Kicking off OALP Class XIX

Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program Class XIX gathered for the first time in Stillwater, Okla., to launch the OALP experience. The new class is comprised of 25 individuals who have a passion for agriculture and a desire to enhance their leadership abilities to serve the agricultural industry.

Class XIX Members:

James Ambrose – Stillwater
Jonathan Bergmark – Stillwater
Courtney Brown – Edmond
Adam Cobb – Stillwater
Tyler Cole – Broken Arrow
Jake Harriger – Piedmont
Kendal Henderson – Stillwater
Lindsay Henricks – Anadarko
John Jeffrey – Stillwater
Myriah Johnson – Lindsay, Texas
Tandy Kidd – Oklahoma City
Kristin Young – Edmond
Reid Nichols – Altus
Zak Nulik – Hinton
Eli Parr – Yukon
Dillon Payne – Lone Grove
Gregg Pickens – Stillwater
Allan Poe – Waynoka
Jason Ramsey – Checotah
Nikki Schuth-Mitchell – Calera
Dillon Sparks – Hennepin
Steven Stewart – Stillwater
Lee Vanderwork – Mooreland
Nina Wise – Stillwater
Mark Zordel – Miami

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018

The group spent the first day of the seminar participating in introductory activities to get acquainted with one another. We also had the opportunity to make a short presentation about themselves to the group. Additionally, we gained a better understanding of the history of OALP and its objectives, received an overview of the next two years of the program and learned about our responsibilities as participants of Class XIX.

Another exciting component to the first day was the OALP alumni panel. Three past members of the program (Debbie Wedel, Class XVI; Kristin Alsup, Class XVII; Melody Aufill, Class XVIII) spent time with us to share their OALP experiences and offer advice and encouragement. This sparked excitement among the group, as the alumnae positively, with many laughs, reflected on their time in OALP.

The day concluded with a welcome dinner held at the Central Electric Cooperative. This special dinner allowed the new class to meet the OALP advisory council and selection committee, alumni and other special guests.

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018

The next day focused on strengthening the bond of the Class XIX with a trip to Camp Redlands. Our awesome facilitator, Nate, led us through several fun and challenging games geared toward team building and communication. Some of the games included moving a ball across PVC pipes to drop it into a cup and using ropes to strategically maneuver a ball through a set of holes on a board suspended in the air.

After lunch, we prepared for our next activity: the challenge course. Dillon Payne was brave enough to be the first one to make it across the course. Although the height posed as a challenge to some, the majority of the group conquered the course as everyone cheered each other on.

The evening’s activity got us interacting with some Stillwater residents through a community service project. We had the invaluable opportunity to serve the attendees at First United Methodist Church’s weekly community dinner. After meeting the dedicated volunteers who make this event happen, we divided and conquered tasks. Some served dinner, some washed dishes and some simply enjoyed a meal and conservation with the dinner attendees. We all enjoyed our time serving at the dinner and look forward to more community service projects in future seminars.

Winding down the day, we filled our stomachs with a delicious spread of desserts at Edmond and Rose Bonjour’s home.

Friday, Aug. 24, 2018

On the last day of Seminar 1, we met several of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources administration and learned about the DASNR triangle and its core components: Extension, Teaching and Research. Dr. Tom Coon, DASNR vice president, led the morning by giving us an introduction of DASNR and the land-grant mission. Dr. Damona Doye, associate vice president for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, gave an overview of OCES, explaining Extension has a presence in each Oklahoma county with focuses of 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and agriculture. Representing OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources was Associate Dean Dr. Cynda Clary, who offered the group some informative statistics about CASNR. Lastly, we heard from Dr. Keith Owens, assistant director for the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Owens shared the operations of experiment stations and their role to fulfill the land-grant mission.

With a better grasp of DASNR and the land-grant system under our belts, we then heard from agricultural economics associate professor Dr. Shannon Ferrell. Dr. Ferrell delivered a thought-provoking presentation on intentional goal setting. Following, Dr. Bill Weeks and Dr. Penny Weeks, professors in CASNR’s Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, engaged the group with a workshop on leadership. Not only did we learn how to define leadership, we also completed an activity that demonstrated how groups operate under different leadership styles.

We wrapped up the seminar with a lesson on dining etiquette taught by Debby Strickland. We all learned something new and enjoyed practicing our new etiquette techniques.

The first seminar allowed Class XIX to lay the foundation for a close-knit group. We anticipate more adventures over the next two years!


Kristin Young, Class XIX