Walking in the Blue and Gold

By Andrew W. Heikkila, Meridian FFA

I walk with the blue and gold,

With a self pride that I hold.

For I know who I am,

Do you feel me fam.

For I live for the farmers in the past,

Ensuring that their legacy will last.

That they will not be thrown away,

For I'm here and I plan to stay.

FFA isn't an ordinary club,

It's an agricultural networking hub.

Ensuring that we stay connected,

As we learn how to be effective.

Teachers at home and in the community,

Together we create the unity.

A bond created on passion and trust,

FFA is a metal bond that will never rust.

Forever a legacy we will leave,

As we have worked hard in our corduroy sleeves.

For nothing easy is worth it,

And in this life we will never quit.

FFA all the way,

Together each and everyday.

Strengthening Our Bonds of Friendship

Hunter West, Shelley FFA Member

Hello my name is Hunter West from the Shelley FFA Chapter in Idaho. Our chapter is always trying to focus on strengthening our friendship and build each other up. Every year our awesome chapter gets the opportunity to go on some sort of FFA trip besides going to State Leadership Conference in April. This last January we got the amazing opportunity to go to the Denver Livestock Show, the world's biggest livestock show. It gave us some chapter bonding time and especially gave our officers some team bonding time. FFA members, if you want to figure out who your real friends are, just take a travel bus full of kids from your school, and those kids who are just your friends will become your best friends. Trust me on this one!


Perfection is Overrated

Jenny Bautista, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Secretary

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Lately it seems that I’ve been hearing more and more negative, self-critical comments from those around me. The scrutinizing comments range from appearance related to action based. I admit that I, Jenny Bautista, am guilty of becoming too critical of myself from time to time, but luckily I have people who pull me back into reality and give me the opportunity for some much needed reflection. It’s during these moments of self-reflection that I am able to remind myself that I am a human with flaws and quirks that I don’t necessarily welcome, but that make me who I am.

 I think the majority of people forget that they are human and strive to be perfect or reach the level of “perfection” that we’ve defined for ourselves. Everyone has a different definition of perfection, so it is impossible to actually be perceived as perfect by everyone else. Typically we see celebrities and people of interest being depicted in a negative light by the media and compare them to ourselves. We decide that we aren’t “good enough” if these “beautiful people” – who spend thousands of dollars on their appearance – aren’t good enough, but that’s not true. We have to believe we are good enough to know that we are enough, we are so enough – we are human beings.  

What does it mean to be human? In my humble opinion, I cannot think of one simple definition. Instead, George Orwell’s words come to mind: “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” Now, I interpret these words as simply living life and enjoying the abundance of blessings life has to offer us. Of course there will be periods of time where we will want to better ourselves – that’s a part of human nature. Take it from me, I understand the stress we can sometimes go through because of the expectations we have for ourselves and the desire for “perfection,” but we cannot let our lives be governed by expectations.

My high school teacher and mentor, Mr. Lee, and I once had a talk about expectations, particularly the expectations I thought others had put on me and self-imposed expectations. Being a man of wisdom, he left me to ponder a wild theory: expectation vs. expectancy. Expectation expects things; it expects a certain outcome or that the outcome will happen a certain way. Expectancy does not expect things. Expectancy hopes and has faith that good will come, but does not expect what, how, or when it will come about. Mr. Lee said, “Every job and school course has expectations, so you need other people in your life that provides the joy of expectancy. There’s no disappointment or guilt, just joy when you experience wonderful things. You have to let yourself have that.”

Taking his words to heart, that’s just what I did. I learned that if we hold ourselves to expectations too literally, chances are we will be disillusioned or frustrated by the outcome. Instead, we should strive for love and acceptance rather than perfection and expectation and that is how we will learn how to embrace being human – flaws, quirks, imperfections, and all.


Pep Talk with Fuzz

Faustin Wood, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Vice-President

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time in our organization, it’s that there is endless opportunity. How many other things in your life give you a second family, take you across the state (and country), all while forming new friendships to last a lifetime? Not very many. And on top of those things, an organization that prepares you for career and life skills.

FFA is one of the greatest ways to get ahead in life. I credit that to our countless Career Development Events in particular. Whether you’re participating in chapter, district, or state CDE’s, you’re furthering yourself in that area. When I participated in my first CDE, which was Livestock, I was more worried about placing well, than actually studying up and doing my best. Of course using that logic, my first year judging at Moscow didn’t go as I had hoped. However, I didn’t give up, but rather worked harder to insure that I gave it my all when I judged. There is no substitute for hard work. Whether that be on my potato farm or at the ag building after hours studying for a CDE. In the words of Vice Presidents everywhere, “without Labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom can accomplish much.”

As my experiences in the FFA grew, I competed in Ag Sales, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, and Agronomy. Which led to representing Idaho at National Convention competing in Ag Sales. If there was one thing I learned from competing in CDE’s it’s that you get out what you put in. If you give your very best every time you do something, you will never have to live regretting all the times you didn’t give it you’re all.

So here’s Fuzz’s advice to you. No matter what opportunity is placed before you (CDE, Leadership Conference, Activity, etc.) take it and run! Live your life knowing that when you go to bed at night (if you go to bed, unlike me…) you know you did your absolute best. In the words of Jim Elliot, “ Wherever you are, be all there.” And if you do all of that, you’ll look back at the end of your FFA career or 20 years from now, thanking yourself for taking opportunities and stepping out of your comfort zone. If that shy little potato farmer from Eastern Idaho wouldn’t have stepped out of his comfort zone and taken his first ag class, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You get out what you put in!


So You want to be an Officer?

Helpful tips for preparing yourself for a year of service.

Taylor Nelson, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Reporter

It’s that time of the year again when FFA members all over the state are preparing for chapter, district, and state officer sifting! Looking back, I remember being nervous and unsure of the chapter sifting process. As a freshman in high school, I didn’t know what I could possibly do for a chapter officer team, because I didn’t know what skills I could apply. That was when one of the older chapter members gave me a little piece of advice that I love passing on to other members when they’re unsure of trying something new. Sometimes you just have to step out and try your hardest, even if you’re unsure. You never know, you could surprise yourself. Though I didn’t get a chapter office my freshman year, I wasn’t deterred from trying again the next spring, because I had a better idea of how to prepare myself. There are a few things we need to understand before serving as officers.

What is an officer?

Officers are leaders within the chapter that are selected to fulfill a certain role for the year. They often help plan events for their chapter and have specific jobs. At every level, these jobs may change slightly, but really they are a title. Every member of an officer team is an equal, which means that the president and the sentinel each have an equal role and job, regardless of the office they hold. It’s a common misconception that there is a hierarchy within teams, but really they are a group of equally skilled and talented leaders. Really an FFA officer takes their time as a leader to serve not just their chapter, but their community. It’s a great time to grow as an individual and to work on team skills.

I don’t even know where to start on the benefits of being involved as an officer within your chapter. Through my own time as a chapter officer, I was able to better understand what place I want to have in the growth of my chapter and in a future career. It’s so much fun to learn how to plan an event and then, with the help of teammates, advisors, alumni, and community member, to see it happen! Through leadership in the National FFA Organization, you can make lifelong friends and connections to your community that can make impacts in the lives of future members.

So what are some ways to prepare for an office?

At any level, the steps are much the same. Look at the officers in your chapter, district, and state. In what ways are they great leaders? How do you see yourself working with those leaders? Maybe you are a great speaker or debater. Maybe you are organized and can plan ahead. Maybe you are an amazing people person. Perhaps you are a great listener and pay attention to detail. All of these things and more can make great leaders.

Talk to your advisors and current officers. If you have questions about the job of certain officers, or how they can fulfill their role successfully on a team, these people will know the best. They can help you understand the things that make a successful officer team work (they are also great resources for practicing interview skills). Parents and friends can act as cheerleaders and as support as you consider trying for an office. All of these people can help you be more intentional in your service to the office and other members around you. Know your chapter and community. Being able to better recognize needs around you can help you to bring suggestions to the table to strengthen your chapter!

What if I don’t get an office?

For many people, a fear of failing can keep them from even trying in the first place. For example, I was scared to run for chapter office. There were so many amazing leaders in my chapter and I wasn’t sure that I could be like them. With the prodding of my advisors and a couple of older members, I decided to run for a chapter position. While I didn’t get office my freshman year, I had the opportunity to serve in the two years following in chapter offices and to run for a district office. I had to learn that I didn’t need to be like other members in my chapter, I needed to be myself. When we try to change ourselves to be someone else, we can really dampen what makes us great individuals.

Not getting an office is not the end of the world. Teams are often chosen from a group of more than capable individuals because of the way they interact with each other. As a freshman member, I didn’t yet understand what role officers held in the chapter and needed that year to grow more as an individual. Once I had grown more, I was able to work better within a team. That team and every team that followed helped me to grow in many of the leadership aspects of my life. Not getting an office doesn’t mean that you are not capable of being a strong leader in your chapter. It is an opportunity for you to continue to grow in different ways.

A Word on Burning Out.

In school, often we are pulled in many different directions by our interests. Throughout high school, I was a multi-sport athlete, Art Club member, honors student, occasional theater kid, and a full-time FFA member with a part-time job. I will be the first to say that sometimes, it’s exhausting. Sometimes in an effort to be more ‘rounded’ or to experience everything that is offered to us, we can wear ourselves thin. This leads to stress and even burning out. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Prioritizing your schedule and the things that matter most to you is definitely a valuable lesson to learn. If something you are doing starts to cause you more stress and heartache than enjoyment, don’t let it pull the happiness out of your other activities. In life, it’s okay to sometimes take a break and know that you are in control of what you are doing and of your future. We can’t be everywhere at once because we are human. That’s okay. Take time to reflect on the things that you really enjoy and let the joy those things bring you carry you through the rough patches. Don’t let your passions for the things you love burn out!

Just remember that I you really want to be an officer, be yourself! It may sound cheesy, but make sure that instead of trying to be like the officers that came before you, you continue being you. Only you can bring your ideas and individual experiences into the office! Bring your heart of service and your willingness to work and you will go so far! Good luck this spring!


The Inspiring Words of State Treasurer, Clayton King

Clayton King, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Treasurer

Hello Idaho FFA, Clayton here! I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend, if your school has reconvened of course! This blog post is going to be directed mostly to the Junior class who will soon be Seniors and be forced to take up the mantle of helping the brand new Freshmen. But I still encourage the underclassmen to read this because one day it will be you.

Juniors, there will be a day when you will be considered celebrities to the freshmen. They will look to you for advice and to be an example for them, so take that responsibility very seriously. I know, I know this is the advice that every senior has given you at one point or another. I was given the same advice my Junior year and didn’t really listen to it, but I should have.

My Senior year rolled around and I just went about it like any other, I felt that there was nothing special about it other than it was my last year of high school. Until homecoming week that was. We went through the week like usual, competitions, football practices, getting ready for the big game. It felt normal until I noticed that quite a few freshmen were looking to me for advice about how they could make certain competitions easier or what to do in this class. It really caught me off guard and I didn’t know how to handle it. So in the midst of trying to figure out the situation I learned something, something that stuck with me for the remainder of that year. I learned that my opinion was truly valued by these newer students. They saw me as a way to learn what high school was all about and how to survive it.

So my message to you, Juniors and upperclassmen, is to look for as many opportunities that you can to help a student. Whether it be in a class, directions to the study room, or simple just talk to them for a second. It will make an impact far greater than you can imagine and will leave a legacy until long after you have graduated.

Finally I would like to say good luck to all the Seniors as they are finishing their year and preparing for their life ahead. Also good luck to the rest of you as you work through finals and the start of your new semester. Also I am going to leave a picture attached of my Chapter Officer team at the end of senior year. The picture is a mixture of seniors and a younger officers that we had grown very close to.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day!  


Positivity Time with MaKenna

MaKenna Routt, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Sentinel


One thing that you will often hear from me (your 2016-2017 Idaho State FFA Sentinel) is the phrase: “Life is hard!” Now that’s usually when I do something clumsy, like drop my entire piece of cake on the floor, or when I jam the copy machine at work halfway through a large document. But there are times when life is genuinely hard! That Anatomy and Physiology class and Pre-Calculus class is hard! Getting up at 5:30 AM to do chores before an early morning Parliamentary Procedure practice is hard! Running stair-laps in practice is hard! Dealing with conflict or with loss is really hard. And trying to juggle all of these responsibilities and thoughts is the hardest of all.

The key for when life is super hard, is to strive to see the positive side of any situation. Study super hard for your Anatomy and Physiology and Calculus class and remind yourself how good it will feel to ace that hard test! Wake up at 5:30 AM to do those chores and make sure to take some time to prepare for the day ahead and head to your early morning practice with the thought that you are actively making your life better and enhancing your skills to give you a leg-up in the world. Run those stair-laps in practice with the thought that you may be tired now but you will feel great later when you win that game and get to celebrate the victory with your teammates. While dealing with conflict take it as a chance to build a stronger relationship and to grow as an individual. When dealing with loss, use it as a chance to get closer with you friends and loved ones.

While juggling all of the responsibilities, stresses and just everyday little let-downs like dropping a piece of cake on the floor, it’s important to remember to look for the silver-lining. Every situation has a positive side, just like whatever goes up must come down. Seeing the beauty in life and the positive side of life leads to being happier, healthier, and a better leader in the long run! Keep up the great work and keep seeing the positive side of life!

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Welcome to the Idaho FFA Blog!

Welcome to the Idaho FFA Blog

Gretchen Hansten, Idaho FFA President

November 15, 2016

We are excited to kick-off the blog with a post from each of the state officers, and then the blog will be updated weekly with posts from FFA members (this means YOU!), our supporters in FFA Alumni and the FFA Foundation, teachers, and other partners! This is YOUR OPPORTUNITY to let the world know about the incredible activities and service projects your FFA chapters are completing. It’s time to share the “Idaho FFA Members’ Perspectives!” We’d like to challenge the authors of the posts to include how the chapter or member is “climbing to their full potential” to incorporate this year’s theme, which is Climb. All of the blog posts can be submitted to our Executive Director, Mrs. Clara-Leigh Evans, at clevans@uidaho.edu for state officer and state staff review and posting.

Be sure to include:

1.     title to the post

2.     author’s name

3.     FFA chapter

4.     submission date

5.     up to five photos


Submit blog entries and photos to:


Please keep all post submissions positive, school appropriate, and FFA-inspired! I am excited to see what each chapter submits and hear the wonderful stories of Idaho FFA members! We will also be using these submissions as a way to create the “What’s happening in Idaho FFA?” submissions to National FFA for the New Horizons Magazine.

Already this fall, my fellow state officers and I have met several FFA members who are continuing to CLIMB towards their wildest dreams and harness their full potential. My challenge to each of you is to find a story to share and submit about how you make the climb everyday! 

Keep Climbing,