Local FFA kicks off year with Greenhand Conference
Sept. 10, 2014
By Sami Fischer
Although Silver Lake has large facilities, administrators still had to move its professional development day for teachers from next Monday to Wednesday to make room for area students participating in the Future Farmers of America Greenhand Conference.
Just like any other organization, FFA has its own version of a kickoff event. Theirs is the Greenhand Conference, which will be held on Sept. 17 beginning at 8 a.m. The conference is a collection of first-year FFA members from the North East District of Kansas, and a national officer candidate. Close to 50 students will attend the event.
The NE district officers take students around to different stations and teach the students how FFA affects their everyday lives.
Nick Hamilton, Silver Lake FFA adviser, shared what he thinks the Greenhand Conference does for students.
“FFA is an organization that helps develop leadership and personal growth and development through agriculture. The Greenhand Conference allows students to get an insight and introduction to the FFA, ” he said.
Silver Lake has hosted the event for two years. Hamilton said it is because Silver Lake has the nicest and largest facilities. The Greenhand Conference is just the beginning for the local FFA chapter.
Both Hamilton and Chapter President Ashley Swaim want this year’s chapter to compete at a higher level in more events and have more chapter events.
“There has been talk of a parliamentary procedure team (a group of five or more students who perform a mock parliament meeting.) I would also like to do more fundraisers and get the school more aware of the chapter,” Swaim said.
For this year’s chapter of 34 students, Hamilton has planned many career development events where the chapter will compete, as well as volunteer events.
“A few events we plan on attending this year are leadership school where chapter officers compete with opening and closing ceremonies, livestock judging, ag. mechanics where we placed third last year, and ‘Farm to You’ where we help educate local youth about where their food comes from,” Hamilton stated.
There are many reasons why students join the FFA, but for Swaim, it was a personal decision.
“I joined mainly because I love agriculture and because of the huge impact FFA has had on my life.
"FFA has taught me things and given me skills that I will need to use now and in my future. It has made a positive change in my life, and I am so glad that I get to be the president of an organization that makes such an impact on its members and the community," Swaim said.
There are many community aspects that help the Silver Lake FFA flourish, like student’s family ties to agriculture and area agriculture-based businesses. Rylie Krogman, FFA member, explained her ties.
“I thought it would be a cool experience to learn more about agriculture. My uncle is a farmer, and he used to let me feed his calves,” Krogman stated.
Hamilton said he believes the students’ participation in other activities as well as FFA holds his chapter back.
“The thing that is holding Silver Lake FFA back the most is their high involvement in other activities. Silver Lake has the most involved students I have ever been around,” he said.
Swain explained why students should join the FFA despite their other activities.
“FFA teaches you a lot like how to be a better leader, build character, and have fun while doing it. FFA is definitely the best thing I have done in high school,” Swaim stated.