Matthew Gerrits of Wyoming recently attended the 2014 GROWMARK Annual Meeting in Chicago as this year’s youth speaker where he spoke in front of more than 1000 attendees about his views on the importance of building more co-operatives in our communities and abroad.
Matthew Gerrits was chosen for this opportunity through his involvement with the Ontario Co-operative Association’s Co-operative Young Leaders Program
in which he was sponsored to attend by Wanstead Farmers Co-operative.
In his opening remarks in Chicago, Gerrits said that when he was asked to think about the theme for this speech, “Building Co-operatives,” his first thought was that the co-op business model, with all its values and principles, is by far one of the greatest tools for raising the developing world out of poverty.
Gerrits was one of three young people chosen to take part in the travel opportunity sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. Also travelling to Chicago was 4-H Ontario
Ambassador Brooke Thompson of York Region and Kim Hooey, provincial director and treasurer for Junior Farmers’ Association
of Ontario Bruce County.
Each year GROWMARK
provides travel opportunities to youth who have shown dedication to leadership development. They travel to Chicago to learn more about GROWMARK and network with business people and other young leaders. As part of their experience, they took part in the annual meeting’s grand opening ceremonies with young leaders from Future Farmers of America and had the opportunity to visit the Chicago Board of Trade.