The Lake Norman Teen Council - sponsored and funded by the Parks and Recreation Departments of Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville - was chartered by North Carolina's State Youth Council in January 2009.
Members of the council recently volunteered for Huntersville's Angels and Sparrows soup kitchen as well as the Waterfowl Rescue, where volunteers constructed bird cages. In addition to community outreach, members also meet and interact with teens from other area schools. Council members are students at schools all over northern Mecklenburg County; some even come from Iredell and Lincoln counties.
Seeing a wide variety of personalities and school representations cooperate in order to meet common goals is one of the highlights of working with the council, said Sharon Williams, council supervisor.
Williams says it's wonderful to watch these teens "problem solve and plan events," and that helping teens realize the impact they can have is a huge part of what the council is about.
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"Sometimes they don't realize what a large impact they can have as a volunteer," she said. "But (soon) they realize they can make a difference."
Though some join the council to increase an already present sense of leadership - as well as to add to resumes for the college application process - others discover a new side of themselves through council involvement.
Williams says one of the greatest benefits the council has for young people is teaching them to speak up and step out when it comes to taking responsibility for projects.
"It's nice to see quiet kids becoming leaders," she said.
The key to the council's success? Respect.
"They really do respect each other," Williams said.