Iron Range Young Leaders Conference is Feb. 13

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Extension Office • 2503 Rice Lake Road • Duluth, MN 55811 • (218) 733-2870

307 First Street S., Suite 105 • Virginia, MN 55792 • (218) 749-7120

Patty Swedberg
Extension Administrator




February 2, 2017

CONTACT: Patty Swedberg

St. Louis County Extension Administrator

(218) 733-2879

Make a Difference Conference for Iron Range youth is February 13

More than 350 youth from across the Iron Range will join together at Fortune Bay Resort for a

half day of inspiration and sharing designed by area students, advisors and county program

coordinators. The twenty-second annual Iron Range Young Leaders' Make a Difference Conference is Monday, February 13, beginning at 9:15 a.m.


This year's keynote speaker is J.R. Salzman, a world champion log roller, Iraq War veteran, writer and small business owner, who will talk about perseverance and determination to overcome insurmountable odds. Salzman had won several log rolling championships when, emotionally affected by the September 11 attacks, he chose to enlist in the Minnesota Army National Guard. While deployed in Iraq in 2006, he was severely injured by a roadside bomb, suffering a traumatic brain injury and losing his right arm. Despite his injuries, Salzman returned to log rolling, and has won four more world titles.


The conference will also feature Jason Mystic, a certified master hypnotist who has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows.

The Make a Difference Conference also features eight workshops presented by Iron Range

Youth in Action (IRYA) members from across the Range. Workshop topics include healthy family relationships, effective communication skills, self defense moves, responsible pet ownership, warning signals about unhealthy teen relationships, and more.


The conference is funded in part by St. Louis County, the Partners Board, and numerous Iron Range area businesses. IRYA is a service organization that brings together students from 11 schools and 37 communities. Its mission is to promote youth leadership and bring positive change to northern Minnesota.The public is invited to attend all or part of the conference to see how IRYA students are making a difference on the Iron Range.

More information is available online about the conference and Iron Range Youth in Action at



JR Salzman
J.R. Salzman (left) is a world champion log roller, despite sustaining serious injuries while serving in Iraq. He will be the keynote speaker at the Iron Range Young Leaders Conference on February 13. (Photo courtesy J.R. Salzman)