The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation is committed to providing education and information that advances the economy of South Dakota. We recognize that young people are our future - the future of farms and ranches, our businesses and our communities.
We seek to expand our youth education programs that teach the importance of cooperatives and member-owned operations, develop leadership abilities and cultivate business skills, cultural awareness and the entrepreneurial spirit.
The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation supports the following programs: REAL, Jr. REAL, Farm Safety, Youth Camps and Young Producers.
South Dakota Farmers Union State Leadership Camp went virtual this July. The theme was “Campertined – A Virtual Experience.” The theme underscored this year’s need for camp safety and understanding the value of staying connected. Campers took part in evening activities by computer July 27-30 to receive leadership training and experience the fun of camp in a new way.
Campers were sent a “campertined” care package including a t-shirt, stress tractor, and S’mores kit. SDFU focused on safety by keeping the camp virtual. Current Junior Advisory Council member Kathryn Nightingale from White Lake says, “Camp this year wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for and expected, especially as a JAC which has always been an experience I was looking forward to.”
Nightingale adds, “It was a bummer when we decided we wouldn’t be holding camp in person, but we still managed to have fun and I’m glad we could all get together virtually, have a fun time and see familiar faces.”
“Our campers are like family and they rely on spending time with their friends every year to reconnect and see each other,” says Education Director Rachel Haigh-Blume. “So, we did everything we could to recreate the best camp-like experience possible online.” In addition to helping shape our future leaders, the camp emphasizes fun, too. Campers experienced a Murder Mystery team event, virtual campfires and team games including the Snooze Queens, Farmer Illuminati, Smore Squad, Creeping Campers and Marshmallow Roasters in a virtual battle of camp packing and scary story making. They even exchanged virtual hugs. Aeriel Eitreim of Sioux Falls joined the virtual group for her first experience of Senior High Camp. “My favorite part of camp was getting to know other people and making new memoires. I am looking forward to attending in-person camp.”
One portion of camp focused on self-kindness and how to disengage from the negative thoughts and opinions of others. Dr. Thom Flamboe, a Mental Strength Conditioning Coach from Black Hills State University, is a camp favorite and was back again this year.
“It can be a very stressful time for everyone right now, especially youth,” says Haigh- Blume. “I want them to take a moment and focus on all of those around them that care, the people they can turn to on a bad day. Purposeful time spent on this type of meaningful thinking will hopefully make the bad days easier and ensure they know they are never alone.”
Alyssa Fordham, a return camper, was happy for the opportunity to see friends again. “Virtual camp was a way to get to see everyone, it was better than not seeing each other at all and the camp packet was fun – I would definitely attend in-person camp if possible again,” says Fordham.
Campers had some business to conduct, too. They elected this year’s four-member Junior Advisory Council (JAC) leaders. The new JACs will serve a one-year term as leaders, role models and representatives in planning and conducting State Camp.
Those elected to serve as the 2021 camp Junior Advisory Council (JAC) include:
Kelcey Butler, Philip, S.D., daughter of David and Michelle Butler. She sees JACs as role models and mentors and applied to help mentor others in need. Butler says, “I am excited about working as a team to plan the next camp adventure and to continue the personal growth and development the program has helped me gain.”
Elle Hoops, Huron, S.D., daughter of Dave and Debbie Hoops. Hoops is excited to be a JAC because it means another year with her Farmers Union friends. She wants everyone at camp to have a great experience and to continue the opportunity of making lifelong friends and impacting the next generation of campers. Cassie Langbehn: Huron and Rapid City, S.D., daughter of Sarah Toupal and Mike Langbehn. Langbehn wanted to be a JAC because of the kindness, calm and love they bring to camp. She wants new campers to experience the welcome and love that she has felt at camp.
Hailey Monson: Groton, S.D., daughter of Nick and Lyncee Monson. Attending state camp, Monson always looked up to the great leaders. She is looking forward getting to talk with the campers, especially the new ones, and helping them open up to just have fun.
We are proud to announce our scholarships to applicants whose parents are members of South Dakota Farmers Union.
Each year, Farmers Union Foundation raises more than $100,000 to fund leadership-focused educational opportunities.
We want to hear from you! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help!
You can donate to help South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation. You can give through PayPal or by using a major credit card.
The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, therefore, contributions are tax deductible.
Who makes a difference in your rural community?
We want to honor them. S.D. Farmers Union is now taking nominations for the 2021 Rural Dakota Pride Awards. Please return the form by July 10, 2021.
Return this form to: SDFU Foundation, PO Box 1388, Huron, SD 57350
All recipients will be honored during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair.
Contact Karla Hofhenke for more information at (605) 352-6761 ext 114 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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