South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes youth with 2021 Torchbearer Honor

2021 Torchbearers: Faith Schulte, Hailey Monson, Casey Tolsma, Rachel Gerlach and Victoria Havermann. Although not pictured, Levi Nightingale also received the honor.

HURON, S.D. — South Dakota Farmers Union honored a group of devoted youth for their commitment to community, involvement and leadership development during the 2021 S.D. Farmers Union State Convention held Dec. 16-17 in Huron.

The Torchbearer Award is the highest achievement in the South Dakota Farmers Union Education Program. To receive the award, a camper must complete five years of service. The award showcases the commitment campers have put toward education and the time they dedicated to serving rural communities.

True to the name of the award, continuing the traditions of the S.D. Farmers Union educational programming is often a priority for those eligible to receive the Torchbearer Award.

The 2021 Torchbearers include Victoria Havermann, Union County; Rachel Gerlach, Aurora County; Levi Nightingale, Aurora County; Casey Tolsma, Aurora County; Hailey Monson, Brown County; and Faith Schulte, Faulk County.

Hailey Monson of Brown County was also selected to serve as Senior Advisory Council for Farmers Union Youth Programming. Monson is from Brown County and is the daughter of Nicholas and Lyncee Monson. She is a student at South Dakota State University and is studying nursing.

To learn more about Monson, read the Q&A below.

Q. What does being selected a Senior Advisory Council member mean to you and why are you applying?

Being selected a Senior Advisory Council member is very important to me. I have gone to Farmers Union Camp for a long time. Going to camp each year is something I look forward to. I am applying because I do not want to leave camp just yet. I want to go back and continue my Farmers Union journey. I want to help out at State Camp and be a good influence on the first-year campers.

Q. Describe how Farmers Union has impacted your leadership skills. What does a leader look like to you?

Farmers Union has taught me how to act and be nice to the people around me. When things go wrong, I like to take action and steer everything back on track. A leader looks like someone who cares about the people around them. They keep things in order while being a nice person and making sure everyone is fitting in and OK.

Q. Describe three skills that would make you a great asset to the Education Council and students.

I am very organized and can keep everything on track. I really love to make sure everyone is fitting in. By this, I am very friendly and will get those first years and those that are still in their shell to open up. I am also very creative! If an activity doesn’t work out, I am sure to come up with something fun to fill in the time.

Q. Describe the top two things you have learned at State Leadership Camp and how they will aid you in the Senior Advisory Role.

I have learned both leadership and teamwork skills at State Leadership Camp. They will aid me in the Senior Advisory role because when working with the people around me I know how to cooperate and make sure everyone gets a say. Making sure people are fitting in is one of my biggest goals by the end of the second day at camp.