By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter
Each February, the National FFA Organization dedicates a week to celebrate the organization and its’ members. The week is a busy one for the state officer team, FFA advisors and members alike, but surely one that is worthwhile.
“National FFA Week is a week for our organization as a whole to celebrate how far we have come and what we’ve accomplished throughout the years of being an organization,” said Sydney Sanders, a third-year member of the Fairfield FFA Chapter.
Chapters across the state celebrated in a multitude of ways this year. Whether that be through conducting a spirit week where students school-wide dress up according to a theme each day, hosting a teacher appreciation breakfast where chapter members served breakfast to the educators in their school, competing in an agricultural Olympics competition or honoring members who received their Greenhand or Chapter degrees at a ceremony; the week was full of excitement and celebration.
In an attempt to make the week special and unique for chapters, the state officer team conducted “pop-in” style visits. Unlike a traditional chapter visit where an individual officer spends the entirety of the school day with a chapter, these visits were conducted in pairs and each pair visited between two and four different chapters.
This format allowed the team to reach more students and maximize their impact throughout the week.
“Pop-in visits are special because they allowed us to expand our reach during FFA Week,” said Branson VanFleet, Ohio FFA Vice President at Large. “We usually visit chapters for a whole school day, whereas these pop-in visits were only for a class period or two. It may have been less time with each school, but we were able to visit with many more chapters and be a part of their celebrations and experiences through these visits.”
During each visit, the officers facilitated a workshop titled Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present and Planning for the Future. The workshop offered students the opportunity to enjoy a break from their school day, participate in exciting games and network with the state officers.
“My favorite part of pop-in visits is that it allowed my teammates and I to be a small part of so many chapters’ FFA Week celebrations. We were able to help them have a positive experience during the week and also get them thinking about the past, present and future of FFA,” VanFleet said.
Several of the chapters who hosted “pop-in” visits elected to make it a surprise for their members. The Fairfield FFA chapter officers were not anticipating a visit from two of their state officers, making the visit extra special.
“My favorite part of the visit was writing down our goals because without goals you have nothing to aim for,” Sanders said. “We had people sign-off on our goals to help hold us accountable in the future.”
Through “pop-in” visits alone, the state officer team was able to visit 23 different chapters and reach over 1,000 students.
“What I enjoyed most was getting to see our state officers in person instead of on the screen or on the stage. It was great to have time to talk with them one-on-one,” said Emma Fraysier, a second-year member of the Fairfield FFA Chapter.
“I liked the games, they were really fun. Even if we failed a few times, we laughed and still had fun,” said Brayden Zimmerman, a fourth-year member of the Fairfield FFA Chapter
In addition to these visits, members of the team conducted traditional chapter visits, delivered Greenhand and Chapter Degree ceremony speeches and spent time with the National FFA Eastern Region Vice President, Mallory White.