Students from across North Carolina gathered last week for the 4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus conference, where they spent three days creating connections, learning about civic engagement and deepening their understanding of state and local governments. For nearly 15 years, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have supported the annual event, which emphasizes that each participant, even at a young age, can take action and make a difference in their lives and their community.
“Citizenship North Carolina Focus is bringing together 150 youth to develop leadership and citizenship skills through participation in workshops and meetings with elected officials,” said Dr. Sarah Kotzian, youth and adult citizenship and engagement specialist, North Carolina 4-H, NC State Extension. “By gathering to exchange ideas, delegates learn about the importance of being active and engaged citizens.”
This year’s theme, Elevate Our Future, exemplified 4-H’s main goal: to elevate and empower future generations to better themselves and their communities through education and involvement in their government and community. The first in-person conference since 2019, the event inspired students to challenge their assumptions, work together to solve problems and understand each other’s perspectives.
“Citizenship NC Focus provides so much more than an opportunity for advocacy,” said Guillermo Estrada, NC 4-H state council president. “It opens doors and creates new connections for kids interested in politics and government.”
Support for youth and education is part of the cooperatives’ vision for building a Brighter Future for upcoming generations and all North Carolina communities.
“We all benefit when young people are committed to becoming aware of the challenges we face as a state and exploring how they can be part of the solution,” said Lindsey Davis, manager of communications at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “It is an honor to support them in taking the time to learn about leadership, the legislative process and how they can become informed members of the community.”