2021-2022 Youth Council Application

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The Catawba County Youth Council supports various local projects that benefit and address needs of the county. Ashley Hinostroza-Villcorta, a Youth Council officer, sorts donated items that were packed into gift baskets for teens that were distributed through the Christmas Bureau. This was one of the service projects adopted by the Youth Council in 2020.

Apply for Youth Council

Applications Being Accepted for Catawba County Youth Council – Applications are now being accepted through the month of October for high school students that would like to be part of the Catawba County Youth Council. Through the Youth Council’s monthly meetings and projects, teens have the chance to build their leadership skills, learn more about local issues, and build a connection to local government and non-profits in the county. Ashley Hinostroza-Villacorta, a Youth Council officer and Challenger student, explained that “Youth Council exposes students to a variety of different experiences, including forming connections with  leaders in the community, helping to plan community projects, and having the chance to participate in a variety of different volunteer opportunities. It helps students to develop skills such as leadership, teamwork, and perseverance.”

The Council meets monthly on a Monday evening. Meetings are most often held at the Agriculture Resources Center in Newton, but location can vary. The online application is available at http://go.ncsu.edu/youthcouncil2021. Students may also request the printed application by contacting Cooperative Extension at 828-465-8240 or emailing donna_mull@ncsu.edu. According to Donna Mull, Council Advisor, we strive to have each school, including private and home-schools, represented on the Council so we can bring together student leaders that represent the entire county. While any student is welcome to apply, we are particularly in need of new students from Newton-Conover, Hickory City Schools, Bunker Hill, Maiden High Schools and home-school students. Students need to reside in Catawba County to serve on the Youth Council.

Luke Fountain (right) passes the presidential gavel to Anna Grace Patel (left) following the election of new Youth Council officers. Fountain served as the Youth Council President for the 2020-21 school year. Patel was elected Youth Council President for the 21-22 school year. Fountain was a student and now graduate of Fred T. Foard High School. Patel is a senior at University Christian High School.

The Youth Council consists of 25 high school students that are selected through an application process to serve as representatives from their respective schools. For the current school year the monthly programs are focusing on non-profit organizations and the role they fill in meeting county needs. The teens have chosen to focus on poverty and will develop some projects of their choice related to poverty. The Youth Council is a collaborative effort of Catawba County Government, United Way, and Cooperative Extension. The council operates as a part of 4-H, so students also have the opportunity to participate in citizenship activities that are offered by 4-H. Last year, council members were able to be part of the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit and NC 4-H Citizenship Focus, which complimented the council goals. A favorite and annual project of the Youth Council includes reviewing and awarding the United Way Youth grants. A team of officers and adult advisors guide the work of the Council. Officers for the 2020-21 school year are: Anna Grace Patel  from University Christian High School, Isabella Tupman and Ashley Hinstroza from Challenger High School, and Mariah Culpepper from Discovery. Luke Fountain, the 2020-21 Council President, found that Youth Council was one of the most impactful extracurricular activities he participated in during his high school years. He said, “I built friendships with members that I would not otherwise have met. The opportunity to interact with leaders in the community has aided me in my public speaking and leadership skills. Gaining an understanding and being able to create meaningful change in the community is an opportunity that few youth have and it seems one up for success later in life”. Fountain served as President of the Youth Council his senior year of high school and is now attending Washington & Lee University double majoring in Political Science and Journalism. Advisors for the Youth Council are Donna Mull, 4-H Agent with Cooperative Extension, Siobhan Loendorf, Catawba County Library Director, and Jordan Ledford, Council on Adolescent Director.