Cullman County students attend Alfa Leadership Conference

Alfa Leadership Conference helps students sharpen skills

Cullman County students Jebb Bryan, Kalli Jones, Nikki Tyree and Todd Sears sharpened leadership skills during the Alfa Youth Leadership Conference at the 4-H Center in Columbiana Sept. 30-Oct 1. The annual leadership workshop is for 9th-10th graders. Bryan and Sears attend Holly Pond High School, while Jones and Tyree are students at West Point High School. They were sponsored by the Cullman County Farmers Federation. From left are the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mike Tidwell, Tyree, Jones, Bryan and Sears.

COLUMBIANA, Ala. – Two days of learning at the Alfa Youth Leadership Conference should help launch a lifetime of leadership success for 119 ninth and 10th graders.

Held in Columbiana at the Alabama 4-H Center Sept. 30-Oct. 1, the annual conference was sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation and county Federations.

“These students aren’t the leaders of tomorrow; they’re the leaders of today,” said Wiley Bailey, the Federation’s Area 2 Organization director who helped coordinate the conference. “It’s important to energize young leaders and get them involved in agriculture at an early age so they can advocate for the industry and serve their communities.”

Attendees hailed from 49 counties and worked to pinpoint potential, develop talents and discover a passion for service.

Agenda items included team-building activities at the 4-H Center’s challenge course; ag advocacy training with former National FFA officer Brennan Costello; high-energy leadership development with nationally renowned speaker Kelly Barnes; a political overview with Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster; and an interactive personal growth workshop with leadership consultant Nicole Pinkham.

Bailey, also a former National FFA officer, said the network students formed will last through college and into their careers. That includes students like Alana Barnes from Crenshaw County, who created connections with fellow leaders from across the state.

“I wanted to gain more leadership skills and learn how to encourage others to become leaders, too,” said Barnes, a ninth-grader at Brantley High School.

During the conference, students amplified their patriotic pride during a flag-raising presentation with reenactors from the American Village in Montevallo and snacked on s’mores during a fireside cookout.