Extraordinary Teen Council


Olive Ritchie, Co-Assistant Editor

Extraordinary Teen Council (ETC) is an organization of teenagers who work together to help solve local issues pertaining to teens. They create programs meant to help teenagers and raise awareness about subjects affecting teenagers. Junior Jasper Coen is ETC’s oldest member since he has been a member since their second semester of eighth grade. 

“We meet through the school, but we’re really a branch off of Family Youth Initiative that works to promote teen safety whether that be mental, physical, or fiscal safety through smart practices and community programs geared towards teens,” Coen said.

Dibby Olson is the advisor for ETC. One reason why she loves working with teens and empowering teen voices is because she finds it inspirational.

“I love watching kids work through a process, whether it’s a decision or planning an activity. They know sometimes it may be a difficult thing for people in power to hear, and hearing them saying it anyway is so inspirational to me,” Olson said. 

Junior Ben Smith has only been a member of ETC for a year and a half, but he has done a lot in that short period. Both Smith and Coen have stayed in ETC because they were passionate about the mission of the club. ETC is focused on teen based community improvement.

“In ETC our main goal is to make our community here in Salida a better place for kids our age. Right now there’s a lot of events or places where adults are kind of running and expecting to be filled with adults. We want to make them, kind of, more teen friendly,” Smith said.

Smith and Coen have both become Youth City Council members through ETC. As Youth City Council Members, they go to city council meetings once a quarter and bring up ideas to help improve teenagers’ lives.

“We kind of try to advocate for teens and use the city council’s resources to push forward with programs and events that ETC is putting on. Just recently I think it was July 22 we had an event for drunk driving awareness, and we got a lot of help from the City Council on that,” Smith said.  

Coen urges teenagers to take advantage of the Teen Discount Passes. Despite its name, there is no paper associated with these. To get a discount, students simply have to state that they are a student when checking out at a store that is part of this program. There is no identification or paper necessary.

“There are a lot of stores downtown where you can just go in and say I’m a student at SHS and you can get 10 or 20 % off of stuff. It depends on the location, but it can be anywhere from 10% off at the Bookhaven to getting 50% off at VR at the arcade,” Coen said.

The places that use the Teen Discount Pass are Señor Murphy (10% off), Bunny and Clyde’s (15% off), Book Haven (10% off), Fierce and Foxy (10% off), Amicas (10% off), Boy’s and Girl’s Club (free membership and daily fees), 50 Burger (free drink with meal), Arcade (50% off virtual reality), Chill (10% off) and Howl (ice cream and drinks 20% off). 

ETC is trying to implement Safe Space training at SHS. Safe Space training is run through Partnership for Community Action. It would help staff members be more politically correct in regards to the LGBTQ+ community.

It would teach teachers how to have a little bit of etiquette, about how to be more politically correct, and also how to help when there is like a student in distress where [the student] feels like they have nowhere to go. There will be a trusted adult who would be able to help. It is certainly directed towards the lgbtq community, but it definitely would be helpful for everyone in the school,” Smith said. 

While ETC is able to achieve a lot with a relatively small group, they are always looking for new members. They meet on Tuesdays in Britt Searles’ room. It gives students community service hours, and, while it is a big commitment, there is one thing Smith, Coen, and Olson all agreed on: it’s for a good cause. 

“ETC is meant to be inclusive. Anyone who’s willing to do a ton of work for a good cause is welcome and encouraged to join,” Olson said.