Summit challenges 4-H, community betterment youth to lead with courage

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Cape Girardeau YCLS team

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Cape Girardeau County teens and adults were among 160 leaders of all ages who attended the 2018 Missouri Youth Civic Leaders Summit, March 2-4, near Camdenton. Youth and adult teams gathered from over 20 county 4-H programs and community betterment groups across Missouri. Attendees from Cape Girardeau County were Caleb Aufdenberg, Hannah Aufdenberg, Zach Aufdenberg, Lauren Crutsinger, Morgan Crutsinger, Ashley Fritsche, Adam Koenig, Samuel Koenig, and Dalton Seabaugh. Adult chaperones were Wanda Aufdenberg and Angie Crutsinger with youth assistants Renee Peters and Bridget Schumer.

Organizers say the goal of this year’s event, themed “The Courage to Lead!” was to inspire leaders of all ages to lead courage, built on a foundation of character and commitment to service.

Carey Portell, motivational speaker from St. James, MO, shared how personal courage, family commitment, and support from the Missouri AgrAbility Project, empowered her to triumph over major injuries sustained in a car collision.

Dylan Johnson, Director of Advance for the Missouri Governor’s Office, spoke on how young people being involved makes the world better, and how his involvement in government at a young age led him a role as the state’s youngest executive staff member.

Neil Klemme, University of Wisconsin Extension 4-H specialist and his team, showed how communities in the Midwest are using “Youth First Impressions” to gain fresh perspective and ideas on making towns more inviting to visitors.

As youth leaders, Mitchell Moon (Missouri 4-H) and Katelyn Watts (Missouri Community Betterment) encouraged participants to make the most out of leadership opportunities available through their organizations.Lafayette County 4-H and Missouri Community Betterment youth advisers served as hosts for the weekend, contributing hours of planning and on-site leadership through youth-adult partnerships.

Summiteers explored leadership styles, built teamwork, and learned how to plan service-learning projects with guidance from Mizzou Alternative Break leaders from the University of Missouri.

They attended a youth-led civic forum with elected officials, learned how to support rural broadband access in Missouri, and weighed in on why Missouri high school graduates choose to move away or back to their communities.

Youth and adult teams proposed community action projects for 2018 and took first steps to applying for mini-seed grant funding to implement their ideas. Participants also teamed up with Windermere Conference Center staff and volunteers to complete on-site service projects, contributing time valued at over $3,000.

The summit is an annual event, with generous sponsorship support from Monsanto Company, Cenex Harvest States Foundation, Missouri Community Betterment, and the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

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