Sixteen finalists have been selected for the 2021-22 Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Mentorship Program, a national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The group was selected out of twenty-three semi-finalists following a virtual competition on August 30th.

The finalists will be awarded a $2,000 travel budget and be paired with a hand-picked industry leader for a nine-month mentorship in their specific area of interest.

"It provides young people ages eighteen to thirty-five with industry-specific training," explained Jessica Radau, CCA's Youth Leadership Coordinator. "Throughout that experience we also provide them different skill building training opportunities and workshops, and give them a chance to network with different industry stakeholders and within their peer group along the way."

Near the end of the month, CCA will host calls with the finalists to learn more about their specific area of interest within the beef industry, what their goals are, and how a mentor could help them.

"With that information, we have a committee of program sponsors and various industry stakeholders that will do some brainstorming and come up with some ideas of who we could approach as different mentors, and get to work finding these young people a match," explained Radau.

The hope, according to Radau, is to return to more in-person mentoring, depending on the COVID-19 situation, but she noted virtual webinars will contribute to a more hybrid format of the program.

The 2021 finalists are:
- British Columbia: Julia Flinton (Williams Lake), Amanda Miller (Lumby), Janine Rubin (Rose Prairie)
- Alberta: Diane Van Essen (Picture Butte), Nikki Olson (Red Deer County), Rheanne Ritchie (Didsbury), Laura Macrae (Westlock), Tia Schram (Bruderheim), Melissa Gablehaus (Rochester)
- Saskatchewan: Brock Larson (Simmie), Holly Sparrow (Vanscoy), Logan Houff (Eston)
- Ontario: Emily Potter (Earlton), Laura Scott (Oxford Mills)
- Québec: Victor Drury (La Pêche)
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Darren Dinsmore (Goose Bay)

Meantime, 32 graduates will exit the program at the end of September.

Established in 2010, the CYL Program has seen over 120 graduates go on to excel in various leadership roles throughout the beef supply chain.