May 18—FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Youth Council gives high school students the opportunity to learn leadership skills, according to Fairmont Mayor Charles Kemp, who oversees the group.
“I want them to learn leadership,” Kemp said.
The FYC is made up of approximately 20 students from Fairmont High School who meet twice a month. The council gives students the opportunity to get involved in local events and community service efforts, Kemp said.
“It gives them a chance to not only participate, but to plan activities that are not only harmonious but productive,” Kemp said.
The FYC was first founded by Kemp in 2010 when he was mayor at the time. The initial effort produced three school dances, tutoring at Fairmont Middle and Rosenwald Elementary Schools, and community activities, he said.
However, the council did not meet in 2013 and did not function for eight years until Kemp revived the effort in February, he said. Since then, the group has met approximately six times in Miranda Gilchrist Mcnair’s class.
“The impact on students has been positive for those involved,” Gilchrist Mcnair told The Robesonian in a statement.
Recently, members attended a dance on Saturday at the Heritage Center. Previously, they held a flea market on May 7 in the Fairmont’s City Hall parking lot to raise funds for the DJ.
Members will join other groups in a cleanup effort Saturday to rid the Fairmont area of trash, Kemp said.
Kemp taught more than 5,000 students during his 43-year tenure as an educator at three different high schools, he said.
“Young people are bored to death,” Kemp said. “They want something positive to do.”
The FYC gives them the freedom to plan events and make an impact in the community, he said.
“Students want to be positively responsible and they want their voice to be heard. They can demonstrate this through community service projects that restore pride in the community,” said Gilchrist Mcnair.
Some challenges faced in the effort are planning, Kemp said. Some students are involved in sports or other groups, which may affect student participation.
However, investing in these students means investing in the future, according to Kemp.
Students could become doctors, lawyers and county leaders, he said.
“They could become president of the United States,” he said.
Investing time in these students makes a difference, according to Kemp and Gilchrist Mcnair.
“The concept of a student-run organization fosters future leaders who demonstrate high character and integrity in the community,” said Gilchrist Mcnair.
The mayor is seeking community support as the FYC continues to operate and serve in the Fairmont area, he said.
Contact Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected]