For three days in mid-December, the Illinois FFA Major State Officer Team embarked on a retreat to spend time focusing on the beginning of planning the 95th Illinois FFA State Convention.
The officers, along with the Illinois FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer and Assistant Executive Director John Edgar, arrived at a cabin in rural Moultrie County on Dec. 12, after going grocery shopping to prepare to cook all their own meals while they were away.
On the first day, the team began discussing the big picture of the convention, including the schedules, volunteers, themes and budgets.
On Day 2, they dove deeper into the details of the event, focusing on speeches, videos, music, newsletters, scripts and various deadlines.
During the final day, the focus shifted toward events that will occur prior to State Convention, including the State Day of Service Project, State Officer Candidate Orientation, the March State Officer meeting and weekly team meetings.
After the retreat, the team enjoyed a long holiday break before returning to the Illinois FFA Center in Springfield, where they are hard at work preparing for State Convention, which is set to be held June 13-15 at the Bank of Springfield Center.
Ground Zero Conference is a leadership conference for freshmen and sophomore FFA members. At this two-day event, members develop a foundation for their leadership skills by recognizing their strengths, weaknesses, values, resources and goals.
The Major State FFA Officers, section presidents, past officers and 4-H Leaders will serve as small group leaders during Ground Zero.
The conference will be held Jan. 27-28 at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Feb. 3-4 at both University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Western Illinois University.
The officers will travel to meet several industry friends and sponsors from Feb. 13-17, after which they will continue their time on the road to celebrate National FFA Week, spanning Feb. 20-24.
Levi Maierhofer from the Seneca FFA Chapter is the 2022-2023 Illinois Association FFA state reporter.