The new 2014-15 Catawba County Youth Council Officers have met and started making plans to guide the organization’s work for the new school year. The 2014-15 officers are Cole Lackey (seen at right receiving gavel from past president Andrew Beard), and Thomas McBrayer from Hickory High School, Jordan Howard from Hickory Christian, and Kasey Boger from Fred T. Foard High School.
The Council officers will meet with the full Council in September to determine their guiding theme for the year, but during the coming year they want to see the Council more involved in community service and provide a forum for teens to interact with elected leaders. The Catawba County Youth Council has also merged with the United Way Youth Council, so the Youth Council will also be involved in the Youth Grants program offered by United Way. According to Donna Mull, Youth Council Advisor, we are excited about the merger of the organizations and look forward to using this opportunity to allow high school leaders to learn more about the valuable role of non-profit organizations in the county.” The Council will have a program about United Way at their September meeting and will receive campaign information to share with their school organizations.
The Catawba County Youth Council began meeting in 2008 to provide a youth voice and perspective to local government. The council consists of 28 high school students with representatives from each school and selected community organizations. A team of officers provide leadership for the Council along with adult advisors. The Youth Council meets monthly at the Agricultural Resources Center in Newton. Students are appointed to the Council by the Catawba County Commissioners. Students are appointed for a one-year term but may be reappointed for consecutive years, if they meet criteria for reappointment.
According to Donna Mull, Catawba County 4-H Agent and Youth Council Advisor, “a growing number of city and county governments are organizing youth councils as a way to educate and hear from teen leaders about local issues. Often governing boards, make decisions that impact youth but never hear the opinion of the youth effected”. Youth Councils provide an avenue for students to improve their leadership skills and learn more about and become involved with local issues and civic affairs.
Applications for new Council members were accepting earlier this year. However, the Council has space to accept a few additional students and will continue to accept applications through September 20. Students interested in participating on the Youth Council may contact the NC Cooperative Extension Center at 465-8240 or email@example.com to request an application.