Next generation doing fine

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, June 5, 2012

By JIM FUHRMEISTER / Guest Columnist

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the graduation of Youth Leadership Shelby County. As part of the evening, the high school juniors representing public and private schools from across our county presented their small group projects. They worked in conjunction with the Shelby County Drug Task Force and the Shelby County Drug Coalition and designed and produced videos, posters and other materials discouraging drug use that will be used in the schools. The projects are excellent and I’m sure they will have an impact on students in the future.

As I watched the presentations and visited with many of these kids, I reflected on our youth and the future of our county. As you know, I work in the courthouse, and it is easy for those of us involved in the judicial system or law enforcement to become cynical — we see bad stuff on a daily basis. Even if you don’t work in the courthouse, you see and hear discouraging news about youth that gives reason for concern.

Let me say that there are some great kids that have excellent leadership skills and a genuine interest in giving back to their community. And it’s not just the kids that participated in Youth Leadership that shine.

There are kids out there every day that go on mission trips, serve at food kitchens, help the needy or are simply good role models for their peers and do not draw a lot of attention to themselves; they give of themselves and expect nothing in return.

I recently heard a speech by Alabaster City Administrator George Henry, a member of this year’s Leadership Shelby County class, in which he said we should be owners of our communities, not consumers. It is our duty to take ownership interest and make our county better, not just consume and use the resources. These students are owners.

We recently saw many local high school graduations. I congratulate all those who are graduating and embarking on the next step in their lives. I congratulate the parents who have done such a great job of raising good kids who feel the obligation to give back to their communities, not just be consumers.

Jim Fuhrmeister is the Shelby County probate judge.