The 2011 Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) Conference, themed "Meat Me in St. Louie," Aug. 4-7 in Saint Louis, brought together 144 Angus junior members from 33 states and Canada. Missouri was represented by 18 youth.
The leadership conference, sponsored by the Angus Foundation, is designed for youth, ages 14-21, to participate in team-building and leadership activities organized by the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) Board.
LEAD Conference participants from Missouri included: Cody Smith, West Plains; Jillian Campbell, Sarcoxie; Kathryn Coon, Bethel; Jacob Coon, Bethel; Brittany Eagleburger, Buffalo; Chance Hardy, Diamond; Mark Moriondo, Mount Vernon; Hannah Moyer, Lamar; Maureen Moyer, Lamar; Elizabeth Otte, Saint Mary; Jera Pipkin, Republic; Layne Robinson, Willsville; Sydney Thummel, Sheridan; Sam Wallace, Stotts City; Paige Wallace, Stotts City; Carter Ward, Plattsburg; Cameron Ward, Plattsburg; and Shannon Yokley, Jefferson City.
"Each year at the LEAD Conference it amazes me to watch these kids grow into young adults, and this year was no exception," says Robin Ruff, American Angus Association director of junior activities. "The juniors developed teamwork and leadership skills in Saint Louis that they will use for the rest of their lives."
The NJAA Board, elected during the 2011 National Junior Angus Show, started the conference with activities that taught LEAD participants the importance of working in teams, while having the opportunity to meet other attendees.
Other skill-building workshops provided by the junior board and officers included: Angus Jeopardy, an Angus-themed trivia game; Are You Hired or Fired, resume building and thank-you writing; Defend It and End It, video commercials produced to defend the beef industry; and Are You More Than a Showman, industry questions themed after the Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader television series.
Professional speaker and best-selling author Justin Lookadoo of McKinney, Texas, returned to LEAD Conference by popular demand. In his second appearance at LEAD, Lookadoo addressed participants and created a human twister game to teach juniors teamwork skills.
Agricultural speaker and host of NCBA's television show, Cattlemen to Cattlemen, Kevin Ochsner challenged juniors to model their lives like an auction -- to raise their hands and make decisions. Kevin also touched on the importance of building lifelong friendships through NJAA involvement and participation in leadership conferences such as LEAD.
Team-building facilitator Crystal Warnock, asked participants why it is important for the American Angus Associationand the beef industry to use teamwork. Juniors then solved this question with a brainstorming session and built a human squeeze chute in teams.
The conference also included extensive tours of the Purina Research Farm, Gray Summit, Mo., and Sydenstricker Genetics, Mexico, Mo.
While at Purina, juniors toured various livestock research facilities and participated in interactive workshops for body condition scoring, cattle metabolism, cattle feeding, ruminant nutrition and equine studies -- all while hearing from top livestock industry professionals.
Sydenstricker Genetics hosted NJAA youth at its John Deere dealership location and Angus farm. The tour included a chuck wagon meal and entertainment provided by cowboy poet Del Shields. While at the Sydenstricker Empire Club, Certified Angus Beef LLC Assistant Vice President Mark McCully educated juniors on how to become better advocates for agriculture and the beef industry. He encouraged youth to share agriculture's positive stories.
LEAD attendees visited the Museum of Westward Expansion and took the journey to the top of the Gateway Arch, where they looked over the Mississippi River and the city of Saint Louis. Attendees then traveled to Saint Louis Cardinals-Busch Stadium, where they ate a lunch in the Champions Club, received a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, and had a few minutes to tour dugouts and take pictures on the famous baseball field.
For more information about LEAD, contact the NJAA at 816-383-5100 or visit www.angus.org/njaa.