Thursday, March 15, 2012
FFA thriving at Potts Camp
By SUE WATSON
February 18-25 was National FFA Week. It was celebrated at Potts Camp High School with an inspirational program put on by state and national FFA Association members.
The group did exercises that helped students understand and remember key FFA concepts. The team concept was illustrated by forming a human table activity.
The activity teaches that each person is needed to support the group, or the entire group fails to achieve its objective.
Students broke out into individual groups to use the idea of a vehicle to teach both team leadership and awareness of one’s personal values.
Starting with a group design of a team vehicle, students did table-top exercises to learn to understand the concepts of uniqueness, specialization and customization of ideas and products. Afterward, they designed their own individual vehicle and listed seven distinct personality traits and interests they possess.
Students identified personal values such as friends, family, trust, and honesty.
They were reminded to think often of the motto, ‘I believe,’ a call for pride, love and knowledge of oneself’s uniqueness.
Students also learned with the use of a toy, that the faster they hurry in life, the more easily it is to pull up (not stay with it) right when they are close to finishing a project or task. It was a lesson in understanding commitment to personal growth.
“If we fly through life, we pull up and lose focus right when we are about to finish a task,” Jason Troendle said.
From Minnesota, he serves as national secretary to the association.
He urged students to remember to ask for help when they need it from friends and family.
“In the fast lane, we tend to forget what makes us ourselves,” he said. “Everyone is unique and has their value that makes them special.”
As FFA’ers, students can choose from among many things how they want to be involved.
“Let people know we believe in ourselves,” Troendle said.
Members of the state association delegation to Potts Camp told their FFA story.
Harrison Long started in high school as chapter president his senior year. A student has to have a supervised agricultural experience and a state degree, he said, in order to be a member of the association.
“This has changed my life,” Long said. “I’ve had the opportunity to go places, meet people. It’s one of the amazing experiences of my life.”
Jessica Wilkinson said she was following her sister’s footsteps in FFA, not realizing “it was the same thing I could fall in love with.”
She was shy and liked to hide under her seat rather than step out and participate in activities, she said.
She was pushed into public speaking, her true love. Her best friends were FFA members. During the summer vacation, association members prepare for how they will work with the chapters during the year, she said.
Kristen Bishop took an interest in goats.
“You learn to step out of your shell and have the opportunity where you are not the shy person,” she said. “The critical thing to do is to learn to inspire others. It is a lot of hard work and dedication, but it works.”
Logan Dale got to know FFA in the fourth grade when he traveled with his dad, an ag teacher, to the FFA state convention.
“I saw all those blue and gold jackets,” he said. “I said, what is this, Dad? They are so ugly. Then I began to notice places where they were from. I was starting to be a leader and a state officer. I didn’t realize how many times state officers are out of school. It is part of the commitment of being a state officer. We get to meet these awesome people. It’s the coolest opportunity. It is a commitment to your organization, yourself and to your family.”
Troendle challenged FFA’ers to think about one FFA-related activity they can try.
“If you decide it is not for you, it’s fine,” he said. “I am a national officer and if no one asked me, I wouldn’t be here.
“My adviser continued to push me. I got to travel around the country and am giving back. We are here to help you be of service. Every single one has a gift to give, something to contribute to people around you.”
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