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Three Ways Jr. REAL Creates Community Leaders

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Junior Rural Economics and Leadership (Jr. REAL) is an innovative leadership development program that invests in high school juniors and seniors and presents a comprehensive one-day seminar to students from various high schools in different locations across South Dakota. Student participants engage in hands-on exercises focused on leadership development, credit issues and identity theft, life skills, and motivation.

Jr. REAL aims to mold youth into leaders, starting with civic responsibility and engagement in their own rural communities..

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An Unlikely Journey to South Dakota

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Wilson Kubwayo’s presentation to S.D. Farmers Union Jr. REAL students at Freeman High School begins with a song he calls "the fun song." But it's not a simple song. And his is not a simple story. Starting the beat with handclaps, he sings a few lines, encourages the crowd to join in, breaks into a rap verse and finishes with some show-stopping dance moves. The audience of juniors and seniors goes wild. Kubwayo's energy is infectious. He is happy. That itself is impressive given his unlikely journey to the United States.

At age 2, Kubwayo and his family fled the small African country of Burundi when it was torn apart by a civil war. They migrated to a refugee camp in Tanzania where Wilson lived until age 13. “Living in that camp taught me lessons no man can teach,” says Kubwayo. “I always thought if I just had an easier life, I would have a good life and then I would be able to do great things.”

Kubwayo calls that mentality a “mind virus,” a negative way of thinking based on one’s experiences and circumstances.

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2016 Fall Junior REAL Schedule Announced

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South Dakota Farmers Union has the 2016 Fall dates set for the Junior Rural Economic and Leadership Program (Jr. REAL) featuring Holly Hoffman from Survivor.

2016 Dates:
Coleman Egan/Flandreau- October 25
Sioux Valley- October 26
Groton- November 2
Britton/Hecla- November 3

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South Dakota Farmers Union Invites Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Brothers to Speak during Jr. REAL

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When they made their first YouTube parody video to teach friends about life on their family's Kansas farm, Greg Peterson says he and his siblings never thought it would go viral - receiving more than 5 million hits. The video launched him and his family into agriculture activism.

 This September, Peterson will travel to several South Dakota rural high schools, invited by South Dakota Farmers Union as part of the family farming organization's Jr. REAL program (Junior Rural Economic and Leadership).

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