Students learn leadership skills during conference

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—More than 98 kids from across the state gathered at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana for three days of team building and leadership activities hosted by the Alabama Farmers Federation.

The company is “always looking for ways to invest in youth and rural Alabama,” said Jennifer Himburg, young farmers division director for the Alabama Farmers Federation.

The program strives to instill fundamental leadership and communication skills in students ages 15 through 17, many of who will stay in Alabama after they graduate, Himburg said.

The students participate in a variety of activities during their action-packed three-day stay at the camp. Students learned about the dangers of drunk driving during a “fatal vision” exercise in which they wore goggles, which simulated the experience of being drunk. A state trooper then warned the students of the legal ramifications of driving while impaired.

Students also participate in devotionals, ropes courses, scavenger hunts and team building games.

For many students, the highlight of the camp is the variety of new relationships they forge.

“They have the ability to meet and connect with someone they didn’t know (before the camp),” Himburg said.

“I’ve met a lot of new friends,” said Cayden Hess, a sophomore from Hartford, who is participating in the program.

Drew Parker, a senior from Hatton, said meeting new people from different backgrounds has been the best part of the program, and he already has plans to attend the camp again in the future.

“I’ll take back memories of how much fun I had here and hopefully come back next year if I can,” Parker said.