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June 12, 2009   Email to Friend 

YOUTH LEARN TO LEAD IN TOUGH TIMES
Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
June 12, 2009

State Young Farmers Committee Member Scott Poague of Elmore County, center, visits with delegates to the Alabama Farmers Federation's Young Farmers Leadership Conference. From left are Tre' Finklea of Monroe County, Matthew Norris of Fayette County, Poague, outgoing State FFA Vice President Brandy Feltman of Walker County and Emily Dang of Madison County.
COLUMBIANA, Ala. -- Students from small towns and big cities alike gathered at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana June 12-14 to learn how they can provide leadership in their schools and communities during challenging times. More than 100 high school students from 33 counties attended the Alabama Farmers Federation's Youth Leadership Conference, which is aimed at helping young people reach their full potential as employees, citizens and family members.

"Our theme for this year's conference is 'Leadership in Troubled Times,' and we are taking a look at the importance of strong leadership in America during times of crisis," said Federation Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore. "We hope these delegates take with them the desire to become leaders in whatever walk of life they choose."

The annual conference is sponsored by the Federation's Young Farmers Division and is geared toward high school sophomores and juniors. Delegates were selected by their county Young Farmers committees to attend this year's event based on previous academic and extracurricular achievements. Moore said recent Youth Leadership Conference graduates have gone on to leadership roles in collegiate clubs, and several returned to the conference this year as chaperones and presenters.

Activities during the three-day conference included team-building exercises on the 4-H Center's ropes course, a workshop on the importance of agriculture in Alabama and the United States by the Federation's State Young Farmers Committee and a workshop on personal leadership by the Auburn University College of Agriculture. Alabama's State FFA officers also conducted a workshop for the delegates.

Speakers included Dianne Gaines of Gaines Farms in Autauga County; World War II survivor and patriotic speaker Pete McCoy of Montgomery; and motivational speaker Janice Johnson of Mississippi, who has talked to thousands of youth about the importance of making good decisions.

The Young Farmers program is aimed at helping farmers and other agricultural professionals ages 17-35 achieve success in their businesses and to become leaders in their communities and the Farmers Federation. For more information, visit www.AlfaYoungFarmers.com.


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