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SDSU Extension 4-H to host 2023 Teen Leadership Conference in June

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension is excited to announce the 2023 4-H Teen Leadership Conference is June 5-9 in Brookings. 

This year’s theme is Through the Decades: The Time of Your Life, and participants will take a trip through the 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s. Event participants will experience the look, feel and sound of those decades throughout the event, while also learning about the leaders who shaped each era and their achievements. 

Hosted by the South Dakota State 4-H Ambassadors, Teen Leadership Conference provides youth ages 13-18 with an opportunity to develop their leadership and life skills while working to grow, learn and express themselves through educational experiences on the SDSU campus. 

“Teen Leadership Conference gives youth an incredible opportunity to expand life skills in areas such as leadership, health and wellness, science, and agriculture, while making lifelong connections with peers and adults from across South Dakota along the way,” said Eli Hamre, State 4-H Ambassador and Teen Leadership Conference committee president. 

This year’s keynote speaker is Todd Dufault, a certified leadership coach, speaker and consultant. Dufault’s subject areas include leadership, teamwork, growth mindset, service and communicating with others in a personal and energetic way. Youth at the event will also hear from opening speaker Ty Eschenbaum, a South Dakota entrepreneur who survived a battle with leukemia while he was in high school. His nonprofit, the Ty Eschenbaum Foundation, provides scholarships to youth cancer survivors.

In addition to the speakers, Teen Leadership Conference includes workshop sessions on agriculture, health and wellness, leadership, and science topics; recreational activities; campus tours of SDSU; a variety show; career networking; dances; and community service opportunities.

“It never ceases to amaze me the impact that this event has on our young people,” said Hilary Risner, SDSU Extension Program Manager and Regional Youth Educator. “During their time with us, we challenge our participants to explore new areas, expand their leadership potential, and make new friends, while enjoying the comforts of South Dakota State University.”  

This year’s community service project will include a message from Chantelle Friedman with Live Inspired 365, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit that raises funds to support mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Following her presentation, the youth will decorate journals for Live Inspired 365 to donate to people experiencing mental health challenges. Participants will also make pet toys for a local pet shelter in conjunction with this year’s South Dakota 4-H statewide community service project, Paws for a Cause. 

Previous years’ participants credit the event’s powerful speakers, dynamic workshops and opportunities to build relationships as a life-changing experience. 
“I owe so much to Teen Leadership Conference. I have attended for several years now and every year I grow my personal and leadership skills,” said Nicolette Hoffman, State 4-H Ambassador and Teen Leadership Conference committee reporter. “When I first attended, I was very reserved. By the end of the week, I had grown so much by being pushed out of my shell in a fun and supportive environment. Even my family noticed a difference in my confidence. I would love for everyone to have this same experience.”

To register, visit Early registration is $325 and ends April 20. Registration from April 21 to May 5 is $350. Enter code TSC for $40 off registration on behalf of Tractor Supply Company. 

For more information, contact Hilary Risner or Vanessa Hight.