TWIN FALLS, Idaho – All smiles and teeming with adrenaline, Idaho FFA’s new state officers were ready to come up for air on Saturday after a relentless schedule during the 2014 State Leadership Conference in Twin Falls last week.
Their election as state officers hadn’t quite set in on Saturday, they said, but their emotions ranged from excitement, shock and awe to honored, blessed and overwhelmed.
The year ahead will be one of new experiences, getting to know and serving FFA members across the state, they said..
Garrett Brogan, 18, of Bear Lake, district president and now state sentinel, said he’s looking forward to getting to know members outside his district and representing Idaho at the national convention and competitions in other states.
Emily Hicks, 18, of Middleton, district and now state FFA reporter, said she is eager to travel, scouring the state of Idaho and neighboring states and building relationships with FFA members.
Sharing the FFA passion and opportunities with other members and potential members has already been a big part of her FFA experience and she expects that to reach new levels, she said.
Being state officers will allow the graduating seniors to share their passion for FFA, said Justin Nesbitt,18, of Meridian, district and now state treasurer.
“It’s our chance to make our mark and promote agriculture and FFA and help people see the benefits of agriculture,” he said.
Officers will represent the youth voice of agriculture and try to make a positive difference in the lives of FFA members, helping them through the tough spots and sharing the good experiences, said Clancy Johnston, 17 of New Plymouth, district vice president and state secretary.
One big thing the officers will face is implementing the Ag Education Initiative passed this year by the Idaho Legislature. That will mean promoting it and implementing new programs at the chapter level, said Amanda Hale, 18, of Rigby, district president and state vice president.
The legislation created quality standards, annual incentive grants based on those standards, start-up grants for ag education programs, and increased “added cost” funding for ag education classes.
“We need to show we are worth it and make sure those programs are used,” said Mitch Royer, 18, of Cambridge, district and new state president.
With all those goals ahead, the new officers met with outgoing officers for a little advice.
The outgoing officers stressed the importance of serving members and how members will serve officers, inspiring them and helping them to grow, Johnston and Hale said.
They also said every group of officers is different and every year is different, and the new officers will find their own way to accomplish FFA’s goals, said Royer and Hicks.
“We’ll write our own chapter together,” Hicks said.
Chapter? It’ll be a whole book, Royer said.
“I want to grow as a team through this year, get to know these guys better and become a perfect unit by the end of the year. And I want to have fun,” Royer said.
On Saturday, however, the new officers just wanted to eat, sleep and catch their breath.
They said they hadn’t decided yet if they’ll take a year off of school for their term as state officers, but all plan to pursue higher education. Royer, Hale, Hicks, and Brogan plan to attend the University of Idaho, and Johnston plans to attend Boise State University.
Royer plans to major in food science. Hale plans to major in ag economics. Johnston plans to pursue non-profit management. Hicks plans to major in environmental horticulture, and Brogan plans to pursue equine veterinary science.