What is CYA?
Our new program, Chamber Youth Ambassador (CYA) program is very different than the previous Youth Leadership program. Some highlights are that this program up is broken into semesters and it will offer 50-80 hours of community service, offers a letter of recommendation for a job or college, as well as use of Chamber as a reference for a job or school.
We plan for the program to happen within 1 school day a month August-Dec or Jan-May. We’re looking to host these the 2nd Tuesday of the month, each month, (except the initial parent meeting). There is a written application as well as a video component. We only require that students have a letter of recommendation from ANY of their current class scheduled teachers to apply.
The purpose of the CYA program is for youth to experience all the things our community offers as a great place to work, live, and visit. We will highlight the very unique areas, careers, and businesses in our region to spark interest in possible career choices and choices for higher education to obtain specific careers, as well as careers that follow a vocational route too. We’ll explore parts of our region that bring people here for vacation and how these attractions support our community. We will also meet with our local governments to learn more about what it takes to make all these things work together. We want to build the knowledge these youth have so when they leave this area either for school, work, or just vacation, and when someone asks them where they’re from, they’ll have not only an answer but a platform of information to share as well. The Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County will be our transportation sponsor, and drive us all over the place for our 3 days of trips Sept/Feb Oct/March Nov/April. The Dec/May meeting will be at the chamber and we’ll be on foot to City Hall. Lunch will be provided. Students will need to meet for our 3 days of trips at Chamber by 8 AM, we will return by 2 PM as to allow for travel time back to school/home for after school activities. Students can be juniors or seniors, have a reasonable GPA ( 2.7 or higher, but we aren’t sticklers as long as they’ve got a good attitude) have excellent conduct and a good attitude.
Breakdown of Events:
August/Jan meeting and sign-ups: Parents, students, and educators all welcome to join as we go over the program, expectations, sign releases, pay for the program or apply for a scholarship for the program ($125 for the entire program Covers all transportation from Chamber and back, food, materials and they get a t-shirt!) We will go over the “house rules” and answer questions. This would be held at the chamber one evening.
Sept/Feb Tourism. We will go to Watauga Lake and learn about how the lake was formed, the Dam, and how TWRA, TVA US Forestry Service, and Rural Search and Rescue provide service to our outdoor adventures. We’ll also talk about how hospitality is one of the top sources of revenue not only for our county, but also the state. Hopefully spark some interest in going into one of these fields of study or careers.
Oct/March Industry. We’ll go to the industrial park and visit leaders in the manufacturing industry to learn how products made, shipped, and created right here in our back yard that ends up all over the world. We hope this will spark interest into going into Manufacturing. for some of our youth that traditional college may not be for them, but a program at TCAT or NESCC may be a better fit.
Nov/April Healthcare. We’ll visit leaders in healthcare from our region to learn about careers in their field as well as some interesting things going on in our community today (pandemic). We will also visit with Frontier Health to speak to our youth about teen suicide, A&D prevention, and how to get help when they need it.
Dec/May Community. We’ll visit with our local government and officials to learn about what they each do, how their work serves our community, and how our community functions. This will also be the month that service projects happen. For Dec the service project will be with Main Street in helping the Parade. So many of these youth have attended the parade or been in it, but don’t have a clue how it all comes together and all the work that goes into it. For May we will partner with Keep Carter County Beautiful and do a service project with them. We plan to have one additional meeting in May to hand out awards and do a special “graduation” from the program at our regularly scheduled Chamber breakfast.