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EAU CLAIRE - Over 100 high school students from Wisconsin and Minnesota attended Cooperative Network’s 2017 Co-ops Yes! Youth Leadership Conference in Eau Claire last week.

The two-day conference, held March 6-7, offered attendees a variety of cooperative and leadership learning opportunities and focused on the theme: “Cooperatives Build Leadership”.

“Cooperative Network is committed to providing our future cooperative members and leaders with educational opportunities to learn about the cooperative business model, co-op membership benefits, career opportunities and personal leadership development,” said Ethan Giebel, Cooperative Network’s government and educational services director.

On the first day, attendees heard several presentations from representatives from cooperatives, a leadership seminar along with breakout sessions.

Each year, participants elect a panel of their peers to serve on the Youth Board These individuals will attend additional sponsored learning events throughout the year, tour area cooperatives and aid in planning the next year’s conference. The 2017-18 Co-ops Yes! Youth Board members from Wisconsin are: Jenna Stott of Tomah, sponsored by Oakdale Electric Cooperative; Paige VanderWerff of Dane, sponsored by InSight FS and Devon Weiland of Colby, sponsored by Colby High School FFA.

The program was provided with support from the CHS Foundation, AgStar Fund for Rural America, Heartland Credit Union, Organic Valley and Badgerland Financial.

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