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Oklahoma youth learn to lead at AFR Leadership Summit

More than 200 young people from around the state participated in the annual American Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Summit, July 24-29.

Participants learned such skills as setting and achieving short- and long-term goals and working in teams. They also learned the value of personal responsibility, respect for their peers and many other positive attributes.

“This was a great opportunity for these kids to grow and learn new skills that will help them later in life,” said Terry Detrick, AFR president. “We are proud to invest in the future of Oklahoma through these young people.”

Leadership Summit is divided into two sessions. All Oklahoma students entering grades 7-9 are eligible to attend the AFR Teen Leadership Summit. AFR Senior Leadership Summit is offered to students entering grades 10-12. The summit was held at Big Cedars Camp near Wanette, Okla.

“We are excited to continue the tradition of the AFR Leadership Summit and to be more accessible to students throughout the state,” said AFR Youth Development Coordinator Micaela Danker.

Part of the recent tradition at Leadership Summit was the annual service project. Students teamed up with Stamp Out Starvation, a Cherokee, Okla.-based humanitarian food-aid organization with a mission to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the U.S. and to feed starving children throughout the world.

Attendees prepared and packaged fortified rice-soy protein meal packages for hungry children. Teen Session attendees packaged over 38,000 meals during their service project and Senior Session packaged more than 70,000 meals in under two hours. Between the two sessions, Summit attendees packaged more than 108,000 meals for children in Oklahoma, the United States and the world.

The packaged meals consist of long-grain rice, crushed soy, blended dehydrated vegetables and vitamin and mineral powder, and contains all nine essential amino acids. Each bag has a shelf life of at least three years and, when boiled, can feed six children. The average package of food from the Leadership Summit project will be eaten in less than three months.

AFR provides Oklahoma youth many opportunities to develop into the leaders of tomorrow. Leadership Summit is just one of several exciting AFR Youth Program traditions. The organization also hosts a poster contest, an agricultural achievement contest, fall speech contests, statewide scholarships, livestock handling and skills contests, livestock judging and grading competitions and many other leadership opportunities.

For more information on the Summit or other AFR youth opportunities, contact AFR Youth Development Coordinator Micaela Danker at (405) 218-5561, or [email protected].