2019 South Dakota Farmers Union Junior Advisory Council and the value of mentoring

To Kane
For South Dakota Farmers Union

At some point in life, we’ve all had mentors. It may have been that basketball coach who helped us with our jump shot. Or the mother or father who taught us our way around an oil change or helped us with our math homework.

Mentoring is core to the South Dakota Farmers Union camp system. Throughout the years, kids at camp learn from not only staff and special guests, but from fellow campers. As they learn and interact with SDFU’s Junior and Senior Advisory Council members, or JACs, many aspire to lead one day too.

“I came here because of my older sister. I always looked up to her leadership and the leadership of the JACs,” says Kathryn Nightingale, a newly elected Junior Advisory Council member from White Lake.

This June during South Dakota Farmers Union State Leadership Camp, they elected this year’s newest JACs leaders, a team from across the state: Kathryn Nightingale, White Lake; Ethan Byrd, White Lake; Marleigh Hulm, Bison; and Katherine Oberembt, Ethan.

Get to know the JACs a bit, by reading some excerpts from the applications of the 2019 SDFU Junior Advisory Council:

• Kathryn Nightingale, daughter of Lyle and Sandra Nightingale, would love to pass on the tradition and keep Famers Union alive; she would love to get more people to come to camp. She hopes they find a way to be themselves at camp, just like she has.

Some of her favorite memories of camp that she wants to keep in the future are the prayer box where they write down thoughts and give their worries away by burning them the last night of camp and spiral ceremony. Nightingale has gained leadership skills from being a part of the camping program. Her favorite part of camp is the friendships that she has made.

• Ethan Byrd, son of Rachel Byrd, wanted to be a JAC because he would love to have people enjoy camp as much as he had. His favorite memories of camp are finding friends in the most unlikely of situations. Byrd has become a better person by participating in the camping program and would not trade it for the world. His favorite thing about SDFU is the people of different backgrounds that come together and live in a place without hate.

• Marleigh Hulm, daughter of Carrie Roth, Brent Roth and Keith Hulm, wanted to be a JAC to get people excited about camp and to be a role model. She wants to create a welcoming environment for campers so they keep coming back.

Her favorite memories that she wants to keep for the future are getting to spend time with friends and bringing back a stress-free environment. Hulm says the camping program has helped her and others gain leadership skills, confidence and the chance to form bonds she would have never thought she would have. Her favorite part of SDFU is the opportunity to form friendships and make connections with everyone she meets here. She met one of her best friends at camp her first year and has made more friends every year she has been back.

• Katherine Oberembt, daughter of Todd and Lashawn Obermebt, wanted to be a JAC because she wants to bring positivity and enthusiasm to the team. Her favorite memories of camp include getting ready in the cabins with friends. The camping program has taught Oberembt to make friends in strange places. Her favorite thing about camp is when everyone sees each other on the first day after a long time apart.

To learn more about South Dakota Farmers Union educational programming, visit www.SDFU.org.