High school students from 30 Alabama counties strengthened their understanding of agriculture and potential agricultural careers at the first Aspire Youth Leadership Conference at the 4-H Center in Columbiana July 12-14.
The Alabama Farmers Federation and other sponsors led the program to develop leadership skills in youth. Aspire was designed to teach students awareness of their strengths through habit-based learning sessions.
Workshops were led by conference sponsors, including the Federation, Alabama Council of Cooperatives, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, 4-H, FFA and Alabama Poultry & Egg Association.
Abigail Lane of Lowndes County said she was excited to attend the conference.
“Aspire will help me decide how I can contribute to and promote agriculture in the future,” said Lane. “I would love to explore the new careers being created with advancements in agriculture.”
Michael Morrison of Clay County said he gained a greater sense of self-awareness through Aspire, which will help him pursue a career as an agriscience teacher.
“I learned I had more team-building skills than I thought, such as problem-solving and peacekeeping,” said Morrison. “This conference confirmed that agriscience education is the best choice for me.”
Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg said Aspire cultivates the next generation of agricultural leaders.
“The students attending this conference are within reach of high school graduation and must begin to decide what they will do after graduation,” Himburg said. “It’s important that they understand what agriculture has to offer. No matter what field they choose, this conference will equip them with valuable skills they can use throughout their lives.”
Attendees were between 15 and 17 years old and were selected by a panel of judges from sponsoring organizations. Aspire replaced the Federation’s Youth Leadership Conference.