Dane Dugan is not only an outstanding role model for young people, but has a level of volunteer activity involvement and commitment to social problems and to youth issues is unsurpassed by most people his age. Much of his ability to get things done in his community and remain so motivated can be attributed to his intrepid optimism.
"I like to look for the positive things that I can do instead of focusing on the negative because I know that hope and spirit are crucial elements of an effective leader," says Dane, "I see failure as one of the best learning experiences for anyone. With every failure there is another lesson learned and with every lesson comes more knowledge and skills to share with other."
Dane is involved in many activities that seek to meet community needs and find solutions to problems. He developed and oversees, along with a teacher-advisor, a program in his high school called Youth in Action. The group's mission is "to analyze the needs of the community and school and to work on how it can better meet the changing, diverse needs of youth." This group, founded two years ago, teaches elementary school children about agriculture and its importance to Montana and the nation. Youth in Action received a grant to carry out classroom instruction.
Dane has also been a key player in organizing the 1999 county-wide Teen Issues Conference. In addition, he was a youth delegate to the Montana Governor's Summit on Youth in June 1998. As a result of the summit, a committee, of which Dane is a part, has been meeting to make plans for the 1999 youth-led conference to be attended by youth from all over Ravalli county to discuss the needs of young people in this area. Dane has been both a motivating and driving force in making this event a reality.
Dane is heavily involved in and deeply committed to the 4-H program, on county, state and national levels. He is a Montana 4-H Ambassador, which means he is responsible for promoting 4-H statewide. Dane's activities as an Ambassador are extensive and include giving presentations to schools in Ravalli county about 4-H, working with local newspapers to highlight outstanding 4-H members, preparing and distributing a county newsletter highlighting activities, coordination of National 4-H Week activities and conducting a project to supply local underprivileged children with coats for Christmas. He was the teen director for 4-H Camp this past summer, as well as the co-chair for the 1998 Montana 4-H Rec Lab. He, along with only 4 other Montana youth, was selected to attend the 1998 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. and is a member of 4-H Community Service Consulting Group. Furthermore, Dane was the initiator of the Ravalli County Teen Council, which works on youth issues county-wide, and has received a number of community service awards including the following: Stevensville Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award and the Horatio Alger-Lewis Feinstein Enriching America Award.
Dane is also involved in a number of non-4-H activities. These include: Youth in Action, a student led education group that he started, Ravalli County Teen Summit, Stevensville High School student government, soccer, Montana Teens Institute, and the Getting Things Done (Ravalli County Volunteer Resource Organization) Youth Board.