South Dakota 4-H Teen Leadership Conference promotes leadership and career success

By Lura Roti for SDSU Extension/

Last week, Nathan Linke of Woonsocket was one of the more than 103 South Dakota teens gathered on the campus of South Dakota State University to attend the 2018 4-H Teen Leadership Conference.

A week long summer conference developed for teens by teens, Teen Leadership Conference focuses on career exploration and leadership development.

“It’s really important for teens to think today about what careers they want to pursue in their future,” said Hilary Risner, SDSU Extension Regional 4-H Youth Program Advisor. “Because TLC is held on campus, this helps them formulate whether a university setting is a good fit for them. It allows them to start looking at different career options, interest areas and passions.”

One reason TLC is so successful is the fact that the planning is a collaborative effort between SDSU Extension 4-H professionals and teens who serve as State 4-H Ambassadors (formerly 4-H Youth Council).

The State 4-H Ambassador program (formerly 4-H Youth Council), was recently expanded to include more leadership opportunities and engage more teens explains Risner. “For years South Dakota 4-H Youth Council provided leadership opportunities through event facilitation. This new 4-H Ambassador program includes these same opportunities, and so much more,” said Risner who also serves as co-advisor of the State 4-H Ambassador program along with Amber Erickson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Field Operations Coordinator.

Risner explained that the State 4-H Ambassador program offers more opportunities to South Dakota teens because it is designed to engage youth in leadership development through all four 4-H program priority areas including:

1. Agvocacy;

2. Leadership;

3. Health and Wellness;

4. Science.

With more inclusivity and flexibility, Erickson and Risner hope more youth will be empowered to serve as State 4-H Ambassadors.

Apply to serve as a 2018-2019 State 4-H Ambassador

The deadline to apply to serve as a State 4-H Ambassador is Aug. 10. The State 4-H Ambassador program will maintain high expectations for teens who apply. Applications for the new State 4-H Ambassador program are available on

To learn more, visit with Audra Scheel, Sanborn County SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor.

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal.

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