Chatham County Teens Receive Firsthand Local Government Experience
PITTSBORO, NC – On October 23, 2019, teens from the Chatham County 4-H participated in a mock Board of Commissioners meeting at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro. Each of the students played a specific and important role in the meeting including Board chair, vice chair, clerk to the Board and members of the public.
Chatham County Commissioners Karen Howard and Mike Dasher, along with County staff, guided the students as they considered and voted on realistic issues. They held public hearings deliberating whether chewing gum should be allowed in Chatham County schools and whether school uniforms should be required. They also participated in a budget activity where Starbursts represented their “funds.”
“It was wonderful to see the students’ level of engagement,” said Lindsay Ray, clerk to the Board of Commissioners and organizer of the event. “Students don’t learn as much about local government in school, so it’s important to educate them as early as possible so they can be willing participants in local government in the future.”
Commissioners say that the mock meetings give them the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of public service in their community.
“It is such a joy to be able to mentor these bright students, and I’m honored to share my passion for public service with them,” said Commissioner Karen Howard. “These students are our future leaders, and someday they could be sitting in these very seats serving our community.”
Mock Board of Commissioners meetings are held regularly with groups of middle and high school students throughout the year. Teachers or other youth leaders interested in having their group participate may contact Lindsay Ray at 919-545-8302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.