Twenty-five members of the Knoxville FFA Chapter attended the 2013 State Leadership Conference in Ames, ready to GROW as leaders. These individuals showed great commitment to their chapter by getting up early to leave at 6:30 a.m. They were respectful, well-disciplined, and they represented Knoxville in the best way possible.
The theme of this year's conference was GROW. They displayed GROW by mentioning it in the officer retiring speeches, displaying it in the career show, and helping members learn what it meant in the sessions and workshops.
In the retiring addresses, each state officer gave a speech inspiring FFA members to grow as individuals and leaders. The topics ranged from self-confidence, never giving up, and being the best YOU that you can be, because everyone else is already taken. These addresses made people think about how they acted, how they thought of themselves, and how they treated other people. It really made one GROW as an individual.
The career show was set up in the Scheman building at Iowa State University. Different businesses and colleges were set up in stands to talk to FFA members who stopped by. They gave one an idea of what they might want to do when they grow up, and what college they might want to attend as they get older. Most of the stands had brochures and little goodies ranging from free pens or cups to t-shirts and plants to give out. The career show was a great way for new and old FFA members to learn more about FFA and agriculture and the future that they may have in it.
The workshops were also set up in the Scheman building. There were 13 workshops throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday. The workshops talked about the future of agriculture, the different majors in agriculture, potential jobs in agriculture and much more. They taught one how to be an outstanding leader, how to grow in their leadership potential and how to spread their knowledge of agriculture and leadership to other people. They were a great addition to have at the 2013 Leadership Conference.
The FFA members also went and watched various Career Development Events that members can participate in. They are competitions that start at sub-districts, then go to districts, and can then advance to State. Knoxville didn't have any members participate in any state CDE's, but they did watch some of them so that next year, they can see what they need to do to get better and make it to state.
Jenna Kauzlarich and Haley DeMoss did have the opportunity to represent our chapter by participating in the Greenhand quiz and Kate Utterback also shared her talents by being a member of the State FFA Choir. Members Jordan Richardson, Amber VanderHart and Shamene Norman worked diligently to complete a chapter display for the first time in the chapter history. Our display showcased the Knoxville FFA blood drive that we hold annually. The display earned a silver rating.
On Monday and Tuesday, there were four general sessions that members could attend. Session one was held on Monday and sessions two, three, and four were held on Tuesday. Many things happened during the sessions including keynote speakers, retiring addresses, awards, videos, light shows and much more. The chapter attended three of the four sessions and during those sessions, we listened to Sam Glenn and Joenelle Futrell.
Sam Glenn, a well known motivational speaker, talked about the journey of life. He drew a chalk drawing of a man walking a path and he had mountains that represented the twists and turns of life and the peaks and valleys of life. He emphasized how each of us are a blank canvas and that we can paint whatever picture we would like; it is all up to our choices and what attitude we choose to possess. Then, Joenelle Futrell, who is the Eastern Region National FFA Vice-President, spoke. She discussed how we need to step out of our comfort zones so that we may be successful. She also talked about how we don't need to be rich to succeed and that we should never give up on what we are striving for.
The chapter also witnessed two of its members, Shania Calhoun and Amber VanderHart, receive the Sate Degree. This award is the highest honor Iowa FFA can bestow upon a member. Iowa had over 600 State Degrees awarded this year and it was an honor to have two members of the Knoxville FFA Chapter be recipients.
One of the most memorable activities during the 85th State FFA Convention happened on Monday morning. Ten members of the Knoxville FFA chapter had the privilege of helping package meals for Meals from the Heartland. Meals from the Heartland is an organization that packages rice, soybeans, and dry vegetables and sends it off to places that are short on food. We helped package over 251,000 meals. Iowa FFA had well surpassed the goal that was set.
Throughout all of this mayhem, there were many enjoyable events members could attend. Monday afternoon, the Iowa FFA had set up FFA Idol. It was a gimmick, off of “American Idol,” where members could sing, dance, and do any talent they had. It was a great way for members to step out of their comfort zones and a great way for our chapter to bond.
Monday night, we went to the FFA Fun Night. Fun Night consisted of a BBQ provided by the college of agriculture and life sciences, learning how to line dance, playing card games, playing bingo and bonding as a chapter. On Tuesday, the chapter decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and to Hickory Park for dinner.
The 2013 State Leadership Conference was an eye-opening experience for anyone who attended. Members of our chapter are already talking about next years conference and are pumped to go! It was a great opportunity to be able to learn the qualities of leadership that an FFA member should posses.