By Marcus Roberts, Idaho
In 2014, I was able to participate in the National 4-H Dairy Conference held in Madison, Wis. Before attending the conference I had limited knowledge of the dairy industry and why it was important. This conference increased my knowledge of the dairy industry helped me become a better leader, and allowed me to create new friendships.
I started the conference by meeting youth delegates from other U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Throughout the conference, I participated in many events that focused on meeting new people including a pin exchange, dances, games and other activities.
Throughout the week, youth delegates go on many tours and attend seminars about different aspects of the dairy industry. These include how to extract semen, writing and publishing dairy literature, small and large dairy farm operations, dairy history, and business practices. In addition, seminars focused on dairy careers were offered. I also heard many guest speakers who teach us about dairy advocacy and attended World Dairy Expo.
At the conference, the National 4-H Dairy Conference planning committee opened two spots for youth delegates to be on the committee. I filled out an application and had an interview with members of the planning committee. A week after the conference, the chairman, Gary Fredericks, called told me I had been chosen to be a youth delegate on the committee.
As part of the National 4-H Dairy Conference Committee I was expected to participate in monthly conference calls and help plan and give input at planning meetings. At the 2015 conference I helped prepare bags to be handed out at the conference, gave an introductory speech and shared a YouTube video I created showcasing the 2014 National 4-H Dairy Conference. I made myself available to the youth delegates and helped them with questions or concerns they had. I gave input and feedback to the planning committee in the process of choosing youth delegates for the 2016 conference.
The National 4-H Dairy conference developed my leadership abilities. It also built my social skills and made me more confident. The dairy conference helped me learn more about the dairy industry and the many career areas it encompasses.