Speaker encourages leadership; WSU wants members as future students
By MATTHEW WEAVER
PULLMAN, Wash. -- About 3,000 FFA members showed their passion for agriculture last week at the organization's Washington state convention.
State FFA Executive Secretary Jodi Monroe said a top priority during the convention was to expose the students to agricultural and leadership opportunities.
Just as important was making sure the kids had fun, she said with a grin.
"It's not all about the competition," she said. "It's also about getting away from their school campus, coming here and being around a lot of positive energy. These kids wear that blue coat and it's just positive for all of them."
Kim Kidwell, Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences associate dean of academic programs, said the college has made a focused effort to build a bridge between the two organizations during the past two years.
The convention included workshops featuring university educational programs and career paths, with the goal of getting participants to imagine themselves attending WSU, she said.
Monroe said her organization is glad to be working in partnership with the land grant university.
"This is the big kahuna; this is the big ag school," Monroe said. "If they're going to be in the agriculture industry, whether it's at the front end or back end, this is the place to be."
Motivational speaker Patrick Maurer told the convention that many people have gotten into the habit of merely existing.
"We think, 'I'm not doing bad in the world and therefore I'm doing good,'" he told the audience during the second general session May 14. "No, it just means we're not doing anything. I think it's time we as a group begin to say, 'If we're the leaders, what can we create, cultivate, contribute to our world?'"
New state President Paige Druffel of Pullman said she hopes to help the organization, and, "just to really get the members excited about agriculture, FFA and about being leaders in life," she said.
It was too early to predict what kind of theme the new officers may choose for the coming year, Druffel said.
"The last couple years have been those fun-type themes," she said. "I would probably say something along those lines, but I have no idea."
Outgoing state president Tucker Cool, from Lake Chelan, Wash., said the officers wanted to focus on fueling members' fires during their year of service. The theme for the year was "Burning for Blue."
"We're all pretty passionate about what we all do, we're all pretty passionate about the blue jackets," Cool said. "We wanted to help kids further their love for the FFA or agriculture and hopefully help them get somewhere in life."
Each team of officers plays a part in advancing FFA, Cool said.
"You want to have a good year, but you want the next year's team to have an even better year than you had, because then you know you're doing your job," he said.
2010-11 officer team
President: Paige Druffel, Pullman, Wash.
Vice president Wyatt Koller, Pomeroy, Wash.
Secretary: Karli Zwade, Ferndale, Wash.
Treasurer: Olivia Wall, Yelm, Wash.
Reporter: Brianna Tasker, Ellensburg, Wash.
Sentinel: Danyelle Cavadini, Bridgeport, Wash.