Webster defines leader as “a person who has commanding authority or influence.” If you’ve spent much time around young people at livestock shows or other youth livestock events, you’ll find leaders of all ages and experience levels, thanks to programs like 4-H, FFA and junior breed and livestock associations.
In its effort to help develop the leadership skills within young livestock enthusiasts, Sure Champ® is excited to introduce its first-ever Sure Champ Leadership Team. Young Sure Champ users from across the country interested in attending youth leadership conferences were selected from their applications to attend one of the following: the National Junior Hereford Association Faces of Leadership, The IGS Summit Leadership Conference, or the American Junior Maine-Anjou Association National Youth Leadership Conference.
“The Sure Champ Leadership Team scholarship was established to help financially support the eager youth of our industry looking for opportunities to expand their leadership skills. We feel it is important for these young people to cultivate and develop their skills outside of the show ring because one day they will out-age the ring and will move on to careers of their own where we hope they will thrive as leaders amongst their peers. These breed associations provide such a unique opportunity for young people to network and learn from industry leaders, igniting their passion for agriculture and providing resources to look into for future job opportunities. It is our hope that by supporting these kids to attend these events, we are not only helping them get the most out of what the conferences have to offer, but we can encourage them to share their experiences with other young people, and in turn they will put their acquired leadership skills into practice. The youth are the next generation and the future of our industry and we value the importance of grooming these young people to be strong advocates of our industry,” said Jessie Judge, BioZyme® Inc. Marketing Brand Manager.
Those selected to attend the AJMAA National Youth Leadership Conference, originally set for May 31-June 3 in Kansas City, Missouri, include: Mattison Beattie, Sumner, Nebraska; Raymond Beneker, Hamilton, Ohio; Jolene Ebersole, Kellerton, Iowa; Skye Schumaker, Heyworth, Illinois; Shea Whaley, Eagle Grove, Iowa.
Youth that will attend the NJHA Faces of Leadership, July 29-Aug. 1 in Columbus, Ohio, include Chesney Effling, Highmore, South Dakota; and Lauren McMillan, Tiskilwa, Illinois.
Two junior livestock enthusiasts will represent the Simmental breed at The IGS Summit Leadership Conference, July 30-Aug. 2 in Madison, Wisconsin, and include Emerson Tarr, LeRoy, Illinois; and Hannah Tremaine, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
Each of these young people will receive a $500 scholarship to offset their expenses. They will share their experiences at their respective events via social media and will be able to apply their new-gained leadership skills through practical application at their local, county and state levels. A brief biographical sketch of each recipient follows:
Jolene Ebersole, Kellerton, Iowa
Jolene Ebersole is a 10-year-member of the American Junior Maine-Anjou Association, and has exhibited her cattle at numerous national shows. She also served the breed as the 2017-18 National Queen. She is a junior in high school and active in FFA and also in the American and Iowa Quarter Horse Associations. She said what she learns at the NYLC won’t stop with her, and she looks forward to sharing it with other youth in agriculture.
“I believe that leadership opportunities for the youth of agriculture are extremely important. If we do not do our best to develop showmen into breeders now, in 20 years we won’t have breeders. Leadership opportunities such as NYLC give the youth of our industry a chance to develop their leadership skills, their passion for the cattle, as well as community within the American Maine Anjou Association,” Ebersole said.
Shea Whaley, Eagle Grove, Iowa
Shea Whaley enjoys exhibiting at the AJMAA National Junior Shows and also likes to participate in the numerous educational contests that help enhance her skills. In 2019, she was able to serve on the host committee since the show was in her home state of Iowa. Shea is a junior in high school with the goals of attending Iowa State University to study Agribusiness and ultimately attending law school. She currently maintains the Iowa Junior Beef Breeds Association Facebook page and her local FFA Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“This will be a great opportunity to meet other people. I love the Sure Champ products, and it will be a great opportunity to meet other Sure Champ Leaders and to learn more about the Maine-Anjou breed,” Whaley said.
Skye Schumaker, Heyworth, Illinois
Skye Schumaker is a senior in high school who is passionate about the livestock industry. She has been active in the AJMAA for 10 years and has been successful in various shows and contests. She is active in 4-H, FFA, and several local volunteering activities. She represented her FFA and Illinois FFA at the Washington Leadership Conference. She will attend Lake Land Community College this fall where she plans to livestock judge, with further ambitions to attend Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M or the University of Wyoming and become an attorney.
“Leadership is the foundation of strong character and future actions. Leadership is passion. Leadership for me is everything my father represented, and I’m blessed to have been given amazing leadership opportunities and recognitions. I am proud to serve as a leader in FFA and 4-H and these amazing organizations along with the groups like the Maine-Anjou Junior Association help youth grow, develop and direct a path for the future. It sure has directed my future,” Schumaker said.
Lauren McMillan, Tiskilwa, Illinois
Lauren McMillan is a freshman at the University of Illinois in the College of Agriculture in Leadership and Communication with a concentration on organizational and community leadership. She is a fourth generation Hereford breeder who has a deep passion for the Hereford breed, its people and events. She has attended each Faces of Leadership Conference since she was 14 and is looking forward to attending this year’s event and sharing with others about the camaraderie and experiences.
“I am thankful to be a part of the Sure Champ Leadership Team. It means a lot to be selected because I have a passion for leadership, and I want to share with younger members of our association,” McMillan said.
Emerson Tarr, LeRoy, Illinois
Emerson Tarr is a junior in high school who is an active member of the Illinois and American Junior Simmental Associations. She is involved in leadership roles in her local FFA chapter, the Illinois Junior Simmental Association, is the Team Captain for her Cross Country and Track Teams and is presently serving as a FCA Huddle Leader for her Girls Basketball Team. She hopes to attend a junior college in Illinois to livestock judge; then attend an out of state university to major in agricultural communications and marketing. Ultimately, she’d like to work in a career that allows her to travel and work with youth.
“I’ve seen the work that Sure Champ has done with youth and livestock kids across the country and that they do this work with such poise and elegance and they can get the message across that livestock kids can make such a big impact in the industry is important. The fact that I get to be a part of the Leadership Team is a huge accolade since it is such a big deal. It is so interesting to me and I’m 100% honored to be a part of it,” Tarr said.
Mattison Beattie, Sumner, Nebraska
Mattison Beattie reigns as the current National Maine-Anjou Queen, and has a deep passion for the AJMAA. She has participated in the national shows and contests and is looking forward to attending her first National Youth Leadership Conference. Mattison is active in her local FFA chapter and in 4-H. She represented Nebraska last year at the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. One of her ambitions in life is to become an animal nutritionist.
“I love how you all (Sure Champ) really involve the youth, and are not only selling a product, but also teaching and growing the youth in our industry. I am excited to learn more about how you do that. I believe that building relationships and connecting with people is the most effective thing you can do to strengthen your personal leadership ability,” Beattie said.
Raymond Beneker, Hamilton, Ohio
Raymond Beneker is currently building his herd of Maine-Anjou cattle and has been a member of the AJMAA for the past four years. The high school freshman is looking forward to attending his first NYLC and plans to share the skills he learns in person, as he is a member of the junior fair board while being active in both 4-H and FFA. He plans to attend college, and ultimately would like to return to his family farm to continue to raise and sell Maine-Anjou cattle.
“It means a lot to be selected for the Sure Champ Leadership Team. It will be a great opportunity to learn how to be a leader and help others and share those leadership skills with others to help rise to the top and push society forward,” Beneker said.
Chesney Effling, Highmore, South Dakota
Chesney Effling is a 12-year member of the National Junior Hereford Association. The high school senior is looking forward to attending Kansas State University this fall where she will be on the meat judging team. Her goals include earning advanced degrees in Meat Science and eventually working in research and development, while continuing to raise high-quality Hereford cattle. She is a leader in her school, serving as president of the Student Council, FFA and FBLA. Effling has attended Faces of Leadership in the past and is looking forward to participating again this year in Ohio.
“I think every junior should get to experience Faces of Leadership at least once because there really is nothing like it in the world. We get to hang out with our friends in the breed, all while learning about the industry and listening to the speakers and doing workshops. Just talking to kids within the breed association is the best way to convey how awesome the experience is,” Effling said.
Hannah Tremaine, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Hannah Tremaine is no stranger to the livestock industry, having grown up in the Angus business; however, she joined the American Junior Simmental Association three years ago, and said it “feels like family.” Although she has attended several Simmental shows, she is excited to attend her first Summit to meet more people, learn more about the breed and expand her leadership skills. She attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison and majors in Communication Sciences Disorders with the goals of becoming a speech and language pathologist.
“I feel that leadership opportunities are important for youth involved in livestock because of the skills that we learn while pursuing them. Livestock youth learn how to communicate, organize and be a leader through these activities. From something as simple as looking someone in the eye while talking to them, to running a show completely organized by youth, these leadership opportunities help prepare youth for most anything life will bring,” Tremaine said.
In addition to receiving a scholarship to attend their respective conference, each Sure Champ Leader is expected to share about their experience at the event he or she attends via social media. Sure Champ is a show livestock supplement that helps keeps animals healthy through proper feed and water intake, as young livestock exhibitors #preptowin every day.