Catawba County Youth Council

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Catawba County Youth Council – The Catawba County Youth Council originated 10 years ago and grew from an idea to bring greater youth involvement to local government and provide citizenship and leadership opportunities to teens. The Council is a collaborative effort of Catawba County Government, N.C. Cooperative Extension – 4-H, and Catawba County United Way.

The Youth Council is offered as a part of the 4-H program, which offers a variety of youth development programs in addition to the well known club programs. NC 4-H offers activities and curriculum focused on citizenship and leadership, so the Youth Council is a complimentary non-traditional part of 4-H. The council consists of students representing each high school in the county, including private and home school students, with up to 30 students selected for the Council.

Youth Councils are connected to city and county government around the state with varying missions and formats. In Catawba County, the team of officers help to establish the yearly goals and program focus. During the 2017-18 school year, the Council learned about the role of non-profits organizations and local needs with presentations by different agencies such as Children’s Advocacy Center, Family Cares and ECCCM. This series complemented the work the Council does with managing the United Way Youth grant allocation process, which allows the teens to award $10,000 in grant funding to youth-serving agencies. For 2018-19, the Council hopes to learn more about the role of decision-making Boards associated with local government and share their perspective on local issues with decision-makers and elected leaders. Students serving as officers and providing leadership for the council for 2018-19 are: Carrigan Price from Challenger High School, Trey Warlick from University Christian High School, Lauran Surratt from HCAM, and Chloe Pruett from St. Stephens High School.

Youth Council students also have the chance to attend the Youth Legislative Assembly and the NC 4-H Citizenship Focus. One student from the council attends the NC County Commissioners Association as the county representative. Trey Warlick, a Youth Council officer and student at University Christian, was selected to be the Speaker of the House with Youth Legislative Assembly for 2019, after attending YLA with the Youth Council group for the past 2 years.

During September, applications are being accepted for new students who would like to join the Youth Council. Applications are reviewed and new members appointed by the Catawba County Commissioners. Any interested 9th -11th grade student who resides in Catawba County is encouraged to apply. Contact Donna Mull, Youth Council Advisor, at 828-465-8240 or donna_mull@ncsu.edu to request an application or for more information.

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Picture 1:  Catawba County Youth Council teens and 4-H’ers attended NC 4-H Citizenship in Raleigh. Conference delegates participated in citizenship and leadership workshops, learned about state government, and met with state legislators in their Raleigh Legislative officers. Teens attending Citizenship Focus were (left to right): Anna Beth Harris, Josh Wilson, Samuel Holdsclaw, Senator Andy Wells, Hope Cable, Luke Fountain, and Donna Mull, 4-H Agent.