FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2024) – It was a packed evening in Flagler Beach for First Friday, and the perfect time for the Flagler Beach Public Library to kickstart their summer reading competition “Smokey Bear Reading Challenge” in conjunction with the Flagler Beach Fire Department.

Similar to the days of summer reading for a pizza, this reading competition culminates with a party at the Flagler Beach Fire House on July 20th according to Melissa Parish, head librarian.

“Prizes are involved but in order to get the prizes, you have to register. You can turn in the form at either city hall or the library and you get a free book to start off,” explained Parish.

The library already teams up with Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney for a monthly “Chief’s Choice” book selection, and Parish is complimentary of the library’s relationships in the community.

“We have a very collaborative group between the fire department, and the police department, we have a very community-oriented group,” she said.

Working closely with the fire department adds another avenue to entice young readers to sharpen their vocabulary and critical thinking skills while having fun and learning about fire safety.

“It’s a great opportunity for education for the young ones about wildfires, especially since we have a burn ban in the county,” said Flagler Beach Fire Chief Bobby Pace.

“We always want to encourage kids to read. The relationship between the library and the fire department’s always been seamless, so this was a good opportunity to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 80th birthday, kickstart this and have this challenge going on, then have a celebration party next month for the kids. It’s a good, good program.”

The competition is part of the Smokey Bear 80th birthday celebration activities taking place nationwide and parents can visit www.smokeybear.com for details.

To participate in the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge, families are invited to stop into Flagler Beach City Hall or the Flagler Beach Public Library to pick up their packet and register their child. The challenge starts on June 11, 2024 and ends on July 20, 2024.

For more information on the summer program visit https://www.cityofflaglerbeach.com/125/Library.