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.

Makenzy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

BLOG SUBMISSION RULES

Hey Idaho FFA! Thanks for your interest in submitting a post to our blog! Here you can find information about how the blog will work and also the rules you will need to follow. 

How the blog will work: 

At the beginning of every month we will post what the prompt is for following month. We will take submissions until the very last day of the month and then when the following month begins, we will post your submissions!

For example: At the beginning of May we posted that the prompt was, "What is your FFA Story?" You will have until May 31st to send us your submission to that prompt. Then when June begins, we will post your submissions on the blog as well as put out a new prompt for the following month! 

When you are all done with your writing, make sure to attach some pictures that go with your story! We also ask that you send in the following information: Name, Chapter, Title of your Submission, and a picture of you! 

Members, Advisors, Community Members and Supporters are all welcome to submit to the blog. 

You will email your submission and pictures to savannah.idahoffa@gmail.com 

Clear as mud? If you have questions you can contact savannah.idahoffa@gmail.com

Rules for the blog: 

Every person who wishes to participate in the blog has the opportunity to do so. However, there are some guidelines to follow. If you fail to follow the rules, we will NOT publish your submission and we WILL contact your FFA advisor. 


1. Keep it Appropriate- No bad words, references or inappropriate language.

2. Be Respectful- In FFA we encourage you to lift each other up, not put each other down. Simply put: do not be mean to anyone in your post. 

3. Spell Check- Make sure that you have someone check over your post for grammar errors! If you have errors, we will send it back to you for you to fix. 

4. Word Count- Keep your submission between 400-1,000 words.


We are excited to read your submissions! Remember, when you submit a post you are representing not only your home chapter but also the Idaho FFA! Keep it clean, respectful, and fun. Happy blogging! 

 

Let Your Passion for Ag and Love for FFA Explode like Confetti!

It is that time of the year! We are excited to introduce your 2018-2019 Idaho FFA State President.... Saydee Longhurst. Saydee is from the Shelley FFA Chapter in Southeastern Idaho. Here's Saydee's take on her year of serice to the Idaho FFA Association! 

What are you most excited about for your state officer year?

"I am most excited for number one, being able to get out and connect with Idaho's 5,000 FFA members, each of them have so much to contribute and I have the opportunity to learn from them! My second is being able to tell the story of Idaho agriculture as well as FFA. I want to show all the good things our members do as well as the importance of Idaho Ag in the nation!"


What college, major, and future career are you planning?

"I plan on attending Utah State University in fall where I hope to obtain an Agri-Business degree. After I graduate from college I plan on coming back to our first generation family alfalfa and wheat farm to work alongside my dad. 'IF' he does ever retire *wink* I want to take over the farm from him and be a FarmHER!"

Tell about a meaningful experience you have had in FFA?

"A meaningful experience I have had in FFA was my freshman year at SLC. I was sitting in my very first general session in my brand-new, still stiff, blue corduroy jacket. I was in complete awe at the magnitude that was around me. Hundreds of youth in the same blue jacket representing an industry I loved and lived on my own farm in southeast Idaho. It was there that FFA became so much more than a 'club' for me. It's where my passion has been born and fueled and I couldn't be more grateful for it and have such a strong desire to serve it."


What do you do outside of FFA?

"I have had lots of opportunities to be involved in my high school as well as my community in Shelley...ranging from Key Club to BPA to running a Jeans 4 Teens drive to donate over 600 pairs of gently used jeans to our local food bank every year since I have been freshman. I have also been involved in Student Government, Mayor's Youth Council, Bonneville County 4-H, as well as having callings in my church! I love serving my community and school by helping with the clubs I am affiliated with."

What is your SAE Project?

"For my SAE I own and operate a small hay bale business called 'Cleo's Cuttings'. I run a Instagram and Facebook for my business to market my hay to customers from all over the valley. I have enjoyed working alongside my dad while I mentored his knowledge, work ethic, and love of the land. "

What is your mission for the year?

"My mission is to tell and share the story of Ag, whether that be about a freshman just starting out in FFA or sharing on social media about a business that contributes to Idaho Ag. "

Is there something else you would like FFA members to know about you?

"I have a thing for confetti poppers...;)  #'nuffsaid"

 

Caleb's Purpose: A Man's Best Friend

Introducing your State Sentinel..... Caleb Johnston! Caleb is from the New Plymouth Chapter and currently attending Boise State University. Here's a bit about him: 

What are you most excited about for your state officer year?

"I'm most excited to meet members! I love to meet new people and hear their story!"

What college, major, and future career are you planning?

"I am a Chemistry major with an emphasis in Biochemistry here at Boise State University."

Tell about a meaningful experience you have had in FFA?

"The most meaningful experience I have had in FFA would be Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. It made me realize that we all have the power to make a worthwhile impact on the world around us and gave me friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life!"

What do you do outside of FFA?

"When I'm not in the blue jacket, I love to be on the farm with our sheep! If I'm here on campus, you'll either find me playing basketball at the rec center or reading and just hanging out."

What is your SAE Project?

"My SAE is raising club lambs for fair projects locally and majors across the country."

What is your mission for the year?

"It would definitely be to take it all in! This is going to be a whirlwind of a year, and I want to make sure I soak up all the experiences and don't let an opportunity to help someone grow pass me by."

Is there something else you would like FFA members to know about you?

"I LOVE dogs; if you ever want to make my day, just send me pictures of your cute dog!!"

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Why Did Savannah Cross the Road?

......... to serve the Idaho FFA of course! Your 2018-2019 Idaho FFA State Reporter, while afraid of chickens, is not afraid to get out and meet YOU! Here is Savannah: 

What are you most excited about for your state officer year?

"I am most excited for the opportunity to meet and get to know members throughout the state! I can't wait to hear everyone's story and learn from their experiences. I am excited for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the members, just like I know they will make a difference in mine." 

What college, major, and future career are you planning?

"This fall I will be attending The University of Idaho (GO VANDALS!) to major in Agriculture Education! I hope to one day work for the National FFA as a leadership facilitator and eventually find myself back in the classroom to teach students about the important role that agriculture plays in all of our lives. I am also excited to be an FFA advisor and be a part of member's blue jacket experiences!"

Tell about a meaningful experience you have had in FFA?

"Each year at the Kuna FFA Chapter we hold a Canned Food Drive around Christmas time. The entire school district comes together and collects, gathers, and donates food to struggling families in our community. My senior year we were able to donate 3 full boxes of food to over 80 families. The best part is that we get to deliver the food personally. It is so touching to know that you helped put food on the table of those who needed it. I think it's amazing how much we can impact a person's life just by grabbing a can of green beans from our pantry. It's an amazing feeling- living to serve!" 

What do you do outside of FFA?

"Outside of FFA I am involved in my school's National Honor Society. I love to be a part of community service projects and so I participate in a lot of volunteering. I love reading and writing but mostly LEARNING! You can always catch me doing homework because I absolutely love learning new things."

What is your SAE Project?

"My SAE project is raising market steers for the local fairs in Southwest Idaho. I have done this since 7th grade! My project is unique because I can't keep animals at my house, so I actually drive to my grandparents house to feed, train, and work with my steers!" 

What is your mission for the year?

"My mission for this year is to make everyone I meet smile! It is my goal to make sure that every encounter I have with an FFA member is a positive experience. I want everybody to walk away from me feeling important and loved." 

Is there something else you would like FFA members to know about you?

"I am the oldest of 6 siblings! My brothers and sisters are my best friends, and I love them with my whole heart. I am definitely afraid of chicens, they scare me so much! Coincedently, chicken is my favorite food. And I absolutely love peanut butter M&Ms and Taylor Swift!"