Hannah Persell of Grundy County participated in the SPARK! 2016 Missouri Youth Civic Leadership Summit at Windermere Conference Center near Camdenton March 4-6.
University of Missouri Extension 4-H and Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) sponsor the weekend summit.
Barton and Perry County 4-H members served as hosts and challenged teens to find their natural gifts or “sparks” of community service.
Members learned about civic projects 4-H members completed in the past year. Barton County 4-H members and others cleaned up and upgraded park facilities. Perryville Teen Council provided chemotherapy patients with Chemo Care Bags. The Old Tyme 4-H Club of Ray County raised funds to send books they collected for a library for a school in Africa. Lawrence County 4-H members distributed anti-bullying coloring pages and attended the Marshall the Miracle Dog movie to learn how to prevent bullying.
MCB executive director Christa Atchison said the event was a great opportunity for MCB and 4-H to partner.
State 4-H Council President Laura Bardot and MCB Youth Advisory Board President Makayla Koch encouraged teens to develop their leadership potential.
Motivational speaker Kyle Scheele of Springfield challenged the youth to find their passion, skills and share their gifts with the world.
Sean Siebert, founder of Invent Yourself LLC of Cuba, Mo., shared ways to use “sparks” for new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship in rural Missouri.
Valerie Bayes, K-12 STEM education lead of Monsanto, told how leaders can apply critical thinking and science to solving community problems.
Other events included mock presidential and gubernatorial elections. Poster displays and interactive displays about 4-H and MCB conferences were viewed. Youth also honed teamwork skills through the EDGE Challenge Course, a tour of Bridal Cave, line dancing and a team talent showcase.
“The goal of the Summit was for leaders of all ages to become aware of their individual ‘sparks’ and collective ‘sparks’ on their teams and how to use that knowledge to re-engineer how they work together,” said 4-H youth specialist and conference coordinator Steve Henness. “When leaders become involved in communities doing the things that naturally excite and energize them, the result is meaningful for individuals, purposeful for teams and impactful for communities.”
Monsanto, Cenex Harvest States Foundation, Missouri Bar, MCB and Missouri 4-H Foundation sponsor the event.
4-H is the youth development program of the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. In Missouri, nearly 270,000 youth ages 5-18 participate in 4-H annually. MCB, established in 1963, helps Missouri communities enhance their quality of life through community development, planning and implementation.
Photo cutline: Grundy County resident Hannah Persell, front row, second from left, was among the participants at the 2016 Missouri Youth Civic Leadership Summit in Camdenton.
For more than 100 years, University of Missouri Extension has extended university-based knowledge beyond the campus into all counties of the state. In doing so, extension has strengthened families, businesses and communities.