Extraordinary Teen Council (ETC)
“Nothing about us without us.”
ETC began in January 2016, using the Positive Youth Development model. FYI and Boys and Girls Club hosted a “Nacho Ordinary Teen Night” complete with a Taco bar, sumo boxing, and a screening of “Nacho Libre”. 60 teens attended and we had a brainstorming session to discuss larger community issues, such as: What teen activities could we offer in Salida? How could we better hear teens’ voices?
From this we recruited our first teen council members. We met (and still meet) at lunch period once/week at Salida High School. It is an inclusive group, with students joining throughout the year and taking time off when they need to. Acting on their long standing goal of supporting and offering substance free events for teens and giving them a voice in Salida, the group has been successful in completing many impressive projects: Teen coffee nights, BBQs and movie nights; partnering with Solvista to create a Teen Wellness Voucher; and a Teen Discount Pass at 10 local businesses(see ChaffeeTeen Insta). The ETC is now working on developing a teen ride program.
Young people who are engaged in making decisions and feel they have meaningful input are more likely to remain involved with their community over time and less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as substance use. Coming from a strengths-based perspective, ETC was formed. The more resilient our youth are the more resilient our community, environment and region will be.