Aaron Culbertson, avid reader and scout from Shippensburg, is working towards earning his Eagle Scout badge with a project that will benefit readers young and old in the community for years to come, and just in time for World Book Day. April 23.
Aaron, a junior from Shippensburg Area Senior High School, is launching a community-wide book collection called Scouting for Literacy, which will bring a variety of books to students in the Shippensburg Area School District, as well as to Book Nook customers, bringing new reading materials to bibliophiles of all ages.
“When I started researching the requirements for the Eagle badge, I knew I wasn’t going to do a construction type project. I’m a big reader and the idea of a book drive or book swap jumped out at me. I decided that I wanted to do a project whose main objective was to promote literacy in the community,” he said. “I called it ‘Scouting for Literacy’, which is also a play on ‘Scouting for Food’, our annual community food drive.”
He added that another local scout organized a coat drive for his project, which was part of his inspiration for the book drive concept.
“While I was thinking, I thought to myself, ‘Who needs books?’ Students. So I decided to make a presentation to the school district administration and the school board. I also set up the storage location and most of the collection points, and promoted the drive-thru on Facebook. It was also printed in the First Church of God newsletter,” he explained.
Books will be collected from March 1 to April 15. Bins will be placed at Maplewood, Weis Markets, Shippensburg First Church of God, Newburg First Church of God and Shippensburg Presbyterian Church.
Donors with large amounts of books should contact Aaron directly at: (717) 552-7763 or Amy Culbertson, Aaron’s mother, at: (717) 446-7673 to arrange pickup. Books must be in readable condition. Please no torn pages, cigarette smell, waterlogged, moldy or damaged books. Aaron and his fellow scouts will sort the books on April 16, and they will then be transported to all school buildings. Any remaining books will be transported to the Coy Public Library Book Corner, which sells the materials at a reasonable price to benefit the local library.
Aaron noted that any unusable books will be donated to a local farmer who shreds them into animal bedding.
Amy said Book Nook manager Lisa Seibert gave her the farmer’s contact details.
“That’s what the Book Nook does with unusable donations,” Amy added. “It’s good that they aren’t just thrown in a landfill.”
“I hope it will promote literacy in the community and provide a source of entertainment and learning,” Aaron said of the project. “Hopefully the pounds will be there for a long time and the effects will be maintained for years to come.”
Sheri Woodall, SASD Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, said, “The Shippensburg Area School District is thrilled to be one of the recipients, along with the Shippensburg Public Library. , from Aaron Culbertson’s Eagle Scout “Scouting for Literacy” project. Aaron’s citywide book exchange will collect, organize and make books available to readers of all ages. Once Aaron collects and categorizes grade-appropriate books served by district libraries, district librarians will determine a display location where students can consult and work with building administration for the distribution process. books. After students have had a chance to select the books they want to take home, librarians will review the remaining books for permanent storage in the library. This will benefit students in the district by giving them access to free books and will also increase our supply of books in our district library by using up leftover books after students make their selections.
Troop 120 leader Troy Shively praised Aaron for his project which benefits the entire community.
“Aaron’s Eagle Project will significantly improve Shippensburg’s literacy,” he noted. “The project will join the resources of our community by sharing and putting books in the hands of all ages. The best part of this project is the partnership and collaboration with the great programs that are out there. The Coy Library Book Nook and the school district have been amazing in supporting and providing advice to Aaron. At a time when there are many divisions and various concerns for the well-being of our society, projects like this demonstrate how Shippensburg comes together. Thanks Aaron.
Aaron has been in scouting since he was 6 years old and is a Tiger Cub.
“As one of Aaron’s Scout leaders since he was 6 years old, it’s been fantastic to see him and all Eagle Scouts mature and develop great skills. Whether it’s doing crafts at a young age, giving presentations or leading others, it’s a joy to be in the lives of young people like Aaron,” added Shively.
Aaron said his Eagle project taught him about planning and communication.
“The most rewarding aspects of Scouting are building moral character, which everyone needs, and having quality experiences with friends and good people,” he said. “Scouting has taught me valuable skills that will follow me throughout life.”
His advice to other Scouts pursuing the rank of Eagle is to “work consistently and diligently. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but don’t slack off until you’re 18 either.
Aaron said his parents, Amy and John, encouraged and supported him throughout his life. His brother, Joram, also did his own Eagle Scout project at Dykeman Pond.
“I watched him go through the process, so I got a feel for it before I went through it,” he said. “I also got a lot of great advice from the adult troop leaders and scout leaders.”
Amy said she was glad Aaron chose the literacy project.
“It will be really rewarding to see people in the community receiving more books and having them provided by other people in the community; that is what is good. Especially in these times, it’s nice to see a generous spirit.
Amy said Aaron and Joram always had great scout leaders in Shippensburg and gave them good advice and leadership.
“Scouting has been a big part of Aaron’s growth as a person,” she added. “I appreciate what they have done for our family and the Scouts; they want them to succeed and they support them outside of the troop. Families also support each other.