FFA's Impact on Me

FFA’s Impact On Me

Cassie Moody, Middleton FFA

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Hi everybody! My name is Cassie and I am a sophomore at Middleton High School. FFA has impacted me in so many different ways, but President Trump said it best while speaking at the 2018 National FFA Convention. “Your time in the FFA, in the field, on the farm, on the land and in the classroom has not only prepared you for a stellar, great career in something you love, it’s taught you essential truths about life and about the world in which we live. You know that success only comes through hard work and perseverance.”  To sum it up, FFA has helped me to find my passion for agriculture and leadership, given me so much more confidence in myself, and introduced me to some of by best friends and mentors.

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First of all, FFA has truly helped me to find what I want to do in my life. Before joining FFA, I wasn’t sure what profession or field I wanted to go into. However, after a month of being in FFA I realized that whatever I do in life, it has to be connected to agriculture. I am so passionate about advocating for agriculture and being a leader in the agricultural community and I never would have realized that if it wasn’t for this organization.

In addition to finding my passion for agriculture, FFA has helped me to find my passion for leadership. I had been in a few leadership positions before in 4-H, but I have learned so much about what it truly means to be a leader in FFA. Being able to serve on my chapter and district officer teams has been such a blessing. However, the best part of it all is being able to connect with other members and watch them grow and succeed!

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Next, FFA has given me so much more confidence in myself. I’ll never forget when two of the older members in my chapter and my advisor told me to join the Ag sales team. The whole time they were talking to me all I could think was that I had no clue how to sell anything,  I don’t even know what this CDE is, and this is WAY out of my comfort zone. Luckily, I had an awesome team to teach me and push me to be my best. After a lot of hard work, and a lot of practice on my sales presentation (shoutout to my parents for listening to that 10,000 times) we won the district and state competition! This experience turned out to be super rewarding and gave me so much more confidence in my skills and abilities. It also taught me that when you work hard, apply yourself, and surround yourself with awesome people, anything is possible.

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Finally, FFA has introduced me to some of my best friends and mentors. Who knew that by joining the Conduct of Chapter Meetings team I would gain some of my best friends! Or that by being a district officer I would not only gain five teammates and friends, but so many others through those five people. And lastly, that I would meet awesome people that I get to look up to and get some pretty stellar advice from. This really is the best part of FFA. Gaining friends who believe in you and are always there for you. By being in FFA, you truly do have 653,359 friends that you can count on. Never forget that the Blue Jacket connects us all!

So, the moral of the story is to get involved! FFA has so much to offer you. Find some awesome people, join a CDE team, or just take one step out of your comfort zone. You never know where that one step will take you!

Cassie, we are so proud of you and all the growth you have experienced in the Idaho FFA Association. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for you in our organization!

Getting out of the Comfort Zone

Getting out of the Comfort Zone

Shalani Wilcox, Madison FFA

I remember standing on the stage, looking out into the sea of blue corduroy jackets. My sister lied. She told me that I wouldn’t be able to see anyone because the lights were so bright. But no; I could see EVERYONE!

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Let me explain the background of my situation. The year previous of this event, my sister was elected as the 2009-2010 Idaho State FFA Treasurer. Like all state officers, she had prepared a retiring address to give at the State Leadership Conference in April. She asked that my other older sister, one of my older brothers, as well as myself introduce her for this speech. My nine-year-old self was terrified. But I put my brave face on, walked on that stage as only a determined nine-year-old could do, jumped up on my designated step stool, and I read my part of the introduction in front of the entire Idaho State FFA Convention. All the while I proudly sported my “FFA: Future Member in Training” t-shirt.


From this experience I learned a couple things. One: from that moment I knew I wanted to be a member of the FFA. Being on the stage was just as exhilarating as it was frightening, and I loved how enthusiastic the atmosphere was at the convention. And two: when we step outside of our comfort zones, we can experience life to the fullest. Too often, we find ourselves “playing it safe,” unwilling to try new things for the fear of failure. But outside our comfort zone is where we grow into better leaders and great people. Outside of the comfort zone is where we make lifelong friends and gain experiences that are worth telling about in the future.

               For some, getting out of the comfort zone may be reciting the FFA Creed in front of their peers. Maybe it’s running for a District Officer position or being the first one to talk to that new student that just moved in. Whatever the case may be, it is necessary to go beyond our comfort zone. At the time it may seem to be impossible and scary; but looking back, those are always the times we have the greatest memories of. All it takes is one small step out of our comfort zone to make a big impact in our lives.


               In my case, I didn’t realize just how much that experience as a nine-year-old meant to me until much later down the road. In my mind, this event doesn’t seem as though it happened all that too long ago. However, now I’m on the last leg of my FFA career as a senior in high school. Although it makes me extremely sad to be almost done with my FFA career, I am grateful for everything I’ve learned during my years as a member. FFA has pushed me to become a more outgoing individual, I’ve gained career experience from the many CDE’s and SAE’s I’ve been a part of, I’ve had countless leadership opportunities, and I have some of my best memories from FFA activities. None of this would have been possible had I not gone outside my comfort zone.

               Don’t let your comfort zone restrict you from reaching your true potential. Comfort zones are only there to show us how we can better ourselves. Take a step out of your comfort zone and live your best life!  

Shalani, thank you for helping us learn about stepping out of our comfort zones! We are glad that we have a brave and bold person like you to be a part of the Idaho FFA Association.

Living to Serve: Servant Leadership

Living to Serve: Servant Leadership

Savannah Stroebel, 2018-2019 Idaho FFA State Reporter

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Nelson Mandela once said, “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, where upon the others follow, not realizing that all along they were being directed from behind.” I am a confident believer that the best way to be a leader, is to be a servant leader. This type of leadership puts the growth and experience of followers and members first. Servant leadership is saying, “Where am I needed?” and not minding if you are recognized for it. Helping others develop their tool box in order to achieve their goals has always brought a smile to my face. Nothing makes me happier than watching someone grow into the best version of themselves and I love to be a part of their journey, encouraging and helping them.

In high school, I had the opportunity to be a part of many different clubs and organizations. I was primarily a member of my FFA chapter and my school’s National Honor Society chapter. Both of these clubs have an emphasis in serving others and giving back. One of my favorite memories from high school is when I was asked to work with a local elementary school’s Junior Honor Society. I spent time with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, helping them develop their leadership skills and passion for serving others. I remember during my time spent with these kids that I felt defeated, because it didn’t seem like they were retaining my message very well. I worried that I wasn’t explaining the content well enough or that my teaching methods were not very effective. When I left on the first day, I had accepted that when I would return in a few months that they would not have done any of the community service projects we had planned together, and it would be my fault.

When I came back, I braced myself to be disappointed- not in the students, but in myself. We sat in a circle and with slim hopes, I asked if anyone had anything they would like to share about their projects. Every single group stood up and shared how they had been impacted by the projects they had done over the holiday season. These kids had organized canned food drives, collected pet shelter supplies, given clothes and toiletries to homeless shelters, helped at soup kitchens, visited assisted/senior living centers, and created care packages for kids in hospitals. One student, with tears streaming down his face, shared that his grandfather had recently passed away from cancer so for his project, he visited cancer patients in the hospital. He said that it was one of the best things he had ever done.


When I left that day, I sat in my car for almost an hour reflecting on the stories the kids had shared. I cried- my heart was overjoyed because I realized that 1) I had made a difference in these kids’ lives and 2) they went on to make a difference in the lives of others and 3) even though it was my job to teach them about servant leadership, they had taught me about the widespread impact that our service can have. This experience solidified my desire to be an educator and my faith in the strength of true leadership.

Leadership is not about taking credit for being the boss or directing the event. Leadership is about building other leaders. A selfish leader may accomplish the task at hand, but they may have missed an opportunity to help others develop their skills. When I think about servant leadership, the phrase, “people over policy” comes to mind. While leadership may not always be in a political setting, it’s important for us to remember that when we are guiding others, we are dealing with real people. These people have their own stories, talents, and insecurities. If we are conscious of the people around us, we will be better able to help them grow and succeed.

There is simply no greater joy than serving others. A genuine heart and a sincere love for people are what make servant leadership so powerful. I am proud to be a part of an organization that embodies the true meaning of, “living to serve.”

Justin Schumann: Living to Serve

Justin Schumann, Raft River FFA

Each year our chapter has a community Christmas project. We involve the entire 7-12 grades at our school not just FFA members. We come up with a grocery list that would involve having a nice Christmas breakfast and dinner. We give each class the list and give them a deadline to complete the list. There is a reward for the class that completes it first. We also ask each FFA member to donate at least $3.

Our teacher, Mrs. Schumann talks to the teachers in both the elementary and high schools and local church and community leaders. She gathers information about who in our community might be in need. She does not share the information with us because our town is so small we don't want anyone to feel self-conscience especially if they go to school. Mrs. Schumann chooses 8 families to help with food. With the money raised by FFA members she chooses one family to help with gifts and food. She tells the members the gender and age of the family members and some of our members are lucky enough to go shopping for those gifts.

We all help wrap the gifts and sort the food to get it ready for delivery. Mrs. Schumann delivers the food and gifts by herself and tells people someone wanted them to have it, so in some cases they don't even know that it is from the FFA. Some of the food she delivers to local church leaders and they deliver it and even Mrs. Schumann doesn't know who it goes to. We've been doing this project for about 10 years. Over the years we have even had some of the elementary grades want to join in and help with food donation. Each year our community members and church leaders are extremely appreciative of this project and how it benefits people.

Justin, thank you for sharing your chapter’s story on how you all live to serve! The Idaho FFA Association admires your passion to serve others and make a difference in their lives. Keep up the great work, Raft River!

Kiera's Advice to New FFA Members

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Kiera Packer, Melba FFA Chapter

My name is Kiera Packer and I am from the Melba FFA chapter. There are three main pieces of advice that I would give to new FFA members: get involved, step out of your comfort zone, and take in everything.

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Get involved. The FFA experience is not complete if you are not an involved member. Every experience in this amazing organization is life-changing. Being an involved member means being that person that steps up to help. It means signing up for almost everything that you can. It means growing as an FFA member through your experiences to be the best person that you can be. Being involved lets you have the most out of your few short years in FFA.

Step out of your comfort zone. I was quiet and shy when I joined FFA. I did not talk very much in general, let alone did I do well with public speaking. I got more comfortable with public speaking when I first competed in Creed Speaking. I have met so many new people. Meeting all those people has made me comfortable with talking to new people. FFA made me experience more and go outside of my comfort zone. This year I competed in Milk Quality and Products. I have never competed in this CDE before. I’m glad that I did because I learned more about these products and was able to work with some of my fellow members in a competition that they also had never competed in before. Take the chances to try something new. I remember when I took the chance of running for chapter officer. I was so nervous. However, I am now the Melba FFA President and the Boise Valley District Secretary because I took that chance. I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone.

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Take in everything. Your years in FFA will fly by. Take in every moment. You will meet some of the most amazing people. I have met people from all over the country that share the same passion for FFA and agriculture as I do, and those memories that I’ve made are unforgettable. You will learn more about yourself and how you fit into agriculture through your experiences. You will find yourself. My years in FFA have been nothing short of incredible. I am so thankful for all my experiences, and I am thankful that I took everything in.

I hope that this advice helped and inspired you to what you can fulfill in FFA. This organization has given me so much, and I wish the same for each of you. Be involved, step out of your comfort zone, and take everything in Idaho FFA.  

Kiera, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us! We are proud to have you as a member in the Idaho FFA Association.

Kinder's Advice to New FFA Members

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Thomas Kinder, Hagerman FFA

If I were to give any new advice to new FFA members, it would be to make friends. You only have four years to make friends that you are going to remember for life. Say yes, to the “Hey! You want to go try this CDE?” What’s the worst that is going to happen, you learn something? Raise your head high when you place lower in a CDE. Accept it. Make yourself better at the CDE. Ask questions about your CDE. For example, in Extemporaneous Speaking, at the end of the contest, ask; what could you have done better, what WILL get me to state next year? Always remember, there is ALWAYS next year.

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Run for Chapter Office! District Office! Make tons of friends as a District officer at District Officer Training. Run for State Office! Go above and beyond and run for National Office! What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t get it? So what? At least you tried! You’re inspiring younger FFA members, to look up to you as an FFA member. Those younger FFA members are going to say, “I want to be like that kid.”  You’re not just pushing yourself, you are pushing other FFA members.

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Listen to your FFA advisors! Yes, sometimes they sound a little crazy, but listen to them! They know a lot more than you think. They are going to push you past your limits, and you are going to love doing it.

Fall in LOVE with the FFA program. Make those life long friends, go do those CDE’s that you don’t know anything about, and raise your head high when you don’t compete well in that contest. It is all about the experience. Be the older member and give advice to the new FFA members. Enjoy going to State Leadership Conference in April. Go to the general sessions. You will be quite surprised how much fun they are! Listen to the retiring addresses of the state officers. It is very inspiring, and is what pushed me, Thomas Kinder, to run for district office. I am the North Magic Valley District Sentinel, and Hagerman FFA Chapter President. I have been through it all. I have been to every CDE, every general session, every retiring address, through the past four years of my FFA career. I am sad to say, that I will be retiring my jacket after this year, if I don’t get a position in state office, but FFA will always have a special place in my heart as I prepare to teach ag one day.

Kinder, thank you for sharing your passion for FFA with us! We hope that new FFA members take your advice to make friends and try new things!

Who Inspires Gretchen?

Gretchen Hansten, Jerome FFA Chapter

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The first time my parents took me to a race I was pumped! I was ready to hear the roar of the engines, watch cars speed past at over 200 mph, and see the black and white checkered flag fly. The real excitement of a race car race comes from sitting in the stands seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the smells. Experiences such as these are made possible by pit crews. Just like the pit crew supports the driver and ensures their safety on race day, we have our own pit crews. Our pit crews are meant to be the driving force (no pun intended) that inspires us to achieve our goals and offers the moral and intellectual support that we need to reach our goals.

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In my all-time favorite movie, Cars, Doc Hudson (retired race car) is Lightning McQueen’s crew chief. When McQueen is in Radiator Springs training, Doc tells him, “These are good folk around here who care about one another. I don’t want them depending on someone they can’t count on.” Who are the people that you can depend on? Knowing who those people are can make the difference between success and failure in our lives. After McQueen spent time in Radiator Springs, his pit crew became the other cars he met. McQueen had Tow Mater, Doc, and Sally along with many others to support him. His crew helped him achieve his goals and provided the support he needed to win the race.  

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My pit crew includes my parents, sister, grandparents, friends, and mentors. They’re the people I look to in moments of hardship and happiness. After a couple years of college, I’ve realized they’re the pit crew that will continuously remind me why it’s important to have grit and why I push myself to reach my goals. When I look to my parents for advice, I remember what Doc said later in the movie to McQueen on race day. He said, “I didn’t come all this way to see you quit.” With the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo right around the corner, Doc’s words have a solid meaning in our lives. Our parents, our teachers, our mentors pour energy into us to watch us succeed, not quit. Even when a driver is behind in a race, their pit crew stands by them through it all.

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I challenge you all to keep going when the going gets tough. Look to your pit crew for support in the good, the bad and the ugly times. It’s time to slow down and take in the moment. Life can speed past us sometimes, so make sure to take a pit stop and think about how many laps you’ve completed, and where the finish line is. This year will be full of green flags, yellow flags, and black and white checkered flags. Hit the gas and finish the race, and keep in mind it’s the pit crew that gets us to the checkered flag!  

Gretchen, we are thankful for your service as the 2016-2017 Idaho FFA President. Thank you for sharing your story with us about who inspires you. Good luck on your quest for National FFA Office this Fall!

Who Inspires Daelas?

Daelas Zieber, Nampa FFA Chapter 

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” - M. Gandi. However, how do we follow through with these words? Every one of us has doubts, whether we chose to admit it or not. Yet, through our supporters and people who inspire us, we’re able to accomplish our aspirations.

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My freshman year, I didn’t know who I wanted to be or even who I was at the time; that all changed when I joined FFA. Not with just the activities, but with the people within my FFA chapter itself. I was pushed to join as many CDEs as possible. Joining CDE teams and events, challenged me to grow which is exactly what my advisor, Frank, wanted to happen. In turn, it allowed me to meet new people within the chapter and get to know and experience Dixon’s and Volkers’ great influence. For example, even though at times I can become afraid and uncertain, my advisor Mrs. Volkers supports me and believes in my abilities (even when I have set-backs). Or when Mr. Dixon allows me to lead, as president of our chapter, my own way in efforts to create a successful year of growth for our chapter and myself. My advisors play a key role in my life; they help me grow in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined and taken me to heights I never knew of.. I truly believe, that our advisors will never know the kind of impact they have on our lives.

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Along with my advisors, Sydney Anderson had an huge impact on me as she continues to be my idol. For example, imagine being a freshman and having your favorite celebrity be your chapter Sentinel and President; that is exactly who Syd was to me. She has great confidence in everything she does, with a compassionate heart to understand those who are going through a rough time. I knew then, that her leadership skills were the skills I wanted to use as a leader and still add my own strengths to create my own style of successful leadership.

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As my High School Career comes to a close, I look back at these people for guidance and inspiration. However, I now realize that the most influential people I’ve had, were/are by my side on the ride; my own chapter, Nampa FFA. Getting to know each member, and seeing their successes and failures has been the most rewarding thing I have been privileged to be a part of during my service in Nampa FFA. Seeing how they accomplish the most challenging task,  makes me proud of them while inspiring me to be a better leader for them. I have had the inspiring pleasure of watching Sara Pomtier and Madi Richardson become active and creative leaders in our chapter after having the challenge of competing in our chapter Creed speaking contest. I had the opportunity to be their Creed speaking coach and I am beyond proud of their accomplishments and friendship they have created since that time. In fact, I’m beyond proud of various others within my chapter who have struggles, failed, learned, succeed and  simply grown by their involvement in our chapter. As I try to be the best chapter President I can be them, they unknowingly award me by inspiring me through their laughter, challenges, mistakes, and failures.

The people we mingle within FFA, rarely realize how much impact they have on each other; the true beauty of being an FFA Member. I am looking forward to learning even more in this my last year of high school and my last year with my chapter. The challenges have been many and the learning experiences have sometimes been very hard. I know, that because of my time in Nampa FFA as a member and officer, that I will forever be a changed person. I can only hope that I have inspired at least one as much as I have been inspired by them. Thank you to all who have helped to make me the person I am today!

Daelas, we are so proud to have you as a member in the Idaho FFA Association! Keep up all your hard work!

Who Inspires Makenzy?

Makenzy Whittekiend, Hagerman FFA

Who Inspires Me?

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He teased me for "working too hard, but in a good way."

She told me a thousand other kids would feel lucky just to be in my place, so I should be thankful and keep working hard.

They joked that I was the "chapter mom," because I made sure everyone had study materials and snacks.

One helped me study, another patted my back.

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Some blocked my car so I couldn't leave without a hug, others pointed out my strengths when I felt my weakest. But ALL of them, in their own way, encouraged me.


So, who inspires me?

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My biggest inspiration has been those in the blue corduroy right beside me, and my two advisors who have helped me be successful. My inspiration is Ms. Aoi and Mr. Knapp, Callie, Gaby, and Maddie; it's Kinley, Thomas and Bryce and the sweet little girl I watched give the creed in class today; it's Kolton, Sydney and Austen; it's the boy who said, "great speech!" when I walked off the stage even though I never knew his name, and countless others! It's the community service groups, the competitors, the officers. My inspiration is those FFA kids who do the right thing even though it's the hard thing, who keep pushing me to do my best when I don't think I'm capable, and who smile my way when I just want to cry. But my biggest part of that inspiration is when I see those people helping others. I love to watch encouraged thumbs up and jokes to ease nervous tension unfold. The uplift I see throughout this organization restores my faith in the rising generation and the world. It's the sense of camaraderie felt by everyone in the room wearing the FFA jacket.

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My inspiration is you.

Good people and good students in FFA help me work hard and for that I can't thank them enough. You guys keep leading, working, and succeeding.

Keep inspiring.


Who Inspires Ms. Frank?

Ms. Frank, Nampa FFA Adviser 

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Who inspires me? Who or what has had an impact on my life in such a way that it has helped make me who I am and directed the things I do? The usual answers come to mind first, my grandparents, my parents and my best friend. My grandparents gave me the early direction and passion for working with kids, my parents taught me the value of hard work, faith, grace and to keep trying and my best friend continues to challenge me in countless ways. I strive every day to make them all proud of me and to live up to the belief they have in me. My only goal for my life is to make a change in my corner of the world, no matter how big or small or where it is. All those people are my solid foundation and somedays are the only thing that keeps me trying. But good foundations lead to beautiful buildings and my walls are my students. They inspire me every day to be better just by being who they are.

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Today, on the first day of the new school year, I stood before every class and made the same promise. I have done this every year for 6 years on the first two days of school in front of every class. It is really a very simple promise; I promise that whatever you think of agriculture today it will be different when you leave my class at the end of the year. I don’t give specifics or say it will be a good or bad change, just that it will be different. Today, for some unknown reason, that promise really hit me. I mean the promise deeply and completely and sincerely, but today it just seemed more real. After 5 years of teaching, I am starting to see the impact I can have. But I am coming to notice that my corner of the world that I am trying to change is starting to change me.

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What or who inspires me? My students. Every day in a million little ways. I have had the privilege of watching the most quiet and shy of students perhaps with a stutter, take on the world and stand in front of different audiences and share their passions.  I have quietly smiled while I overhear a particularly difficult student tell a friend they are glad they took my class or explain to a friend, not in my class, the difference between beef cows and dairy cows and that there are hundreds of breeds of sheep. The way that eyes light up when they see bean seeds sprouting or get a fertilizer math problem correct is a miracle that never gets old. Hearing a team, you have coached from ground zero, called as the Idaho State FFA representative at Nationals is a tear inducing high and standing on stage and hearing someone else’s name in that position is painful. There are a million stories and so many tears, laughs and hugs to go with every one of those stories.

Why do they inspire me?  As each year passes and the number of stories grow, I am inspired every day to do better! I tell my students that we learn so much more from failure than success and I know that is true. I make a lot of mistakes and I have had my heart broken by students that chose difficult paths, but even those times have inspired me to have hope. There is always another class, another student to impact and another story to learn and tell. I have told my students that I just need to learn to stop getting attached and keep things light and simple with them. They laugh at me and tell me that will never happen, it just wouldn’t be me. They are probably right and because of that I have to do better.

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Here is to every student who has made me laugh, smile, cry, scream, lose sleep or my patience. Because of every one of you, I come to work every morning wondering what is next.  I can’t wait to see what trouble, fun, failures and successes we fall into. I only hope along the way I impact you in some small way and we continue to build beautiful buildings.

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Ms. Frank, thank you for taking the time to share with us how your students inspire you! We are thankful to have you as an agricultural educator and FFA adviser! 

Who Inspires Allison?

Allison Ward, Gooding FFA

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FFA has had a huge impact on my life. Mr. Woodland has been at Gooding for what seems like an eternity. Before going into high school, my dad told me stories from when he had Mr. Woodland as an Ag teacher. He told me how amazing and supportive he is. Freshman year, I walked into our Ag classroom and met a teacher who impacted my life. He pushed me to do Range Science, Creed, and multiple other competitions. I excelled in Range Science and Mr. Woodland was there with me and the team every step of the way. After the endless hours of practice over 3 years, we were able to win Western Nationals. Without Mr. Woodland encouraging me to do competitions that I love and encouraging me to run for office positions, I wouldn't be in FFA or be serving as a district officer. Thank you Mr. Woodland for everything you do for me and your present and past students. I also am terrible at keeping my eyes open during pictures!

Thank you, Allison, for sharing your story about who inspires you! We are glad you are a part of the Idaho FFA Association!

Saydee's SAE

State President, Saydee Longhurst's SAE: Cleo's Cuttings

My SAE is a small hay bale business called Cleo’s Cuttings. I started this business first and foremost because I am passionate about agriculture. I just simply LOVE IT! I want to be a full-time farmer after college.

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My dad and I have two horses and we were feeding them big hay bales that my dad produced. We were getting tired of handling them because they were so big. Also, my dad puts up 3x4 bales of hay and he is always getting calls for small bales to feed horses, etc. We thought there might be a market for small bales in our area. We decided to restore an old two-string baler and baled up a few small hay bales in 2015. We loved feeding them personally and they sold out quick! We knew we needed to grow and expand this operation and find a niche. We found a piece of equipment called a Bale Baron that was new and hot within the small hay bale business. It took 18 little hay bales and packaged them into one large bundle. We purchased a Bale Baron from a dealer in Montana and used it this past summer in my business.

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This has been exciting to be part of something new to our area and we think it will continue to grow and expand even more in the coming season and we can’t wait to implement even more new technology and new practices in the future. I’m so excited to work alongside my dad, continue learning and loving agriculture and create a bigger and more successful Cleo’s Cuttings.

One challenge I didn’t even realize would be a challenge as a farmer was the record keeping. I was naive in thinking I just had a business and that was it. My mom is the primary book keeper for our family farm so she quickly taught me how vital a good record keeping system is to a successful business.

Overcoming the challenge of record keeping was a learning process. We set up my own ‘company’ in QuickBooks and I started learning the process of entering expenses and income. I am also slowly learning all about assets and liabilities for a company. There’s a lot to learn. My mom continually teaches me and her experience has been really helpful.


An experience I’ve had the opportunity to learn through my SAE is good work ethic. When crops are ready to harvest, everything gets put on hold. That can mean fun activities with family or friends. It can mean missing your own birthday. No matter how long it takes to get the harvest done-that’s how long you work. If bad weather is on the horizon, even longer hours may be needed to get that crop in. One thing I can say about work ethic; after a really long harvest, there is no better feeling than knowing you gave it everything you had. You feel so accomplished and satisfied with all you worked hard to get done.

Something that will stick with for my life from my SAE is learning good communication skills. I have had to learn to speak confidently about what my business is. I’ve had to learn to not be intimidated by questions I don’t know the answer to and how to tell people no in a polite way. I have had to find the balance in communication between texting and voice calls. Sometimes the best way to get information communicated properly, effectively and correctly is to just dial a number and have a conversation with someone. For kids my age, this isn’t always the first or preferred way, but I’ve learned, often times, it’s the best way, especially with adults wanting to buy hay.

In learning to own, run and operate a business, the experiences I’ve learned in being ‘the boss’ have been situations I will take with me in the future. I’ve had the opportunity to learn to use my time wisely and efficiently. I’ve learned to delegate. I’ve learned to say no. I’ve learned to say yes. I’ve learned that I can go without a few extra hours of sleep for the feeling of satisfaction when a job needed my attention. I’m learning to market crops and myself. I am so excited to continue learning more about being the owner and hope to continue making good choices that will grow Cleo’s Cuttings.


In owning my own business, I have learned and grown and become so much more sure of my future. I want to be a farmer. I want to be a female farmer. I want to grow hay like my dad has for 20 years. I want to continue to learn about the markets and the weather patterns. I am beyond excited to study Agribusiness at Utah State and see what the latest and greatest technology and practices in agriculture are. I hope to bring that knowledge back to our family farm to teach my dad as well as continue to grow and develop my own business in the years to come. I’m just getting started and my future looks so bright!

Emberly's SAE

Emberly Stroebel, Kuna FFA Chapter

My name is Emberly Stroebel and I am a senior at the Kuna FFA Chapter. I am currently serving as the chapter secretary. My SAE project is making promotional videos for the FFA Chapter.


My SAE project started when I realized how much fun FFA is. All of the events that we have and trips that we go on are too amazing to forget, so I came up with an idea to be sure I would always have a way to look back on all of the fun that I had. I would put all of the pictures and videos that I had taken on my trips together into one long video. It sounded easy, and fun! I quickly looked into all of the ways that I could accomplish this and before I knew it, I had created my first youtube video about the 2016 National FFA Convention.

The purpose of me making it was all for myself. I wanted to look back on it in a year and remember all of these things. I had shared it with my friend who had attended Nationals with me, but that’s it. However, when I showed up to school a few days later, I walked into a room full of students watching the video that I had made. My advisor had been told about it and decided to show all of the intro to ag students.

My first thought was, why would all of these kids want to watch a video about my trip? And then I heard them talking. After they all watched it, these freshman couldn’t stop talking about how much fun it looked like we had in Indianapolis and how they wanted to know what steps they needed to take to get there themselves. This video that started out being a personal project, had started to encourage greenhands to become involved in our chapter.


It was then that I decided I wouldn’t stop. Since then, i’ve made tons of videos about every single trip that I have gone on with the FFA. I’ve worked to better them in any way that I can, involving other students by interviewing them for numerous videos.

They also are able to serve as promotional videos for FFA and our chapter. When we went out for 8th grade recruitment this year, we showed the 8th graders a video so they would get excited and be able to really picture themselves in the program.

I have also been able to turn this project into my senior project at school. This entire year I am going to be interviewing students from not just Kuna, and taking videos at all FFA events I attend to make a recruitment video, with interviews in it that specifically target the questions of potential FFA members.

This project means a lot to me because it’s something that I began to do for my own reasons and because I enjoyed it, and then the FFA gave me the opportunity to turn my passion into something more.

Emberly, we are proud to have you as a member in the Idaho FFA Association. Thank you for continuing to promote the FFA and capture our memories through your unique SAE project. 

Caleb's Greatest FFA Memories

State Sentinel Caleb Johnston, New Plymouth FFA 

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When you look back on the years, there are generally a few moments that were turning points in your life. Whether it be meeting your best friend, playing a sport for the first time, or overcoming a lifelong fear; these are the experiences that you will never forget. In the FFA, we are proud of entrepreneurship and skill developing opportunities, but something that isn’t talked about as often is the personal development and relationships we gain through this organization. I am fortunate enough to have not one, but two memories through FFA that have altered the path my life has taken.

Think back to your first State Leadership Conference (I already have chills lol.) The pre-session games, the light show, the loud music, and the roar of the crowd when they introduce the state officers: there’s nothing else like it. During my first State Leadership Conference, I made countless friends, swapped late night stories, and was fortunate enough to win creed speaking. To this day, I still get goosebumps whenever I hear someone recite the creed. Being introduced to the culture of FFA ignited a spark in me that has only grown.

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The second memory is one that I have kept somewhat a secret. The summer after my junior year was extremely challenging for me. I went through a very dark period of life that felt like it just wasn’t worth it anymore. The last thing I wanted to do was go to a conference in Washington, D.C., but I had already signed up for it, so I went, dragging my feet the whole way there. It only took until the first morning of the Washington Leadership Conference to meet the first life changer, Alyssa from Missouri.

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We met while waiting to board the subways to go see monuments around D.C. As soon as we started talking I knew that I had found a lifelong friend. Later that same day I met Trey from Wyoming and Alexis from Florida. All of us had come from very different walks of life, yet in that moment we had become family. I’m not sure anything bonds people like the FFA does.

Without FFA, I wouldn’t be as driven or have the skillset that I have today. But more importantly, without FFA, I might not be here today writing this blog entry. Whatever you do in life, whether it be in FFA or not, I encourage you to take in every moment, because you will blink and it will become a memory.

Caleb, we are so grateful to have you as the 2018-2019 Idaho FFA State Sentinel. Your experiences and wisdom will have a great impact on Idaho FFA Members. Thank you for sharing your Greatest FFA Memories with us! 

Herman's Greatest FFA Memory

Herman Roberts, Preston FFA Chapter

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Throughout the years leading up to high school, I was always excited to join the Preston FFA Chapter. My four older sisters had participated and excelled in FFA, so I was determined to live up to certain expectations. Little did I know, I would make some of the greatest memories along the way.

As I made my way through Freshmen year, I tried to be involved as possible. I participated in multiple CDE’s, from Creed Speaking to Food Science to Dairy Handling, etc. Leading up to my Sophomore year, I started becoming interested in the Soil Judging competition. Two of the team members from the previous year had graduated, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get more involved in my FFA chapter. I remember the countless hours I put into flipping through study material. After a chapter run-off, I was ecstatic to earn a spot on the official team.

Our team swept the district contest, and we were quickly preparing for the state competition. We spent more and more time in the Ag shop practicing as a team as October approached. Soon, we were piling our suitcases into our rental cars and heading on a three-hour drive to Burley. Once we arrived, we ate dinner, checked into our hotel, and quickly fell asleep, awaiting the competition the next day.

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I woke up very nervous and tried to cram in some last-minute studying. Mr. Crossley knocked on our door and I knew it was time to show what I had learned. I grabbed my clipboard, pocket knife, and pencils and I was ready to go.

Once we got to the high school, instructions and score cards were handed out and we were shoved onto various buses. They dropped us off in some random fields and served us doughnuts and milk before the competition. My nerves started to fade, and my confidence started to grow as we ate as a team. After a couple minutes, the huge crowd of kids were separated into individual groups and sent out to soil pits throughout the cluster of fields.

After a couple hours of finding slope, topsoil depth, and soil texture, my score card was completely filled out and the competition was over. I met up with my team and we talked about our thoughts on the way back to the high school. We hurried to change into our official dress and we rushed into the gym to eat some lunch while we waited for the results. After what seemed like years, the final placings were calculated and ready to announce.

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They started with individual placings, and I was super excited to find out that I placed third individually with two of my other teammates placing fourth and fifth. We were confident that with our three scores, we could secure the state title. As they announced team results, we crossed our fingers. The Preston FFA Chapter had won! We were all super excited not only that we got the championship, but that we were able to compete at nationals in Oklahoma the following year

I have made many great memories in FFA. I’ve had the chance to serve as both a chapter and district president and compete at the state and national levels. I’m excited to stay active in the Idaho FFA Association and see what’s in store during my last year of FFA.

Herman, thank you for sharing your awesome experiences and memories with us. You are so impressive and we are lucky to have you as a member in the Idaho FFA. Keep up the great work! 


Isabella's Greatest FFA Memory

Isabella Stroebel, Kuna FFA Chapter

Hi! I’m Isabella Stroebel, I am 15, I go to Kuna High School, and I just finished my freshman year in high school.

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As I joined FFA this year, I was so shy, and quiet. I didn't want to do anything. But sitting in the back of my Ag class on the first day, I was listening to my advisor, Mr. Dygert,  talk about everything I could possibly do; participating in the creed speaking contest, going to numerous leadership conferences, meeting new people, competing in Parliamentary Procedure, getting to speak and even more. All of that sounded amazing! So the very next day I paid my dues so I could do these things. I ended up participating in the creed speaking contest, going to the 212/360 Leadership Conference, taking the Greenhand Knowledge test, and I even going to the State Leadership Conference.

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Despite all these moments, the one I would say is being on the Novice Parliamentary Procedure Leadership Development team. I was the chairman on this team, and I worked very hard and always did my best. My team and I worked hard and ended up placing first at the district event. As my team went on to state, we studied and practiced as hard as we possibly could. Working with my team was the best experience I have had this whole year. My teammates were hard working and we became great friends. As I found out that we placed in the top five, I was so happy. We lined up on stage and I was shaking from head to toe. My team placed third in the state and I was thrilled at how amazing we did! Then- another amazing thing happened.

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They announced the individual winner for high chair person and I was shocked when they said ‘from Kuna, Isabella Stroebel’. It felt like all my hard work had paid off, and I was so excited  that I have accomplished something so big. I never would have thought I would achieve something this amazing, considering I was the shy girl in the back of the class at the beginning of the year. However, as I finished my freshman year and looked back at all the things I have done, that moment of realizing that hard work does pay off, was the best by far.

FFA has shown me so many amazing things and skills and has given me the opportunity to get out of my shell. FFA is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time, and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be in such an amazing organization.


Isabella, we are so proud of the challenges that you have overcome in your first year of FFA. You have a bright future ahead of you. Thank you for sharing your Greatest FFA Memory with us!

Halee's Greatest FFA Memory

Halee Bohman, Troy FFA Chapter

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August 25th, 2016: My first day of seventh grade and I couldn’t wait: my next class was exploratory agriculture. I grew up on a 3300-acre farm a few miles out of Troy, Idaho. I always loved riding in the combine and tractor with my dad on the family farm, and now I would get to be a part of the FFA Association.

I got to class, sat down, and eagerly asked the question: “When do I get to wear the Blue Jacket?” My ag teacher, Mr. Hoffman looked at me and said, “In two years.” I was disappointed to say the least, but I walked around in that classroom with my head held high practicing the National FFA Creed. Since most middle school kids didn’t know the Creed, my advisor thought it would be a great idea for me to present it in front of my fellow classmates. I proudly recited it, and waited for the two long years until I could be up on stage presenting it to the world.

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But my favorite memory of all time was getting the opportunity to go to the Idaho State Leadership Convention and watching the State Creed Speaker speak proudly on stage. I couldn’t wait for the few more months until I was up there. At state, I competed in the Conduct of Chapter Meetings LDE. I had one practice and I was on to state. I stayed up late memorizing voting rules and opening ceremonies. I got on stage and made my debates as strong and relatable as possible. We watched the old officers depart and the new state officers cry tears of joy when they received their role. This was my greatest FFA memory-one that I will never forget.



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Halee, the Idaho FFA is proud to have you as a member! We are excited to see what you will accomplish the next few years while wearing the blue jacket! Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your Greatest FFA Memory with us! 

Melanie's FFA Story

On Stage Impact, Off Stage Connection

State Treasurer Melanie Searle, Burley FFA

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In April 2015, I attended my first state FFA convention. I sat in the CSI gymnasium listening intently to a retiring address, impressed with the experiences and the stage presence of the retiring officer. As he brought his thoughts to a close, a tingle ran up my spine and I was compelled to become more involved in FFA and make a positive difference in my chapter. I left the convention that day with a renewed sense of motivation, but soon I forgot the speech and fell back into my original routine. Though it was a well-written  and well-presented address, it did not change my life. However, it was because of that retiring address and sharing my experience with my advisor, that he took me under his wing, invited me to events, encouraged me in CDE’s and urged me to be involved, and my life has never been the same.


Although it was an on-stage retiring address that served as the catalyst in my FFA career,  FFA made the biggest difference in my life off the stage. The lessons I learned in the FFA organization lied in failures and successes, falling short in Creed Speaking and qualifying for the National Land and Homesite Evaluation contest, the pig relay event that fell apart, the Conduct of Meetings team that didn’t place, the friends from across the state made and a place found. The FFA has impacted my high school career and will affect the course of my entire life.

Whether it was finding a CDE that fit, a leadership opportunity that stretched, or an event that empowered, I was pushed out of my comfort zone where I could grow and develop into the person I have become.

Melanie, we are proud to have you as the 2018-2019 Idaho Ffa state treasurer. your drive and motivation inspires all of us to work harder and be better. thank you for sharing your story with us. 

Taylor Dixon's FFA Story

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"When I started as a freshman I knew that I was going to enjoy FFA, but I never imagined I would love it as much as I do now. I heard about going to all of these different places and I knew I wanted to go. I made it my goal to make it to at least one National Convention in my entire FFA career, so my freshman year I joined the freshman Conduct of Meetings team and we made it to the National Convention!


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From there I caught the FFA bug and wanted to be even more involved then I had been the previous year. I wanted to go on more trips, be apart of more teams, show at the fair, become a chapter officer and so much more. I have shown two hogs at the fair and will be showing two market goats this year. I go on as many trips with my chapter as I can making more friends not only in my chapter, but in others as well.

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 I am now serving as one of the two chapter reporters alongside Brooke Davis! FFA has given me skills that will not only help me in high school, but will also help me in life beyond high school. I have made lifelong friends that I now consider family and I have made goals such as running for chapter president, running for a district office, and competing at Nationals at least one more time! If there is anyone who is ever on the edge about joining the FFA my advice would be to talk to people who are involved because when you are involved you gain friendships, experiences, and memories."

Taylor, thank you for taking the time to share your FFA story with us. we are proud to have you as a member in the idaho ffa association. keep up the great work!

Kinley's FFA Story

Hello, my name is Kinley Schleicher and I am the President of the Caldwell FFA Chapter.


This is the first time that Caldwell has had an FFA Chapter in 50 years. I was greatly influenced to join FFA by a few members of the Vallivue FFA Chapter that I have shown pigs with over the years. They had told me all of the great opportunities that FFA can offer and showed me how fun FFA could be. Once we started to have our first meetings,  we established the ins and outs of being a new chapter by planning our activities for the year. A few meetings passed and we started to talk about officer positions and what each position entailed. After looking through all of the positions that were offered, I decided to run for an office. At our banquet, I was honored to receive the position of president. I was excited to see how I could help our chapter grow. Some of the fundraisers that we had done were selling flowers, a bake sale, and selling hot chocolate. The majority of the chapter is receiving the Greenhand degree this month. Our chapter as a whole, has had a lot of fun getting to know each other and welcoming new members as the year progressed. I’m truly thankful for the support and lessons that I have learned over the course of this year, and I am beyond excited to see what next year has in store for the chapter and myself.

Thanks for sharing, Kinley! We are proud to have you as a member in the Idaho FFA Association! Keep up the great work!