By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Idaho's new state officers are excited about their new leadership role and expect a whirlwind year of strengthening FFA and serving the organization's members.
But first, they need some sleep.
The nominating process involved three grueling days and grilling interviews, and by close of the conference Saturday afternoon, the new officers were exhausted, sleep-deprived and somewhat in shock.
But they are also excited about the year ahead and what they can contribute to the brotherhood of blue jackets they hold dear.
"Our job is to keep the passion for the blue and gold and serve our state to the best of our ability," said new state President Brett Wilder of Meridian.
The officers will be available to Idaho's more than 4,000 members throughout the state to help wherever needed and make FFA stronger, he said.
Their job is to influence members and non-members to enjoy and make the most of their high school years, think about their futures and get prepared, said Vice President Daniel Heikkila, also of Meridian.
Reporter Erin Shenk of Homedale said the officers' mission is to be ambassadors for agriculture and to represent the industry, explaining to those who don't understand ag the importance of agriculture and the high quality of its production.
A year as state leaders is exciting and provides a welcome opportunity to grow, experience and develop, said Sentinel Kyle Nesbitt of Weiser.
As state leaders, the officers will work to strengthen the organization, and there's nowhere to go but up, said Treasurer McKenzie Forsterg of Vallivue.
FFA has already taught Secretary Alyssa Stastny of Kimberly much about herself, giving her life skills she can use the rest of her life, and she will be sharing the message that FFA has the potential to give great things to all high school students, she said.
With more than 4,000 Idaho members who need attention, it'll be a busy year, but it will be time well spent, Forsterg said.
That attention will be given one-on-one and working with chapters to make members feel part of the FFA family, Wilder said.
The new state team members are confident and enthusiastic and represent a great cross section of FFA members, each with a variety of ideas, said Bridget Barrus, state FFA coordinator and a former Idaho FFA state officer.
There will be lots of road trips, training, service and chapter visits, and the officers will dedicate a good portion of the next year to FFA, she said.
She knows from experience the officers will come out of the experience different people, but she said the one thing that won't change is their passion for service and FFA.
Their year as state leaders will impact generations of FFA to come, she said.