The Youth Leadership Derby is a high-energy, 24-hour lock-in for all 15-to 18-year-olds interested in the dairy industry. It's an opportunity to gain hands-on experience, develop leadership skills and make new friends.
The weekend conference is stacked with labs and workshops, tours, networking opportunities and farm fun.
"This conference is the premier event for youth in the dairy industry," says Shelly Mayer, PDPW executive director.
"It's the perfect opportunity for students to meet new friends, explore career opportunities, learn life skills and develop a greater understanding of the dairy industry. And above all, it's fun!"
Hands-on labs and workshops will provide participants numerous valuable experiences to help them understand the science behind the industry. Students also will have the chance to interact with young adults who have recently entered the professional arena, providing them the opportunity to learn while creating lifelong friendships.
First on the agenda are four not-your-ordinary tours: Cedar Valley Cheese, Sargento, Majestic Crossing Dairy and Kestell Farm. "These tours delve into the action and are tailored just for this group," Mayer says.
After the tours, youth will go around the Derby oval, participating in three oh-my-gosh breakout sessions. Lap No. 1, with Cheryl Skjolass, University of Wisconsin Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, will target hazards and risks that could injure a farm worker and teach youth steps to assist in a farm emergency. Shane Fedin, UW-Madison, will lead Lap No. 2, showcasing a cow's incredible four-chamber stomach. The third and final lap will have Dr. Chris Booth, DVM, of Kettle Moraine Large Animal Clinic, going under the hide of a calf and explaining the processes organs undergo to keep a calf healthy and growing.
"The dairy industry certainly would not be the same without the advancements in science leading to many new dairy food products, the research in calf care or the superior genetics bull studs continue to impress with," Mayer says.
After filling up with a hardy breakfast, the fun and learning continues Sunday morning when participants burn those tires in style and go on a "co-opedile hunt" to discover their best self – as well as the keys to being real, being happy, being strong and believing. Participants will leave the derby as true leaders, fully equipped with new connections to explore even more career opportunities.
Do you know a high school student who would benefit from this experience? Student sponsorships are always encouraged.
The cost of the program is $100. Registration includes all meals, snacks, conference fees and training materials. Check-in is at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Sheboygan Falls High School. The weekend wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m.
To register or receive additional information, click here or call 800-947-7379.