Members of the Seneca East FFA Chapter eager to begin the Mission/Impact conferences. Photo provided by Milan Pozderac.

FFA Member Leadership Series makes its’ debut

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Formerly known as 212/260, the FFA Member Leadership Series is a National FFA conducted event that offers students the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and grow their leadership skills. 

“The FFA Member Leadership Series is beneficial to students because it teaches them that they can make a positive impact in their personal lives and their FFA chapters,” said Mackenzie Ott, Ohio FFA State Treasurer. 

The last time Ohio FFA hosted an event similar to the FFA Member Leadership Series was in March of 2020. The event was canceled in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead Energize Ohio FFA, a virtual conference with similar formatting, was held in its place.

Ohio FFA went above and beyond to make this experience the best it could be for FFA members. Hosted at the Embassy Suites in Columbus, students arrived Saturday morning and jumped right into a day full of sessions.

The leadership series is broken up into two different conferences, the Mission Conference and the Impact Conference.

Mission Conference

The Mission Conference was available to middle school, freshman and sophomore FFA members. During the conference, students defined their personal mission statements, identified their top five values and learned ways to build their self-confidence. 

“I enjoyed learning about my strengths and weaknesses and how I can use my strengths to overcome my weaknesses,” said Riley McCullough, a freshman student at Seneca East High School and member of the Seneca East FFA Chapter. .

Impact Conference

The Impact Conference was available to junior and senior FFA members. Throughout the weekend, they explored what it means to make an impact, recognized their top five skills, identified the community that they’re a part of and created a plan to inspire change in their community. 

“The conference allowed for time of self reflection into who I am as a person and how I can make an impact in my community,” said Shayden Heiser, a senior student at Seneca East High School and member of the Seneca East FFA Chapter. “My biggest takeaway was learning how I can be a better leader in my home chapter.”

Both McCullough and Heiser recommended that their peers attend the Mission/Impact conferences if given the chance to do so. 

“I think other students should attend the conference because we not only learned a lot but had fun in the process,” McCullough said. “The conference taught me how to be a leader, how to be more outgoing and how to step out of my comfort zone.”

After a day full of sessions, students were able to relax and recharge at a conference-wide dance — because no FFA event is truly complete without the infamous Fishin’ In the Dark line dance.

“I recommend that other students, even those just starting out in FFA, attend the conference. It gives you a good taste of what it takes to be a leader in the FFA while getting to meet different people who have similar interests as you,” Heiser said. 

The conferences not only presented students with the opportunity for personal growth, but also the chance to make connections outside of their home chapters.

“My favorite part of the conference was making connections with the state officers and hearing about the work they’re doing at the state level,” Heiser said. 
For those interested in attending next year, share that interest with your agricultural educator and watch for registration information at ohioffa.org. 

“I would highly encourage students to take this opportunity during their time in FFA to attend the Mission/Impact conferences. It will further their skills of personal growth and premier leadership leading to career success in their future,” Ott said. 

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