It was a hectic year for Idaho’s retiring state FFA officers but full of opportunities such as meeting USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and President Donald Trump and picking the brains of industry leaders.
They were also able to build relationships with FFA members across the state and across the country.
It’s a year they say they are extremely grateful for and one they’ll never forget.
President Saydee Longhurst of Shelley wanted to remember everything from her year as a state officer and kept a journal.
“I am so glad I did because I have loved going back and seeing my thoughts then and comparing them to how I feel now,” she said.
The journal tracked her experiences and growth and contained a list of goals for the year. And it kept her on target for accomplishing those goals, such as telling the story of agriculture and focusing on the team’s theme — Find Yourself.
Vice President Harrison Jansen van Beek of Middleton said the past year has helped him figure out who he is and has given him direction.
His goal was to learn and grow alongside the members he was serving.
“I really enjoyed getting to really learn about myself and who I was as a young adult in addition to seeing how members grew personally through FFA,” he said.
Secretary Allyson King of Filer said she’s learned a lot about herself and about life and she’s learned to adapt and change.
Her goal was to connect and serve her fellow FFA members, grow personally and share the story of agriculture.
“This year has been a year of immense growth, and I have gained experience and great friends across the state. I am a better person than when I started,” she said.
Treasurer Melanie Searle of Burley said her biggest aspiration was to connect with members by building friendships with them rather than being a figurehead.
“Every second of the year has been a surprise,” she said.
The education she received in state office has not only opened her mind but also her eyes and heart, she said.
Reporter Savannah Stroebel of Kuna said meeting hundreds of members, advisers, industry leaders and supporters has taught her that everyone has a unique story.
That’s helped her be more intentional in her relationships by listening to understand, and she also made many friends and learned how passionate people in agriculture are, she said.
“I’m excited to take what I’ve learned this year and apply it to the rest of my life,” she said.
Sentinel Caleb Johnston of New Plymouth said his biggest goal was to never turn down an opportunity presented by state office.
He said he didn’t expect state officers to be held in such high regard and it was great to show students that “leaders don’t have to be perfect people, they just have to care about who they’re serving.”