For more than 60 years, electric cooperatives across Kansas have recognized outstanding high schoolers by providing a valuable leadership experience for exceptional teens. Usually that means selecting students for a trip to Washington D.C., or Steamboat Springs, Colorado, but due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the decision was made to offer a virtual youth leadership conference during the week of June 21, exclusive to Kansas youth. FreeState sponsored Carter Seth and Evan Shupe. Both young men had a unique leadership experience that was engaging and interactive.
The Kansas Electric Youth Leadership Conference focused on telling a leadership story and included speakers that were engaging, dynamic, and unique in their own right. Speakers included Dan Meers,the KC Chiefs Wolf; Holly Hoffman, former Survivor contestant; Molly McPherson, social media workshop; and a panel of current college students who are also youth tour alumni sharing tips and tricks on planning for the future. The highlight of the week for some was an exclusive and engaging visit with Senator Jerry Moran, who spent time answering questions, sharing his thoughts on leading in Washington, and how students can invest now in leadership experiences that will pay dividends in the future.
The two FreeState students will receive a $1,000 scholarship for their participation from FreeState and will also be eligible to apply for an annual $1,000 state scholarship and a $10,000 national scholarship only available to Youth Tour alumni!
Carter Seth will be a senior at Lyndon High School. He is the son of Jaryl & Stephanie Seth.
“The KEY Leadership Conference provided me with some great insight, and a lot of ideas that I feel will be helpful to me in the future. I learned that challenges are opportunities, and opportunities usually lead to growth. Challenges can be frustrating and scary, but if you put forth your best effort, they will lead to some of your greatest accomplishments. Dan Meers (KC Wolf) said something that really stuck with me. He said, “invest your life, don’t spend your life.” When you invest by serving your community you are able to lead and encourage others. The legacy you leave will be the result of the investments and service you commit to your community. Presenter Molly McPherson said that having a bad online reputation can affect your entire future. More and more employers are looking at social media before hiring employees, and her presentation made me realize how important it is to be thoughtful about posting online. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the KEY Leadership Conference. I met many new people, and I learned many important things that I can use for a lifetime.”
Evan Shupe will be a senior at Tonganoxie High School. He is the son of Darren & Stephanie Shupe.
“I was a little bummed we couldn’t meet in person. I had heard stories from my dad about his youth tour experience, and I was excited. Even though there were limitations, I wasn’t going to hold down my optimism. Throughout the week, I was impressed! The highlight of my week was hearing the KC Wolf (Dan Meers) talk about “Wolves Can’t Fly.” His stories of adventures as Kansas City’s favorite mascot were inspiring. He never had an easy time, especially after his accident, but he still finds ways to make people smile and laugh on a daily basis. He said go and do something that you love. He’s been a mascot for over 30 years, and to see the genuine smile on his face after everything he’s done was awesome. I also enjoyed hearing from the college youth alumni on tips that I can use for college. I learned a lot from them, and I hope that I can use some of their tricks when I go to college. All in all, I really enjoyed this conference! I learned from so many amazing people. I’m glad the conference happened, even during these tough times and COVID. I’m very appreciative of everyone who helped put this conference together, and I’m going to remember this for a very long time.”