2023-24 Catawba County Youth Council

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Catawba County Youth Council –  Applications are now being accepted through the month of September for high school students who 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 and Challenger alumni 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 online. Students may also request the printed application by contacting N.C. 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. There is a particular need for additional students from Foard, HCAM, Bandys, Bunker Hill and home-school students.

The Youth Council consists of 30 high school students who are selected through an application process to serve as representatives from their respective schools. For the current school year, the Youth Council will focus on county government. The teens will also be involved in different volunteer projects throughout the county, which started with volunteering with the United Way School Supply Drive by sorting items at the August meeting. The Youth Council is a collaborative effort of Catawba County Government, United Way, and N.C. 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 attended NC 4-H Citizenship Focus and NC Youth Legislative Assembly, which complimented the council’s 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 2023-24 school year are: President, Christopher Gulan-Duran from Challenger High School, Madelyn Beisler, St. Stephens High, Makala Pitman from Challenger High School, Mary Parker Pate from University Christian High School, and Ella Cecil from Newton-Conover High School. Advisors for the Youth Council are Donna Mull, 4-H Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Siobhan Loendorf, Catawba County Library Director, and Jordan Ledford, Council on Adolescents Director.

Picture: Teens from the Catawba County Youth Council attended the NC Youth Legislative Assembly in Raleigh. Youth Legislative Assembly is an annual mock legislative event for high school students held at the NC General Assembly. Mary Parker Pate (left) and David Abel (right) received awards at the 2023 Youth Legislative Assembly for making outstanding contributions to their respective legislative committees during YLA. Abel and Pate are students at University Christian High School.

two teens in professional clothing hold award certificates