How can cooperation build a brighter tomorrow? This was a question considered by campers during the 2018 S.D. Farmers Union State Leadership Camp as they elected a six-member Junior Advisory Council (JAC).
Members selected from communities across South Dakota include: Charlee Byrd, White Lake; Landon Copley, Aberdeen; Abby Dethlefsen, Stickney; Justin Goetz, Selby; Cassidy Keller, Canistota and Caleb Nugteren, Canistota.
As the week progressed campers were asked to discuss subjects that hit close to home for much of the population, cybersecurity, mental health and coping skills.
During the week-long camp, held this summer at Storm Mountain Center just outside Rapid City, campers had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers teaching them valuable lessons on how they can be a positive impact in the lives of others.
"Brighter tomorrows ensure that we are teaching our young leaders how to be safe and resilient in a tough world," explains Rachel Haigh-Blume, SDFU Education Director. "Words of kindness aren't flowing freely in the world today and simply put, we tend to believe negative comments over positive comments. Taking time for campers to focus on how to handle difficult situations, how to ask for help and how to be resilient when there are bad days are valuable life skills and how we work toward brighter tomorrows."
Read on to learn more about the Junior Advisory Council.
Three South Dakota teens were elected to the National Farmers Union (NFU) National Youth Advisory Council during the 82nd annual NFU All-States Leadership Camp held in Bailey, Colorado.
"Serving on this council is a great opportunity for me to continue to grow as a person and a leader," said Canistota High School senior, Caleb Nugteren, 17.
Youth members of South Dakota Farmers Union, Nugteren, Jim Brockel, Shadehill and Justin Goetz, Selby, were elected to serve a one-year term on the National Youth Advisory Council by their peers from across the nation during the week-long leadership camp. During their year of service they will represent thousands of Farmers Union youth from across the nation at the 2019 NFU National Convention, in Washington D.C., and the team will be actively involved in the planning of the 2019 All-States Camp.
"NYAC builds leaders in the agriculture industry and ensures the voice of younger generations is heard and respected in what the organization does," says Roger Johnson, NFU President. "Over the course of the next year, these six youths will serve as representatives of their peers, learn about the legislative process and lobbying, and present in front of hundreds of NFU members and press at the NFU convention. I'm confident they will be strong advocates for both the organization and young people in agriculture."
Advocating for agriculture is a task Brockel is eager to participate in. A graduate of Bison High School, Brockel grew up working on his family's ranch.
"The strength of agriculture impacts me, my neighbors and my community. I'm eager to share my story with Congressional leaders in D.C. and hear what other Farmers Union members have to say during policy discussions at National Convention," says Brockel, who will be attending the University of South Dakota this fall.
As members of the National Youth Advisory Council, these South Dakota youth will also serve as role models to the many youth across the nation who participate in Farmers Union youth programming. Serving as a mentor is not a new role for Goetz, a Selby Area High School senior.
"I like to help others," explains Goetz, who currently serves on the SDFU Junior Advisory Council, the team which plans Farmers Union annual state leadership camp. "Encouraging and motivating others to do better is something I work to do."
All three youth have been actively involved in SDFU youth programming for a number of years and say the leadership skills they developed through the annual State Leadership Camp helped them achieve this new service role.
"Attending Farmers Union Leadership Camp really pushed me to step outside my comfort zone," explains Nugteren. "I am not typically a person who enjoys speaking in front of people, but because of the experience I have gained over the years, I now enjoy meeting new people and feel comfortable public speaking."
The South Dakota teens will serve with youth from North Dakota, Riley Lebahn; Minnesota, Jade Person; and Wisconsin, Camryn Billen.