2020. It’s the year that most want to put in their rearview. Events were cancelled or cut short, school moved from in-person to online, and face coverings and social distancing became the new norm. However, one group of young people didn’t let 2020 squelch their opportunities. If anything, the first ever Sure Champ® Leadership Team proved themselves to be true leaders by meeting new people, trying new experiences and never taking anything for granted.
The Sure Champ Leadership Team was comprised of nine young people from across the country from various backgrounds with one common passion – the livestock industry. They were originally selected to receive a scholarship to attend their breeds’ respective leadership development conferences toward the end of the summer in return for helping provide leadership and networking through the Sure Champ brand at various events this summer. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A valuable lesson I have learned through this pandemic is that you cannot rely on everything to work out. There will be challenges that you have to persevere through. The ones who push through and never give up during the hard times are the ones who will be the most successful and happy in the end,” said Mattison Beattie, Sumner, Nebraska, a high school junior active in the American Junior Maine-Anjou Association.
This leadership team exemplifies the success that Beattie speaks of. When all of the breed leadership conferences were cancelled, she and the rest of the leadership team members stepped up to help execute the first ever SCALE (Sure Champ Advanced Leadership Event), a virtual conference for young livestock enthusiasts.
Chesney Effling, a freshman at Kansas State University studying Animal Science with a goal to get her certification in Meat Science, said the most important thing she’s learned since March is to make the best of whatever she is given and adapt to the changes around her.
“I really enjoyed helping with Sure Champ’s first-ever virtual leadership conference! Even though we didn’t get to attend our originally planned leadership conferences, Sure Champ still helped us to make the best out of our situation and allowed us to showcase our leadership traits,” Effling said.
“With the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the world, we had to think outside of the box to promote leadership and the Sure Champ brand. One event that brought me great joy was the SCALE Leadership Conference that Sure Champ put on. This was a chance for many different people from all over the country to learn about leadership and to network with their peers and other people in the industry,” said fellow National Junior Hereford Association member Lauren McMillan.
McMillan is a sophomore at the University of Illinois and studies Agricultural Organizational and Community Leadership with a minor in Foods and Agribusiness Management. She reminds that being a servant leader is of upmost importance. The focus should be on those you are leading and their goals, not the leader.
The Sure Champ Leadership Team will start taking applications for a new group of young people looking for opportunities to grow their leadership and social media skills. The group works with BioZyme® Marketing Brand Coordinator Jessie Judge to help promote the brand at events through various social platforms while reaching out to young livestock enthusiasts.
Shea Whaley, a high school senior from Eagle Grove, Iowa, appreciated the chance to expand her social media skills.
“It was a really neat experience, and it was really cool to participate in the different projects that we did with the social media pages,” said Whaley, who is active in the Maine-Anjou breed.
Hannah Tremaine, junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Communication Sciences and Disorders and president of the Saddle and Sirloin chapter, encourages others to apply.
“My favorite thing about being on the Sure Champ Leadership Team was being able to engage in a part of the livestock industry that I have very little experience with. I also enjoyed being able to represent Sure Champ in many different ways this year. I loved being able to gather some media content at the Simmental National Classic this summer to be posted on the Sure Champ social media,” she said.
Fellow Simmental junior Emerson Tarr, a high school senior from LeRoy, Illinois, agrees.
“Go for it! Take the risk! Opportunities like this one don’t come around every day. The connections you make will benefit you in the future, and you will have fun along the way,” Tarr said.
“When applying for the Sure Champ Leadership Team, I did not have high expectations to be selected as a part of the team; however, I gave it my all and I simply just told my story. All you can do in life is be the best version of yourself and make the most out of it. Everybody just wants to know the real you. Never try and be someone that you are not,” said the 2020 National Maine-Anjou Queen.
If you are ready to share your story and promote how the Sure Champ brand has helped you #preptowin both inside and outside of the show ring, get prepared to apply for a position on the 2021 Sure Champ Leadership Team. Applications will go online soon and are generally due in February.
Other members of this year’s Sure Champ Leadership Team include Raymond Beneker, Hamilton, Ohio; Jolene Ebersole, Kellerton, Iowa; and Skye Schumaker, Heyworth, Illinois.