October 23, 2013

Twenty-nine communities and 13 individuals were honored at the Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) conference at Lake Ozark. The Awards Banquet was the highlight of the 50th annual conference which assists communities to improve their quality of life. Nearly 225 volunteers, community leaders and youth from across the state were in attendance.

The city of Salem won the Gene Speichinger Community of the Year Award over the other 28 communities that entered this year. MCB judges and Board members were impressed with the community planning process undertaken by Salem.  It was very clear how this year’s projects flow from community need discussions.  Likewise it was easy to see how this year’s projects will serve as foundations for projects to follow in the upcoming years. Other winners in the six population groups were:  South Iron/Annapolis, Galena, Steelville, Houston, and Pleasant Hill.

“The Missouri Community Betterment Board congratulates all the volunteers from the participating communities,” MCB President John Gulick said. “Because of these dedicated individuals and their collaborative efforts, their Missouri communities are better places to live, work and play.”

The Awards Banquet is an integral part of the MCB program, which is administered by the Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund. MCBEF is a not-for-profit organization made up of businesses, public utilities, community representatives, federal and state agencies and individuals.  

Following is a list of the community and individual award winners:

Gene Speichinger Community of the Year Award       Salem

 Community Awards

Category I 
First Place South Iron/Annapolis

Second Place Caledonia

Third Place Jameson

Fourth Place Cainsville

Fifth Place Allendale 

Category II 
First Place Galena

Second Place Novinger

Third Place Lowry City

Fourth Place Osborn

Fifth Place Essex 

Category III 
First Place Steelville

Second Place Grant City

Third Place Bourbon

Fourth Place Mansfield

Fifth Place Salisbury

Category IV 
First Place Houston

Second Place Albany

Third Place Fayette/Armstrong

Fourth Place Windsor

Category V

First Place Salem

Second Place East Prairie

Third Place Lamar

Fourth Place Louisiana

Fifth Place Eldon 

Category VI 
First Place Pleasant Hill

Second Place Clinton

Third Place Perryville

Fourth Place Aurora

Certificate of Merit:  Category I  Kingston

Glenn Smith Youth Group of the Year Award   Houston

Youth Groups

Category I 
First Place Caledonia

Second Place South Iron/Annapolis 

Category II 
First Place Novinger  

Category III 
First Place Steelville & Bourbon (tied for 1st) 

Category IV 
First Place  Houston

 Category V 
First Place Lamar

Second Place Louisiana

Category VI 
First Place Pleasant Hill

            Second Place Clinton

 Youth Group Certificate of Merit:   Category V Eldon

Adult Leadership Award

Anna Lee Sutton South Iron/Annapolis

Zola Steinman Albany

John Robinson, III Caledonia

Dan Wallace Clinton

Deborah Snedigar Lamar

Clay Stark Logan Louisiana

Jerry Lough Salem

Youth Leadership Award

Matthew Maxwell Caledonia

Mary Langdon Clinton

Kenna Roland Lamar

Kelsey Henderson Louisiana

Trenton Clarke Pleasant Hill

Matt Sirois Salem

MCB 2013 Ambassador Award

Avis Parman

Jason Smith

 * Ambassador bios are submitted by the community or rep of the nominee

Conference Forms

Conference Evaluation Form

2013 Conference Speaker Bio's


“The Missouri Partnership frequently works with companies looking in Missouri for potential locations to set up new operations.  We firmly believe that communities that invest in continuous improvement and ‘quality of place’ enjoy a competitive advantage in their efforts to attract new jobs and investment.  Companies searching for a new home will always favor a community that takes pride in itself and strives to better itself every day, and the Missouri Community Betterment program helps communities across the state to do just that.” Christopher Chung, CEO, Missouri Partnership

“Missouri Community Betterment is a tremendous association that recognizes the efforts and achievements of our state’s rural communities. As a former youth member, community member and State Board Member I am a product of the leadership development promoted by the association.” - US Congressman Jason Smith

“The MFA Oil Foundation’s mission is to support and invest in communities where we do business, to assure their continued prosperity. MCB’s mission is to provide assistance to many of those same communities to help them with improvement projects. With similar missions it seems only fitting that our Foundation should support MCB with the work that they do. As a MCB board member I have been very impressed with the dedication of many of the local community leaders as they attempt to make their town the best it can be”.  - Ken Caspall, MFA Foundation

The MCB conference provides networking for youth groups to learn what other communities have done and an opportunity to develop new plans for projects in their own home towns.  Developing leadership capacity and confidence in their abilities to work with adults gives the MCB youth participants great preparation for college and beyond. - Dave Garnett, Hawthorn Bancshares

MCB has helped me develop skills to be a leader in my school and community. Through my involvement in the youth program I have gained confidence and communication skills. The three MCB conferences I attended were fun and motivating. Having the opportunity to hear what others were doing to help their community has helped me bring new ideas to my town. Community Betterment has motivated my entire youth team to improve our community throughout the year. - Kenna Roland, Senior 2014, Lamar (2013 MCB Youth Leadership Award Winner)

“As a MCB board member I have had a chance to observe first hand, how enthusiastically some of the MCB participating community’s youth become engaged in the projects they initiate in their communities.  These youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the leadership skills demonstrated in the local projects they under take can be exemplary.   Youth leadership recognition and civic engagement  is just another reason why the MFA Oil Foundation is a willing MCB Sponsor”. - Ken Caspall, MFA Oil Foundation

"Missouri Community Betterment and the Missouri Community Betterment Conferences have been a blessing to the youth in Steelville. The sessions and guidance given during the MCB conferences has allowed us to improve our community in many various ways." - Libby Wynn, Steelville Youth Group 

"The Missouri Community Betterment Program is one of the best values a rural community can invest in to access professional assistance in community planning, development and technical expertise." - Kelly Smith, Missouri Farm Bureau

"MCB has provided our rural community with resources and opportunities to implement projects and help grow community support.  MCB allows our youth an avenue to be involved on a much larger scale in the growth and development of our community.  I have been involved with MCB for 25 years and the experiences I have been able to share with the youth of our community have truly been priceless.  Being involved with MCB, has opened many doors for our community, but the greatest reward for me has been the positive impact on our youth and the leadership opportunities provided to them." - Jodie Cottrell, youth group leader , Steelville

“We invest in Missouri Community Betterment because we see firsthand the success the program is having in rural communities throughout the state. While across the Midwest we are seeing Main Streets close up shop, MCB communities continue to grow and provide a better quality of life for Missourians.” - Mark Woodson, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.

“Founded by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community Betterment has provided outstanding technical assistance to Missouri’s rural communities for more than 50 years.  The support, energy, and success of the MCB program has continued to give participating communities the opportunity to thrive in today’s economy and make Missouri feel like home to growing businesses.” - Mike Downing, Director of Missouri Department of Economic Development

"Our Youth are just in awe of everything they did at conference and are ready to undertake all sorts of new challenges.  I was so proud or Kirk, who spoke at at a grant acceptance ceremony on Wednesday (week after the 2015 conference).  He spoke to 30 adults and stayed calm as a cucumber  and was the hit of the show.  Without the leadership skills he learned at the conference, I don’t know if he would have been so sure of himself.  Thanks is not enough, but the only word in English we have available." - Connie Johnson, Galena

In my opinion MCB has helped communities in our region by giving them a sense or organization/structure to go about improving their community on their own.  They have access to resources and a network to assist them in achieving their goals and it keeps community development in front of them all the time by having this nucleus active in the community.
Jackie Soptic, Assistant Director, Green Hills Regional Planning Commission

Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund Inc.,
P.O. Box 105997, Jefferson City, MO 65110
Phone:660.383.1034 Fax:660.383.1202