... spent the whole time building this giant spaghetti and mini-marshmallow tower,” Bennett said. “They had it all planned out and they were just replicating shapes. It was pretty cool.”

At another station, kids put and egg in salt water and watched it float, then put it in fresh water, and saw it sink. They made aluminum foil “boats” to help the eggs float in the fresh water.

Bennett’s second event at the library will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 30. It will be a science craft activity for kids -- making cloud paintings with shaving cream, reading books about clouds, making popsicle stick catapults and launching marshmallows.

“I hope to have the same amount of people come, maybe more,” Bennett said. “I hope it runs smoothly like it did last time.”

For the complete story, see the July 24 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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