Gothenburg FFA Chapter
On the morning of October 18th, the streets of Indianapolis were flooded in a sea of blue jackets. Thousands of FFA members converged on downtown Indy to attend the 84th National FFA Convention. Among the 55,000 members and guests were 9 individuals representing the Gothenburg FFA Chapter. Dan Scherer and Kris Epke, the chapter's advisors, led Peyton Maline, Tyler Block, Kaylee Beyea, Amanda Larson, Jessica Schmidt, Courtney Brown, and Kelsey Kuhlman. The members were selected based on the number of FFA points they had accumulated over the previous year. These points can be awarded for anything from competing in events to volunteer work to donating food for a food drive.
Before they joined the whole of the FFA, the group made a couple stops on the way, the first being the Kansas City Board of Trade, where they got to see the pits filled with brokers calling for bids. The next destination was St. Louis, where the members ate lunch in Union Station. Then, they visited the top of the 630 feet high St. Louis Arch. The Monsanto Headquarters, also in St. Louis, gave a tour to the FFA'ers. The tour included learning about the seed chippers used to perfect the DNA of the seeds and the byproducts of the corn.
When they arrived in Indianapolis, the group had a little time to do some team bonding. They went to a haunted house and had a great Halloween scare. The next three days included sessions, workshops, and many activities presented by the FFA Alumni. The opening session was Wednesday afternoon and the Keynote speaker was Dave Roever, who talked about overcoming injury in the Vietnam war, told members to never give up hope, and no matter who you are, you can achieve success. The next speaker the group listened to was Vernice "Fly Girl" Armor, who flew a combat helicopter in Iraq to save a fleet of soldiers and become a hero. She taught them her famous quote: "You have permission to engage." Third speaker the group listened to was David Garibaldi, who could paint Giant portraits in seconds, but only if the members in the audience gave him enough support.
They went to numerous workshops that taught them all about staying healthy, by eating right; achieving goals, by planning out using the Specific, Measurable, Atainable, Realistic, and Timely way, otherwise know as S.M.A.R.T Goals; and recognizing struggles in everyday life, by addressing problems in society: abuse, hunger, poverty, AIDS, self esteem, and bullying. The last session the group attended was the American Degree Ceremony on Saturday the 20th. Three Gothenburg members received their American Degree. They were Michelle Jack, Tyler Sheets, and Tommy France. To recieve the American Degree a member must have; received a Greenhand, Chapter, and State Degree; been an FFA member for at least 3 years, and been in an agriculture class for at least 3 years; been graduated from high school for one year, maintained accurate SAE records, and invested or earned at least $ 7,500; demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, records of participation in community service activities, and maintained a "C" grade average or better.
FFA Officer Retreat
The 2011-2012 FFA Officer Team has been getting a jump start on the school year by spending the summer forming plans and organizing activities for their chapter. On August 3rd and 4th, the team took some time off and headed to Omaha for some rest and relaxation. They visited the Fun Plex Wednesday afternoon, followed by dinner and some games at the Amazing Pizza Machine. They followed up the next day by spending most of the time exploring the Henry Doorly Zoo. It wasn't all fun and games, though. The team spent their free time discussing how to better the chapter. It was a good weekend for both relaxation and planning.
Once they loaded up the van on the morning of the 3rd, the team first headed to the Fun Plex, where they enjoyed activities such as go-karts, a roller coaster, and mini-golf. Nothing promotes team-building like ramming into each other at high speeds. After working up a sweat, the team headed to the water park section of the Fun Plex where they mostly enjoyed taking turns down the water slides. Later that evening, the officers visited the Amazing Pizza Machine to eat dinner and play fun arcade games.
After a day of relaxation, the officers had a night meeting in the lobby of their hotel. They discussed how to start the FFA year off strong, and covered topics such as recruitment and member involvement. One such idea was the FFA Pool Party, which took place on the 7th at 9:00 PM. Unfortunately, it was stopped early for lightning. Even so, the pool party was a great way for new and current members to meet the officers and get a glimpse of what the FFA was about. During the meeting, they also talked about their personal goals, as well as what they wanted to accomplish for the chapter. T-shirts were designed for the officer team as well as for the chapter. The budget was put into order. The chapter's plan of activities was organized for the coming year. The meeting was very productive for the team to get ahead on the year. The officers spent most of the next day in the Henry Doorly Zoo. They moved as a team throughout the large zoo, only occasionally getting split up.
Although the retreat was a great way for the officers to unwind a bit, it was also an important step in getting ready for the year ahead. In between the Fun Plex, the Pizza Machine, and the zoo, the FFA Officer Team was able to lay a great foundation for the 2011-2012 school year. They will make the chapter their own this year, and as school draws ever closer, they are confident that the Gothenburg FFA Chapter will accomplish great things.
FFA Officers Attend COLT Conference
It was a short summer break for the new FFA Officers. Hardly a month after being named the new Officers at the annual FFA Banquet, the 2011-2012 Gothenburg Officer Team are already starting to take responsibility for their roles.
On May 23rd, the officers took a trip to the Nebraska Youth Leadership Development Center in Aurora, Nebraska. The facility, which was purchased specifically for use by the Nebraska FFA, housed the 2011 Chapter Officer Leadership Training conference. The Leadership Center was purchased in 1968 by the Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Foundation for the purpose of educating and training young students in leadership, and has housed COLT for many years.
The conference lasted from May 23rd to the 25th and, for the most part, concentrated on the roles of the separate offices in the FFA. The theme this year was COLT 5-0, A Hawaiian-style theme centered around a team trying to find the kidnapped Yohr A. Biliteez, getting closer each day by using leadership skills. COLT was made up of large group sessions, office-specific “investigation teams”, optional “select-a-sessions”, and chapter meetings.
Through these sessions, the Officer Team learned valuable lessons about teamwork, communication, adaptability, and vision, as well as how to perform in their specific offices. Each investigation team was lead by their respective State Officers: State President Brennan Costello led sessions for the presidents, secretaries attended sessions headed by State Secretary Vance Heyer, and so on.
The officers display a tower they built out of pipe cleaners during a team building activity.
Besides learning the values and responsibilities that FFA officers held, the Officer Team also got a jump-start on the year during their team sessions, planning out the year. Plans of activities, commonly referred to as POAs, were covered in the sessions. This allowed the officers to begin planning for the year ahead. They discussed how to improve meetings, encourage member participation, and improve communication among the chapter. They talked about what activities they would try and the committees they would form to carry them out. Most of all, the team talked about vision. The officers needed a clear vision to guide their chapter. The team decided on L.E.A.D, which stands for Leadership, Excellence, and Agricultural Development.
It was a valuable three days for the new Officer Team. Through these days, the officers were educated about performing in their offices as well as life-long lessons about leadership. This year’s COLT conference allowed them to lay the groundwork for a successful FFA chapter. For them, the FFA season is just beginning, but it looks to be a promising one.
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