When it comes to improving your community, sometimes you have to think outside the box.
That's exactly what Orion Teare did when he came up with the idea for his project toward earning the rank of Eagle Scout — the highest level in Boy Scouts. By constructing "Tehachapi's Little Free Library," the local scout said he was promoting literacy with his "place a book and take a book" concept.
"I enjoy reading learning very much, and I hope this Little Library will be a fun place to come and trade books and stay excited about reading," said Teare, who is in Boy Scout Troop 78.
He and his father, Shawn Teare, constructed the "Little Free Library," which is a wooden bookshelf in the shape of a locomotive with a glass door. It is offered free to the community 24 hours a day.
"It took us about three or four months to construct," said his father, who serves as a bishop at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The public was invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Little Library, which was installed in front of Tehachapi City Hall on April 13. Mayor Ed Grimes as well as other distinguished guests joined Teare and his family members for the ceremony, which was held moments after the final installation of the Little Library.
After the ribbon was cut, Orion invited the public to place books inside the Little Library, including Grimes, who was the first to place a copy of his book, "Memories of the Mayor: From Chicken Coop to Mayor."
"What a wonderful idea this is," the mayor said. "This is a project for the community, and I think it is rather unique."
Grimes told Teare that he believed he would be a future leader in the community, if not in Tehachapi, then some other community.
Said Grimes, "And that's important because it all started with the scout program."
Following the ribbon-cutting, Teare was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from Ryan Rush on behalf of County Supervisor Zack Scrivner.
"He is very creative," said his mother, Ylfelynn Teare. "He loves to do science, and he really enjoys learning and is great with puzzles. I think this was a perfect project for him because he really enjoys learning."
Orion said he came up with the idea after hearing about another scout who constructed one in another city after finding Tehachapi didn't have anything of its kind. He said the Eagle Scout project took approximately 14 months as it had to first be approved by a scout committee.
Asked what's the most fun about being a scout, Orion said, "The campouts are pretty fun, and all the activities that we get to do and the service we do for everyone."
Orion has been a scout for eight years, and has, to date, earned 21 badges. Currently a sophomore at Tehachapi High School, he said he would like to enter the world of computer animation once he graduates in 2019 and go to work with a video game company. But first, he said, he plans on embarking on a mission for his church for two years.
Tehachapi's Little Free Library is a welcome addition to the front of City Hall.
“We are happy to support our young future leaders, and this was a project that benefits the community,” Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett said in a news release.