Meet the 2018 S.D. Farmers Union Junior Advisory Council |

Meet the 2018 S.D. Farmers Union Junior Advisory Council

HURON, S.D. – How can cooperation build a brighter tomorrow? This was a question considered by campers during the 2018 S.D. Farmers Union State Leadership Camp as they elected a six-member Junior Advisory Council (JAC).

Members selected from communities across South Dakota include: Charlee Byrd, White Lake; Landon Copley, Aberdeen; Abby Dethlefsen, Stickney; Justin Goetz, Selby; Cassidy Keller, Canistota and Caleb Nugteren, Canistota.

As the week progressed campers were asked to discuss subjects that hit close to home for much of the population, cybersecurity, mental health and coping skills.

During the week-long camp, held this summer at Storm Mountain Center just outside Rapid City, campers had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers teaching them valuable lessons on how they can be a positive impact in the lives of others.

“Brighter tomorrows ensure that we are teaching our young leaders how to be safe and resilient in a tough world,” explains Rachel Haigh-Blume, SDFU Education Director. “Words of kindness aren’t flowing freely in the world today and simply put, we tend to believe negative comments over positive comments. Taking time for campers to focus on how to handle difficult situations, how to ask for help and how to be resilient when there are bad days are valuable life skills and how we work toward brighter tomorrows.”

Read on to learn more about the Junior Advisory Council.

Charlee Byrd, White Lake:

Byrd, 17, is the daughter of Rachel and Beau Byrd. She attends White Lake High School. She values the leadership role previous JACs have played during her time as a camper and hopes to fill the same role for other campers.

“I’ve always wanted to be someone that others look up to. Being elected JAC, allows me to fulfill this goal,” says Byrd. “I can’t wait to continue the tradition of camp and make sure it’s fun for all campers.”

Landon Copley, Aberdeen: Copley, 17, is the son of Darci and Shane Copley. He attends Central High School. Helping other campers take full advantage of the leadership camp is what motivated him to run for the council.

“I want to be a member of the Junior Advisory Council so I can be more involved in camp and help people out of their shells,” says Copley. “Past JACs have always been caring toward other campers and not afraid to stand up and set rules.”

Abby Dethlefsen, Stickney:

Dethlefsen, 17, is the daughter of Cheryl and Clyde Dethlefsen. She attends Corsica-Stickney High School. She values the opportunity to continue her family’s traditions and serve as a role model for fellow campers.

“My family has always been a part of State Leadership Camp it and it is a good opportunity to be a part of something,” says Dethlefsen. “The JACs were always good role models for me to look up to.”

Justin Goetz, Selby: Goetz, 17, is the son of Patricia Pudwill and Trent Goetz. He attends Selby Area High School. Being a JAC has been a long-term goal for him and through this leadership role he hopes to get others excited about camp.

“I have wanted to be a JAC since I was a first-year camper,” says Goetz. “The JACs make camp enjoyable and I want to be a part of that. I look forward to this camp every year and want others to do the same. Past JACs have always had happiness and enjoyment in what they are doing, which really makes me want to be a member of the council.”

Cassidy Keller, Canistota: Keller, 17, is the daughter of Mandy and Chad Keller. She attends Canistota High School. She looks forward to promoting the youth programs and building friendships with other members of the council.

“I want to be more involved in Farmers Union and help keep the youth program alive and growing,” says Keller. “I saw the leadership skills of past JACs and also loved how involved and outgoing they were. I admire what close friends they became while working together.”

Caleb Nugteren, Canistota: Nugteren, 17, is the son of Lisa and Darin Nugteren. He attends Canistota High School. His desire to continue his involvement in Farmers Union and spread his knowledge to other campers is what motivated him to run for the council.

“I want to be a JAC because I feel like it’s the next step in fulfilling my Farmers Union experience,” says Nugteren. “Being a JAC has always been a camp goal of mine. I’m looking forward to it because I’m excited to share my knowledge and history of camp traditions with other campers. The fun and dedication the JACs had for camp and other campers is why I wanted to run for the council.”

–South Dakota Farmers Union