Several youths from Saline High School participated in this week’s City Council meeting. They spoke of their activities and made petitions to the Council.
The first presentation was by Melinda McCabe and Anna Loughman. McCabe is co-chair of the Saline Youth Council and Loughman is a liaison member. The other co-chair, Austin Bellinger, addressed Council in October.
McCabe did most of the presenting. She spoke about the number of teens involved, what they have done and what they continue to do.
The group currently has 13 official members and 12 liaison members – more than last year by almost a factor of two. Their membership increases throughout the school year as more students learn about them.
One way this happens is through a Teen Forum with the Parks and Recreation Department held in November. In addition to the members and liaisons, 16 additional youth attended the meeting in 2016.
“We get to brainstorm and discuss what teens are looking for in the community in terms of Parks and Rec and different programs we would like, what times would work best for us, and we’ve actually seen some of those ideas implemented at the Rec Center,” McCabe said.
Loughman spoke about the volunteer hours that each member contributes. They help out with community activities such as the upcoming Winterfest. As a group, they have already contributed hundreds of volunteer hours.
“Each of us agreed to get a certain amount of hours and we – our advisor Jodi [Roberts] gives us different opportunities throughout the community and we all sign up as often as possible,” Loughman said.
At the Christmas parade in December, Saline Youth Council members were upfront carrying a banner. This has become a tradition in Saline.
McCabe also noted that the Saline Youth of the Year award winner is chosen by the youth council. Like other Saline Salutes awards, the winner is chosen from a list of nominees submitted by the public. Nominations will only be accepted until February 17.
The other youth-led portion of the Council meeting was a petition from sophomores Katie Militello and Kyle Mayer to permit the display of the French flag in downtown Saline between February 11 and February 25. During this time, 11 students from France will be visiting as part of a French-American culture exchange program.
“It will mean a lot to the French students, to have the flags up,” Militello said. “It will welcome them.”
Council member Linda TerHaar noted that the same had been done for the German students who visited Saline in 2016. She said that when the flag of Germany was flown in the main street area, “they noticed and they really liked it.”
Council voted unanimously approving petition to fly the Tricolore.