Media contact: Tovi Martin, 4-H assistant, Expanded Teens Program, 919.515.8480 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4-H teens from across North Carolina brought youth issues to the forefront during the recent “4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus: A Capital Experience” in Raleigh June 11-13.
More than 100 youth leaders participated in discussions of local and state issues, learned about all three branches of state government, attended a live staging of the N.C. Spin television show, and met with North Carolina legislators during a breakfast sponsored by the state's Touchstone Energy cooperatives and the N.C. 4-H Foundation.
The highlight of the conference occurred Tuesday morning, June 13, as youth debated their own bill on the Senate floor, with the help of Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight. Based on their priority issues, youth drafted, debated and ultimately passed an “Act To Appropriate Funds to the Establishment of Youth Councils County-Wide Throughout North Carolina.”
“It was exciting to stand in the center of our state's government and see everything we learned come to life,” said Samantha Stevens, 17, state 4-H president and a Stokes County 4-H'er who lives in Greensboro. Stevens presided as lieutenant governor during the mock senate debate. “This was a landmark opportunity to make our voice heard to the people whose decisions affect our lives and our communities every day.”
Participants from across the state engaged lawmakers, political commentators and a variety of experts in lively discussions of issues that affect North Carolina teens. Concerns included youth apathy; a lack of safe places to socialize; teen pregnancy; the threat of drugs and alcohol; the quality, funding and administration of public education; and the lack of youth input in government decisions.
The 4-H'ers created a Citizen Action Plan to address specific needs in their communities, and they will work to implement their plan over the next 12 months.
The event was presented by North Carolina 4-H Youth Development, a part of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and sponsored by North Carolina's Touchstone Energy cooperatives and the North Carolina 4-H Foundation.
Last year, North Carolina 4-H programs engaged 199,650 young people, ages 5-18, in hands-on learning experiences across 100 counties. 4-H Youth Development is dedicated to helping youth develop the essential life skills required for active citizenship, productive employment and a healthy future.
North Carolina Cooperative Extension is an educational partnership of North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, county governments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cooperative Extension's mission is to help people put research-based knowledge to work for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and an improved quality of life.
- end -
Note: 4-H'ers from the following counties participated in this event. If you'd like to know more about participation from a particular county, please contact the 4-H agent in that county. Web addresses for all North Carolina Cooperative Extension Centers are available at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=countycenters . Each county center Web site provides contact information for staff, including 4-H agents.
OTHER NEWS RESOURCES
To receive our releases before they are posted here or sent out in hard copy, subscribe to our e-mail news service.