Young Commissioners

June 25, 2023 | Written by: SAGA

I had the pleasure of meeting the Young Commissioners new cohort last week and speaking to them about SAGA and the importance of Chamber work in our community by supporting economic development, promoting, and maintaining businesses as well as encouraging community engagement and leadership.

This group of young adults has a clear understanding of leadership and are learning about civic engagement and how that can open doors to their success in the future. We spoke of the importance of engaging in the community at an early age and how they, though students now, can be a major mover in the years to come for the continued growth and success of our community. We discussed how they will become part of our workforce and how important it is for them to learn all they can from everything they do now. It is hard at that age to clearly see the importance or find the connection in what they are doing now to their future, but isn’t that true for a lot of us?

We may not always know how today affects tomorrow but I tried to stress the importance of how everything is a learning experience – even just sitting and effectively listening is a skill to master. The importance of building their skillset for the future starts now. We learn every day and every day is an opportunity for growth. They are our future workforce and the more they expose themselves now the easier the road will be to navigate in this world.

We covered some of the programs in place at Lee County Schools and Central Carolina Community College that they can participate in to enhance their education or open avenues for careers that they might not have known were available. Education is a pathway to workforce and the more our students are exposed to this, the better chances we have to increase graduation rates, promote secondary education, and encourage vocational trades. We also discussed entrepreneurial interests and how the Chamber supports that through the RISE program and Childrens’ Business Fair.

It made me very proud to hear their thoughts on their future endeavors and how much more aware they are about the world than I was at their age. As cliché as this may sound, I walked away feeling hope for our future – kudos to the parents, guardians, teachers, and mentors, out there every day giving their time to helping our students become the best version of themselves.

Young Commissioners is a 4-H program through the NC Cooperative Extension Center that provides selected high school students the opportunity to work on leadership, soft skills, and to become better citizens of Sanford and Lee County. It is a competitive application process to become a Young Commissioner, and participants are required to take part in a two-week orientation over the summer, prior to their monthly meetings and civic projects throughout the year. If you have or know of a high school student who may be interested in this great program, please refer them to NC Cooperative Extension – Lee County website at

Susan Gomez

Chamber of Commerce Director