Missouri Betterment Conference awards rural youth

Related Story

COLUMBIA – “Rural Progress and Pride” is the theme of this year's Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) Conference.

“Our focus is to help the communities with resources and information so that they can achieve and complete improvements in their communities,” MCB Executive Director Teresa Keller said.

MCB community projects totaled more than six million dollars in economic impact for Missouri this year according to their annual report.

“It seems that a lot of times the resources are available for the larger, urban areas," Keller said. "Rural Missouri, they need assistance. That’s what we’re there for.”

This year’s conference is recognizing 23 community projects from 59 communities across Missouri, eleven of which are youth projects.

Katelyn Watts, Vice President of the Youth Advisory Board, headed several projects in the past. Her latest project is riverfront improvement.

“In my community, one of the main things you see is the riverfront and you want that to be something that draws people in to keep them coming and wanting to come back,” Watts said.

In addition to the project awards, the conference also has a full schedule of keynote speakers and networking events.

Going forward, MCB hopes to provide a forum for rural communities to connect adults and youth.

“By them forming partnerships with adults in their communities and working on these projects, they have buy-in and they have an example to take with them of what the community's about,” Keller said. “That, hopefully, will plant a seed that they'll want to come back.”

Next on MCB's calendar is the Youth Civic Leadership Summit. It will be held at Windermere Conference Center on March 2-4.