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Two Sleepy Eye FFA Officers, Brandon Roiger and Chanda Fuller,
along with Advisor, Mary Hoffmann, attended the 2011 National Institute of
Cooperative Education (NICE) Conferfence at Purdue University in Indiana July 23
– July 27, 2011. Roiger and Fuller were representing the Minnesota Co-op Youth
Board at the Conference and were sponsored by the Cooperative Network and their
The focus of the NICE Conference is learning about Cooperatives,
Leadership, and Team Building. The five day conference had various
elements including: studying Cooperative Board Cases, a Cooperative Simulation
Activity, and Cooperative Education. Roiger and Fuller both
participated on different student teams throughout the conference meeting
working with other students from across the country.
The Cooperative Board Case Team Activity dealt with decisions that
a local cooperative would have to make. Each student was a member
of the Board of Directors and helped to come up with a solution for the problem
that the cooperative was facing using the seven principles of cooperatives.
Fuller’s Team placed 2nd in the Board Case Competition.
The Simulation Activity involved making numerous decisions of a
real cooperative such as what prices to charge for goods, how much inventory to
purchase, labor needs, storage needs, financial needs, investments, and
loans. Fuller’s Team placed 1st in their group for the
Cooperative Simulation Activity.
For co-op education, the students learned about what cooperatives
are, the types of cooperatives, how they operate, and their seven basic
principles. Tours and a Career Fair were also part of the conference.
Students toured a Wind Farm, watched an electrical safety demonstration,
and heard from members of several different types of cooperatives that offered
information about various careers with cooperatives.
Both Roiger and Fuller participated in the Youth
Scholar Competition while at the conference. The Youth Scholar
Competition required the students to participate in interviews about their
personal activities, accomplishments, future plans, and knowledge of
Roiger placed 2nd in his interview group and Fuller
advanced to the second round, placing first in her group. Fuller won the Female
Youth Scholar Competition and was awarded with a plaque and $200.
Winners of the Youth Scholar Program and other outstanding youth
are chosen and are asked to attend next year’s conference as student
leaders. This is a great opportunity to use what they have learned
and the skills they have in order to help other students at NICE in
Both students learned about cooperatives, met and connected with
other youth from across the country, and had a great time participating in the
various cooperative and leadership challenges throughout the