Character education topic of upcoming conference

The seventh annual South Dakota Character Education Conference is set for June 17-18 in Sioux Falls.

The conference will take place at the Ramkota Inn and Convention Center in Sioux Falls. To take part, contact your county Extension office, or call South Dakota's 4-H CHARACTER COUNTS! State Coordinator Karelyn Farrand at 605-626-7120.

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H/Youth Development CHARACTER COUNTS!®  program staff will host the conference.

The central theme of the event is "Empower Our Future," and event staff and speakers will explain how that can happen when youth are provided character education programs that teach them to have the courage and confidence to make positive choices in their homes, schools, and communities.

A pre-conference session is set for 1 to 6 p.m. on June 16 at the convention center. Open to parents, teachers, and community members, this meeting focuses on the history and background of the CHARACTER COUNTS! program, including activities connected to the program's Six Pillars of Character®. This training also includes discussion on ethical decision-making and building partnerships.

Carol McCloud, author of the award-winning, best-selling children's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" will present a presentation entitled "Creating Bucket-Filling Schools, Families, Workplaces, and Communities." Attendees will learn how children can be daily "bucket fillers" and how adults can create bucket-filling families, schools and communities.

Paul "Fritz" Dunbar will share his presentation "Real Kids Real Life" on June 18. Dunbar is a nationally acclaimed speaker on issues in the lives of today's teens and author of "Real Kids Real Life." He will also present a breakout session entitled "Where Do We Go From Here?"

The conference will include 18 breakout sessions on topics including classroom strategies, involving community, bullying, diversity, team building, character in the arts, and more. Participants will be able to visit a variety of vendors during their breaks.

Attendees can apply to receive one credit of graduate-level coursework through South Dakota State University.

The Joe and Elaine Floyd Fund of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, First Bank & Trust, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, Touchtone Energy, Avera Health, and numerous state and regional CHARACTER COUNTS! supporters through the South Dakota 4-H Foundation are sponsoring the South Dakota 4-H CHARACTER COUNTS! Character Education Conference.

CHARACTER COUNTS! and the Six Pillars of Character are trademarks of the Josephson Institute, and operates in South Dakota under the leadership of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H/Youth Development program.

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