2015 Farmers Union Torchbearers
December 3, 2015
HURON, S.D. – Eleven South Dakota youth will receive the Torchbearer award during the South Dakota Farmers Union Centennial Convention held Dec. 9-10, 2015.
The highest award the organization bestows upon youth, these teens are recognized for their commitment to community and leadership skills.
Torchbearers have completed all levels of the Famers Union youth achievement awards.
"These youth have exhibited leadership and given back to their communities and the industry of agriculture through participation in Farmers Union leadership training, camps and volunteering their time for community development," explains Bonnie Geyer, South Dakota Farmers Union Education Director.
Torchbearers will be recognized during the Thursday, Dec. 10 South Dakota Farmers Union State Convention luncheon which begins at 11:45 a.m. in Huron at the Crossroads Convention Center (100 4th St. SW). Read on to learn about the 2015 Torchbearers and what this award means to them.
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Dylan J. Hyronimus is the son of Scott and Marcia Hyronimus, Worthing.
Following graduation he plans to attend South Dakota State University to study science.
In his own words: I have learned so much about the cooperative system and gained so many wonderful friends during the 10 years that I have been involved in South Dakota Farmers Union Youth Programming.
Today, I realize that we all need to work together to make a better tomorrow for future generations of family farmers and ranchers.
Kaden Kummer is the son of Kevin and Mary Kummer, Parkston. He is a third generation Farmers Union member; his dad attended Farmers Union camp as a youth and both his parents are lifetime Farmers Union members, so he has been involved in Farmers Union Youth Programming since childhood.
In his own words: I have gained so many great memories, lifetime friends and leadership skills that I will be able to use and benefit from throughout my life.
By attending Farmers Union camps I broke out of my shell it sort of molded me into who I am today. I know I am a better person today because of my involvement in Farmers Union.
Because of the strong influence it has had on my life, if possible, I would like to stay involved in Farmers Union after high school. I hope someday my kids will become involved.
Jeana Lynn Nuss
Jeana Lynn Nuss is the daughter of Jarrod and Ronda Nuss. Following graduation she plans to attend Stewart School and study Cosmetology.
In her own words: Throughout the years that I have been involved in Farmers Union Youth Programming, I have learned a lot of life lessons, like cooperation and leadership.
While serving on the Junior Advisory Council I realized the importance of being a positive role model for younger Farmers Union members.
When I first attended Farmers Union Camp, I was pretty quiet, but I have gained confidence over the years and am now a lively participant. Through this experience, I've learned how to visit with strangers and just be myself. photo credit: Eye of A Storm Photography by Amy Storm
Shannon Meyer is the daughter of Dan and Louise Meyer. Following graduation she plans to attend Dakota State University in Madison and major in Finance.
In her own words: I first attended Farmers Union camp because my older sisters did. But then I got to know the people involved and made friends it's the people who have kept me involved everyone is so welcoming.
Throughout the years, I have also gained a lot of leadership skills whether it was through participating in camp activities or by helping put on a County Camp. Also, by helping with County Camp, I learned to look beyond myself and be a role model for the younger children I was leading.
The skills I have gained through Farmers Union have helped me in my part-time, high school job and have impacted my future plans. As part of Farmers Union State Camp we had the opportunity to run our own cooperative and were taught how to balance our own checkbooks. Those activities guided me to consider a degree in Business.
Along with leadership and career experience, Farmers Union has given me lifelong friends and travel experiences I would not have had otherwise.
Jordyn Bradley Temple is the son of Gail and Brad Temple, Clark. A fourth generation Farmers Union member, he is also a second-generation Torchbearer. His mom received her Torchbearer award in 1983. Following graduation, he will head off to boot camp with the U.S. Marines.
In his own words: I became involved in Farmers Union because my mom was in charge of the local County Camp and she started bringing me with her when I was little. I've been active ever since.
As I got older, I stayed involved because of all the people I had the opportunity to meet and all the friends I made. Through Farmers Union Youth Programming I have gained a lot of leadership and public speaking skills. I encourage young kids to become involved because of the friendships you make through this organization that will last a lifetime.
Dowain Garrell Kerner is the son of Dean and Kathy Kerner, Gregory.
Currently a freshman at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, he is pursuing a Chemical Engineering degree.
In his own words: I became involved in Farmers Union Youth Programming when I was young and stayed involved because I truly love the community I found within this organization.
I grew up on a farm/ranch, so I enjoyed getting to know so many other kids from across the state who share a common background. Over the years I've developed a strong connection with many friends through this program which can never be broken.
Farmers Union Youth Programming has empowered me to pursue whatever makes me happy in life. I was a shy boy when I first became involved, but now I am a confident and inspired man. Throughout most of high school I was undecided about what I wanted to do in my future career. Farmers Union has played a role in my desire to stay involved in the agriculture industry.
Windsor Darrel Barry is the son of Wade and Cleo Barry, Carter. He is a third-generation Farmers Union member and the fifth in his family to receive the award three of his siblings and his dad, Wade. After graduation he plans to attend South Dakota State University and major in Environmental Science.
In his own words: Farmers Union, and the people within the organization have impacted my life tremendously. For that, I say, 'thank you.' Thank you for helping not only me, but everyone within the youth program.
When I first attended State Camp as a seventh grader, I was surprised by how accepting people can be, and discovered that being myself is completely fine.
Through Farmers Union Youth Programming I also learned about how cooperatives work and how they benefit rural communities.
I consider many of the friends I've made and people I've met through Farmers Union as my second family because no matter how hard our life may get, or what gets thrown our way, I can always count on the people within Farmers Union.
I would like to thank my grandmother, Viola Barry. Without her love and support I would not be in this great program, which I have come to love.
Brandi Enright is the daughter of Travis and Jone Enright, Union Center. She is a second-generation Farmers Union member, as her mom was also actively involved in Farmers Union. Following graduation, she plans to attend Western Dakota Tech and major in Surgical Technology.
In her own words: When I was 6, Viola Barry, who was our District Education Director, offered to take me to County Camp at Camp Bob Marshall in the Black Hills. Since my big sisters were already attending, I went along. I had a blast and have never missed a year of camp since. The friendships and experiences I have gained through Farmers Union camps and youth programming will forever be a part of my life.
Along with fun and friendships, I have learned about teamwork, the value of cooperative businesses to rural communities, and have been given the opportunity to travel. I have also developed leadership and speaking skills that not only help me today, but as I move ahead into my career.
Farmers Union has given me an appreciation for the value of education and has influenced my decision to attend college and choose a major where I can help people.
Jesse David Albin Carlson is the son of Scott and Amy Carlson, Seneca. He has been involved in Farmers Union Youth Programming since he was 6. After graduation, he plans to attend South Dakota State University and major in Economics.
In his own words: Receiving this award means that I graduate from the Farmers Union Youth Program. It is the highest honor I could possibly imagine receiving and it is a bitter-sweet moment for me because it ends a very influential chapter in my life.
Over the years I have gained several skills through my involvement in Farmers Union Youth Programming including: communication, leadership, teamwork and overall, it has helped me grow into a better person.
By serving as a member of the Junior Advisory Council and now on the National Farmers Union National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC), I have further developed my teamwork and organizational skills.
Through this organization, I was introduced to the world of politics and our governmental process. I have learned about the Legislative Process both in Pierre and, because of my service on the (NYAC), I got to visit THE Capitol Hill.
Farmers Union has done so much for me. Thank you!
Courtney Elizabeth Edger is the daughter of Dean and Beth Edger, Orient. Following graduation, she plans to attend Southeast Technical Institute and then transfer to the University of Sioux Falls to become an Elementary Teacher.
In her own words: Through Farmers Union Youth Programming I have made a lot of friends and memories that will stick with me as I grow. It is a large world out there, but through programs like Farmers Union, I have learned that it is also a small one.
This organization has helped me not be afraid of what's ahead because I have developed so many leadership skills and the confidence to be myself. Today, I am a person who helps others and encourages them to be successful.
I would like to thank some of my mentors – Bonnie Geyer, Barb Vetter, Denise Mushitz and Alyson Hauck – for being 'stars in the night for me.'
Tess Lanae Heidenreich is the daughter of David and Nancy Heidenreich. Following graduation, Tess plans to attend Lake Area Technical Institute and then NCTA to receive degrees in veterinary technology and AI Specialty.
In her own words: Becoming a Torchbearer is a direct reflection of the lessons that I've learned from Farmers Union leadership, ability to be a positive role model and impact on my peers.
From the start, it was the friends that I made through Farmers Union Youth Programming that held my attention. As I got older, I learned the importance of teamwork, social skills and developed character. I have also gained a lot of knowledge about my state, community and an appreciation for strong values and what it means to be a productive citizen.
Through this organization, I've also been able to travel and expand my knowledge base.
My involvement in Farmers Union Youth Programming has encouraged me to hold tight to my moral values and support small town businesses.
–South Dakota Farmers Union