RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners recently awarded its 2019 Friend of the Counties Award to Mike Yoder and Sarah Kotzian of NC 4-H, who were honored for their role in coordinating the association’s YouthVoice program.
The program brings youth delegates to the association’s annual conference to develop leadership skills and to learn about county governments and the role of county commissioners.
It also provides opportunities for young people, ages 14 through 18, to connect with their county officials. The youth delegates include members of 4-H as well as the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Carolina.
The Friend of the Counties Award recognizes individuals and groups that take significant steps in advancing the interests of counties and the association.
NCACC president Kevin Austin, a Yadkin County commissioner, said that without NC State 4-H’s involvement, the YouthVoice program would not be what it is today. NC 4-H, he noted, has played a vital role in the program since its inception 10 years ago.
Austin presented the award at a banquet Saturday Aug. 24 in Greensboro. In accepting the award, Yoder, state 4-H leader, and Kotzian, N.C. 4-H’s youth and adult citizenship and engagement specialist, were joined by Peggie Lewis Joyce, an area 4-H agent who helped lead this year’s YouthVoice program.
Jason King, NCACC’s director of education and conferences, and Mary Accor, a former Cleveland County commissioner, were also recognized for their roles in developing and carrying out the program.
4-H is the youth development program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. It’s a partnership of NC State University and North Carolina A&T State University that’s offered through Extension centers in every county.
–Dee Shore, N.C. State University