Maggie Brull, Plainville; Tyra Schultz, Grainfield; Brooke Herrman, LaCrosse; and Colby Stull, McCracken were among 29 Kansas and Oklahoma student leaders to discover the “KEY” to leadership during the June 21-25 Kansas Electric Youth (KEY) Leadership Conference. Brull, Schultz, Herrman, and Stull was selected from a group of high school students by Western Cooperative Electric.
To win a spot at this exclusive virtual conference, students applied last Fall and were selected based off a written essay, quiz and interview.
“Western is proud to support the KEY Leadership Conference and its promotion of leadership skills in our Co-op’s youth,” General Manager Tom Ruth said. “Our hope is that leadership opportunities like these will provide valuable experience for our local students and help them to further engage in the cooperative community.”
The student delegation was instructed on an array of topics relating to leadership in and out of the cooperative model, including a presentation on how to have your voice heard, a brand management workshop, a course on the cooperative principles, as well as tips to prepare for higher education. The speaker lineup featured a discussion with Sen. Jerry Moran, who visited openly with the students and answered their questions on topics ranging from foreign grain exports, death tax on inherited land, the pandemic, climate change, and support for military families. Other speaker highlights included an inspiring message from Survivor’s Holly Hoffman, and a presentation titled Wolves Can’t Fly from keynote speaker and Kansas City Chiefs mascot Dan Meers.
For Brull, being a part of the KEY Leadership Conference youth delegation was inspiring, and it motivated her to take a closer look at what it means to be a leader:
“I learned that my voice matters, and that even though I’m still a teenager, there’s a lot I can do in my world to make a difference. I also learned that there’s a lot that goes into success including hard work, determination, and perseverance. I heard a lot of different perspectives and truly enjoyed the experience.”
At the conclusion of the conference, students submitted a short video focused on what leadership means to them. These videos can be viewed at westerncoop.com or Western’s YouTube channel.
In addition to the conference, the students had the opportunity to apply for the Kansas Youth Spokesperson position. MAGGIE BRULL, sponsored by Western Cooperative Electric headquartered in WaKeeney, was named the 2021 Kansas Youth Spokesperson. Brull will give a speech about the KEY Leadership Conference at the Kansas Electric Cooperative Summer Meeting in Overland Park in August.
All students who completed the virtual conference are eligible to apply for both the KEC Auxiliary Scholarship and the NRECA Glenn English Scholarship that are designed for youth program alumni.
KEC plans to do in-person youth trips in 2022. Western’s application window for high school Juniors will open in December 2021. For more information about the Western youth programs, visit westerncoop.com/youth-tour.