June 15, 2021

FFA Corner: FFA officers serve in unusual, innovative ways

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” The major state officer team and the 25 section presidents found themselves this year serving Illinois FFA in the most unusual and innovative ways.

In a typical year, your blue jacket ambassadors would travel throughout the state of Illinois promoting agriculture, leadership and career readiness through chapter visits.

Instead of putting mileage on our fleet vehicles this year, we logged hours on Zoom calls and YouTube. We brought five different workshops to classrooms everywhere that will be available for years to come.

After chapter visit season concluded, we took on a project that we were proud to see in action. Ground Zero is a freshman- and sophomore-focused conference that made its debut this past year as a virtual conference. The conference required months of planning, packing boxes and practicing.

Emma Kuhns, the state treasurer, said: “Witnessing students be actively engaged in learning about each topic, passions, character, connections and goals was immensely rewarding to my teammates and I. We are so grateful for the positive influence section presidents were able to have on their group members and how students were captivated even from a distance.”

After Ground Zero, our year consisted of having the opportunity to travel throughout FFA Week to chapters, awarding our Golden Owls, speaking at banquets and throwing ourselves into convention planning.

It has been a year of ups and downs, but Molly Schempp, the state vice president said: “Every team faces obstacles. Ours just happened to involve masks and hand sanitizer. I found myself feeling overwhelmed with gratitude with each member I saw and event I got to attend. It truly was a year of quality over quantity.”

The 2020-2021 state officer team was grateful for the year we had, but most of all, we are proud to be part of an organization that has supported and helped us grow not only this year, but every year of membership.

Margaret Vaessen is the state reporter of the Illinois Association FFA.