Vail Daily column: Teen taking a leadership role in community

Michelle Stecher
Youth Leader Spotlight

Leadership is a trait we look to elders to teach us about, yet sometimes it’s the young leaders that teach us best. Leadership seminars of all lengths and depths are available to help improve workplace morale, develop inspiring companies and ultimately build better leaders. The American Society of Training and Development cites U.S. businesses spending more than $170 billion on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on leadership training. Meanwhile, one of the most inspiring definitions I’ve heard of leadership hails from Vail Mountain School sophomore Seth Molina who describes, “Putting others before yourself to make the whole of the group function better. When a group works better as a team, everyone benefits.”

Police Explorers Program

Inspired from a young age by his parents and extended family to serve others, Molina has taken an active leadership role with the Police Explorers Program, a local collaborative dedicated to promoting education and building character among young people who are considering a career in law enforcement.

“Seth has accepted the challenge of leadership within the post and has come to be one of the young people I depend on to help the program be a success,” said Vail Police Cmdr. Daric Harvey. “He can always be counted upon to help.”

“Seth has accepted the challenge of leadership within the post and has come to be one of the young people I depend on to help the program be a success.”
Derek Harvey
Police commander

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While the program offers skills training ranging from backcountry rescue to crime scene processing, highlights of Molina’s participation in the Police Explorers have been frequent patrol ride-alongs and volunteering at events. National Night Out and Wild West Days have enabled Molina to interact with younger kids and adults, and to help build trust among community members and law enforcement.“I try to bring a positive attitude to all activities, from high risk traffic stops and ethics training, to community events,” Molina said.

Beyond volunteering with local law enforcement, Molina has served with Canine Companions for Independence, raising a service dog named Geri for one and a half years.

“What began as my Bar Mitzvah service project keep growing,” Molina said.

Award-Winning Student

Geri is one of the few trained service dogs to pass the competitive test, and she now supports a handicapped man in Southern California. In addition to his packed volunteer schedule, Molina recently joined the Vail Mountain School basketball team. To honor his commitment to these community projects, as well as technology support he provides to his school, Molina was recently awarded the Merit for Service to the School Community award from Vail Mountain School.

Molina explains his primary motivation for serving others as wanting to do something bigger than himself.

‘Do Something that Matters’

“I want to do something that matters to the world; something that makes a difference,” Molina said. “I would encourage others to give back because at the end of the day, it should make everybody smile to help someone else have a good day. Try to do one thing every day to make someone else’s day — this can be as simple as saying ‘Hi’ or helping someone carry groceries. And of course, we’d love to show you around Eagle County Police Explorer Post 204!”

Molina’s ultimate goal is to follow in the footsteps of extended family members and serve in the U.S. Marines, and then in local and federal law enforcement. Decisions Molina makes now will surely lead to achieving tremendous goals.

Michelle Stecher is the executive director at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The Youth Leaders Council is a program of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers collaborative prevention programs and services to tackle three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion, and academic achievement. In addition to Youth Leaders Council, Eagle River Youth Coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit

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