INDIANAPOLIS — A project designed to involve all the members of the Cambridge FFA Chapter and help them improve their personal growth resulted in a top national chapter honor.
The Cambridge FFA Chapter received the 2022 Premier Chapter: Growing Leaders award during the 95th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis.
“We’re still a little worn out from it,” said Trent Taber, FFA adviser for the Cambridge, Illinois, chapter.
“I think the students were a little overwhelmed at first because it requires a lot of preparation to get all the facts and details of our activities,” Taber said. “Overall, it was a super good experience and one they’ll remember for a while.”
This is the first time the Cambridge chapter that includes 60 members has received a premier chapter award.
“It felt unreal, I was so excited,” said Brooklyn Humphrey, who together with Taylor Pace served as co-chairs of the personal growth committee.
Humphrey and Pace developed the idea for the five-episode podcast during the summer of 2021.
“We brainstormed to get the five topics and once we had our topics we choose different interviewees that would catch the attention of our listeners,” Humphrey said.
Topics for the podcasts included self awareness, time management, advocacy, finance and diversity.
“We started in January and created a schedule so each podcast was separated by about two weeks,” Humphrey said. “It took about 15 minutes to film the podcast and then the members of our growing leaders committee helped with the graphics.”
Guests on the podcasts included chapter members, people from the community and teachers.
“We sent the podcasts out on our social media pages,” Humphrey said.
To encourage FFA members to listen to the podcasts, the committee created a punch card.
Each time a student listened to a podcast, a teacher punched the card and students who watched all five episodes were entered into a drawing to attend the Illinois State FFA Convention for free.
“One hundred percent of our members listened to all five podcasts, which was awesome,” said Humphrey, who is a senior and the chapter vice president.
“I think the members really like the podcasts and found them interesting,” she said. “The podcasts really helped everyone not only in our chapter, but in the community to grow in their self awareness of personal growth.”
After the Cambridge chapter was selected a top 10 finalist for the podcast project, the students created a presentation for judging process that was conducted through Zoom.
“When we found out we were in the top three, we practiced our presentation and then we went to national convention and performed it on the stage for the judges and answered questions about the podcast,” Humphrey said. “At first it was pretty overwhelming, but we were pretty well prepared.”
“I think what really set the girls apart when they presented is they showcased how one activity branched over to the other activities we do in our national chapter award,” Taber said. “They did a great job on that.”