Rural Leaders Invest Time to Learn, Grow, Bring New Skills Home
In the responsibilities of rural life, it’s not always easy to make time for extra things like conventions or workshops. But that’s all the more reason several participants attended a Rural Economic and Leadership (REAL) Development program Jan. 8-9 in Huron. South Dakota Farmers Union and attendees see leadership development as crucial to our future. This year’s participants included Shari Evenson, McIntosh; Keri Niederman, McIntosh; Caroline Hansen, Mitchell; and Becky Roehr, Britton.
REAL is a chance to meet people from throughout the state while learning how to motivate yourself and your community toward financial growth, stability and a positive future. Topics range from personal motivation, leadership, community growth and goal achievement.
Keri Niederman, Program Technician for Corson County FSA Office, says, “Programs like REAL are important because I feel that people have the urge to be better and to do better.” She adds that living and working in a rural location is an influencing factor too. “It gives people like me the opportunity to obtain the resources available to others at an affordable cost.”
Caroline Hansen, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Adviser for Davison/Hanson Counties, graduated from Kansas State University. When she changed careers from animal science to youth development, she knew she needed every single resource available to her.
“What the REAL program offers is not only the presenters who are experts in their respective fields, but it offers you other REAL participants to talk about real world, first-hand experiences and that is invaluable,” says Hansen.
“Each of us in the REAL program may be on different career paths, but we all need to communicate with people and any tips on how to do that are very beneficial.”
Charlotte Henley of Open Doors Consulting spoke on positivity in the home and workplace and the importance of human connections. “The group was very keen to learn. They were open, engaged and reflective,” says Henley.
Henley guided the group through a “True Colors” assessment to reveal their personality traits. The resulting insights lead to personal and professional growth and understanding communication styles and behaviors.
Added Henley, “The group recognized how each personality style would contribute to the success of a team. I see it as the first layer to understanding human behavior.”
Rachel Haigh-Blume, SDFU Education Director, adds, “REAL is a great way to grow both personally and professionally. From learning better communication techniques to self-reflection on how to handle difficult conversations and move projects forward, there is something for everyone to take away.”
The third REAL session will take place in Aberdeen March 25-26. For more information go to https://www.sdfu.org/education/adult/real/ or contact Rachel Haigh-Blume at 605-352-6761 ext 125.