Angus juniors from 32 different states, Canada and Uruguay took a glimpse into Cajun culture as part of the 2013 Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) conference. More than 170 participants traveled to New Orleans, La., Aug. 1-4 to take part in the annual event sponsored by the Angus Foundation.
Themed Cajun Livin' Angus Leadin', participants visited Mardi Gras World, the Jackson Square in the French Quarter, and took a ride down the Mississippi river on the historic Steamboat Natchez. The LEAD conference, designed for youth ages 14-21, aims to teach National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members teamwork and leadership skills.
Overall I feel that 'Cajun Livin' Angus Leadin'' really raised the bar and stepped it up to make sure all of the juniors had a fun weekend from morning to night, says Kelli Retallick NJAA Board Member, Glen Haven, Wis. I think this is a good opportunity for our juniors to extend their knowledge and focus on different areas of the agriculture industry so they can educate others.
Throughout the four-day event, the junior board, elected during the 2013 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), led juniors in team building activities and presented various leadership workshops. Junior members also heard from various speakers throughout the course of the weekend. A former NJAA board member and now the current host of Ag Minute, Kristen Oaks shared with juniors the importance of getting involved in the organization. Motivational speaker Eddie Slowikowski encouraged juniors on their journey to discover the greatness from within, and Amy Gallimore spoke of the importance of being an all in type of leader.
A favorite for many, juniors visited the historic Evergreen Plantation where the popular movie Django Unchained was filmed, and participants also took in the area's nature during a swamp tour.
My favorite part of LEAD was probably the Cajun Pride Swamp Tour, says Andrew Livingston of Nokomis, Ill. I really enjoyed looking at all of the wildlife and hearing the locals talk about how they live and what's normal to them versus what's normal to me and where I come from.
The LEAD conference also included a trip to Tanner Farms in Wiggins, Miss. While there, juniors competed in a friendly judging competition workshop, played games and learned of the history of Tanner Farms.
For more information on the LEAD conference, visit http://www.ANGUS.org. Area conference participants include:
Katie Friederichs, Walcott, Iowa
Baxter Knapp, Bloomfield, Iowa
Erin Steele, Anita, Iowa
Kaesey Glaess, Cannon Falls, Minn.
Luke Nord, Wolverton, Minn.
Matt Purfeerst, Faribault, Minn.
Taylor Waugh, Goodhue, Minn.
Shaila Bennett, Beemer, Neb.
Michaela Clowser, Milford, Neb.