Catawba County Youth Council

— Written By

Image of Luke FountainCatawba County Youth Council –The Catawba County Youth Council started just over ten years ago to bring greater youth involvement to local government and provide a citizenship and leadership opportunities to teens. The organization has grown and evolved and continues to provide a unique out-of-school experience for teen leaders across the county. The Council is a collaborative effort of Catawba County Government, United Way, and 4-H.

Applications are now being accepted for new students to join the Youth Council for the 2019-20 school year. Any interested 9th-11th-grade student is encouraged to apply, but there is a particular need for students from Bandys, Foard, Bunker Hill, and Hickory schools, due to the lack of student representatives from these schools. Contact Donna Mull, Youth Council Advisor, at 828-465-8240  or donna_mull@ncsu.edu to request an application. Applications are due October 15.

Youth Councils are connected to city and county government around the state and varying missions and formats. The Catawba County Youth Council is an issue-based council with members selecting a focus area for each year. The Catawba County Youth Council is comprised of 25 student representatives from each high school, including home school and private schools. The Council meets monthly where students have the chance to learn more about government and citizenship topics and participate in volunteer projects, while improving their leadership skills. A favorite annual project for the teens is the United Way on the Youth Grant Allocation project, which allows the teens to review and award grants to
youth-serving agencies.

Teens also have the chance to participate in citizenship-related conferences and trips, such as the NC Youth Legislative Assembly and N.C. 4-H Citizenship Focus. Most recently, Luke Fountain represented the Catawba County Youth Council at Youth Voice, which is the youth tract at the NC County Commissioners Conference. Fountain is now a junior attending the Lenoir-Rhyne Scholars and became involved with Youth Council as a 9th grader representing Fred T. Foard High School. 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. N.C. 4-H offers activities and curriculum focused on citizenship and leadership, so the Youth Council is a complimentary non-traditional part of 4-H.

Picture 1: Youth Council Student Attends NC County Commissioners Conference – Luke Fountain (left) represented Catawba County at Youth Voice, youth leadership tract at the NC County Commissioners Conference. He is pictured with Commissioner Kitty Barnes (right) of Catawba County. Fountain was selected to represent the county at the conference based on his involvement with Catawba County Youth Council and his interest in government and politics.

Picture 2: Catawba County Youth Council Officers – a team of youth officers guide the work of the Catawba County Youth Councils. Council President, Lauran Surratt from HCAM, accepts the gavel from Carrigan Price, a Challenger High School graduate who served at the 2018-19 Council President. Other officers for the 2019-20 school year are Chloe Pruett from St. Stephens High School, Thomas Silva from Image of Youth Council officersNewton-Conover High School, and Anna Grace Patel (not pictured) from University Christian. They are pictured with Trey Warlick (back), a 2018-19 officer from University Christian High School.