2010 Youth Summit

Youths identify top 10 statewide issues during YouthVoice 2010

The NCACC held its inaugural Youth Summit - YouthVoice 2010 - on Aug. 27-28 in Pitt County in conjunction with its 103rd Annual Conference. More than 80 youths and adults representing 74 counties attended the event. During YouthVoice 2010, attendees had a chance to interact with county commissioners, attend the annual Horn o' Plenty event sponsored by NC Cooperative Extension, participate in workshop sessions and attend a general session featuring NC SPIN.

In addition, the youth attendees debated and decided on the top 10 issues facing youth. These issues stemmed from ones that 4-H’ers and youths in every county identified and compiled. Youths then met in groups to prioritize the top 10 issues in their Extension district. One youth from each county was invited to attend YouthVoice 2010.

From more than 60 issues, the delegation attending YouthVoice 2010 determined the top 10 issues facing youth in North Carolina. The State 4-H Council officer team shared the top 10 issues with county commissioners during the NCACC's business session.

YouthVoice 2010 was developed because of NCACC’s 2009-10 President Mary Accor’s commitment to youth and to developing youth leaders. The event was sponsored by the NCACC. North Carolina 4-H Youth Development and North Carolina Cooperative Extension were the lead partners and led the efforts to plan the conference and organize YouthVoice 2010.

North Carolina 4-H has over 240,926 youth enrolled in the program as well as 21,200 youth and adult volunteers. North Carolina State University and North Carolina AandT State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the 2 Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

YouthVoice 2010: Top 10 Statewide Issues of Concern

1. Teen pregnancy
Prevention, sex education and related health issues. It starts a chain reaction and teenagers face tough decisions.

2. Substance abuse
This includes illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs. Younger children are trying tobacco.

3. Dropouts
North Carolina’s drop-out rate is at 1-third; more dropout prevention programs are needed.

4. Violence
This includes bullying, gangs, crime and physical harm. Education is needed on safety issues, recognizing that “unsafe” actions impact others, such as friends and family.

5. Recreation
This includes community activities, intramural sports, funding for youth centers and other facilities and safe places, and unstructured activities. Re-evaluate current parks and recreation programs. Paying for sports can be expensive.

6. Socio-economics
Adults and teens need jobs; unemployment is getting worse. Poverty and hunger are problems, especially in small counties with low economic ratings; family income is below average. Other issues are identity theft, and family money management; many grandparents with low incomes are raising grandchildren.

7. Education issues/school funding
Schools need money to provide more classes and extracurricular activities. Young people need to prepare for and find money to help pay for college. Youths want to think their needs are recognized, and they want more opportunities at school.

8. Lack of youth voice in community
Youths need to have their voices included in political decisions; youths should take the initiative with governmental officials to have opportunities to express their opinions.

9. Health issues
Obesity, healthy lifestyles education, healthy food in school cafeterias, and chronic disease reduction are important to young people.

10. Lack of things to do
There should be more safe and effective activities for youth to participate in. There should be a partnership between youth development programs, with constructive and positive activities.