Local youth attend teen leadership conference

Local youth attend teen leadership conference

DECATUR (Feb. 8, 2018) – Macoupin County 4-H members Isa Baldwin-Zurek, Lydia Fulton and Haleigh Hester, all of Worden, and Anthony Joiner of Carlinville were among nearly 100 Illinois teens who attended the Teen Leadership Conference, held Jan. 13-14 at the Decatur Conference Center.

At the conference, the teens improved their community advocacy, college readiness, communication and personal developments skills. “In 4-H, we know that leadership is not about a title or a designation,” said Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois Extension assistant dean and 4-H director. “It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.”

Diaz shared the words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “Life’s Blueprint”: “Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth, and your own ‘somebodiness.’”

Brittney Robbins, founder and CEO of The Gray Matter Experience, which provides entrepreneurial tools and resources to black high school students in Chicago, said that what youth post online builds their personal brand. “Your digital content should directly reflect where you stand on issues,” she said.

Susie Risser, freelance communication specialist from Sangamon County, challenged youth to choose words and actions carefully when speaking in public. “A lie told often enough will become the truth to the audience,” she said.

Amie Case, Lee County 4-H member, said 4-H provides leadership opportunities which push her out of her comfort zone to build skills.

Five 4-H teens planned the conference: Kaleb Hemrich of Noble, Kaylee Leach of East Peoria, Maddi Jo Maxwell of Macedonia, Russell Moore III of Springfield and Kaley Rouse of Toulon. Funding was provided by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.


Macoupin County 4-H members recently attended a teen leadership conference. Pictured, from left, are chaperone Lucinda Fulton, Isa Baldwin-Zurek, Anthony Joiner, Lydia Fulton and Haleigh Hester.