March 07, 2021

National FFA officer focuses on optimizing opportunities

INDIANAPOLIS — National FFA officers will connect with members across the country during National FFA Week, set for Feb. 20-27.

“We will be covering about 100 events during the week between the six of us,” said Miriam Hoffman, National FFA eastern region vice president.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, National FFA officers will be involved in virtual events by providing workshops, presenting keynote speeches or casually spending time with members.

“I’m really excited about that because we’ll be in three to four states each day,” said Hoffman, a member of the Earlville FFA Chapter in Illinois.

In addition, the national officers will be involved with social media campaigns with a different challenge each day such as adviser appreciation day and SAE day.

“There will be a Give FFA Day which is for people to share financial resources with FFA,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman, who was elected as one of six National FFA officers in October, said it has been enjoyable to learn about how things are different for members in other states.

“Whether that’s about agriculture, the state or FFA, it’s been fun to learn from my teammates,” she said.

Although Hoffman is connecting with FFA members virtually due to the restrictions forced by the pandemic, that has not reduced the impact of working with them.

“I knew it would be fulfilling, but it has been even better than I expected because those feelings still happen on a Zoom call,” she said.

Each member of the officer team is working to develop their own content for workshops and keynote speeches.

“Some of us have picked pretty similar topics, but we approach those topics so differently because we look at the world in different ways,” Hoffman said.

“My message is focused on making the most of the world we have instead of wishing we had a different one,” she said.

There are a lot of things that compete for students’ attention, which can make it difficult to determine which ones to focus on.

“There are a lot of things we can control, but not everything we can control is that important,” Hoffman said.

In addition, there are a lot of things that matter, but individuals often can’t control many of them.

“The intersection between things we can control and things that matter is where we should put our focus,” Hoffman said.

Once students determine where to place their focus, Hoffman said, it is important to break a goal into action steps.

“Students need to look at where they want to go in their lives and not necessarily a specific job, but what kind of person they want to be known for,” she said.

For example, Hoffman said, she started as an incredibly shy student.

“As a freshman, I didn’t say I wanted to be a national officer, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere and not always be the one sitting alone in a corner,” she explained. “My adviser would tell me to do the next thing.”

As a result, Hoffman participated in many FFA contests.

“I wasn’t good at a lot of them, but I still built relationships and was exposed to new things,” she said. “That’s how I realized maybe I do want to be an officer, and after serving in one position, I kept taking the next logical step.”

Some students think they need to know exactly where they want to be in 20 years, Hoffman said.

“But really all we need to do is take that step,” she said.

During February, the national officer team will be involved with virtual visits with legislators in Washington, D.C., as well as with members of national agricultural organizations.

“I’m really excited about that,” Hoffman said.

“I’m always looking for lessons I can learn from my experience and one of the biggest lessons that I learned before, but you have to learn over and over is the value of personal growth,” she said. “It is difficult to produce creative content for workshops and keynote speeches and have someone listen to what you created and then tell you how to make it better.”

However, Hoffman said, it is also “incredibly meaningful” to know there are people who are focused on helping the FFA members do their best.

“I’ve been reminded a lot of what personal growth looks like and that is valuable to us and to the students we spend time with,” she said.

For more information about the National FFA Organization or National FFA Week, go to www.ffa.org.

Martha Blum

Field Editor