Northern Maine FFA Service/Leadership Workshop Addresses Hunger, Community Service & Leadership Skills

Group Photo of FFA Workshop Trainees and Trainers

On Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Northeastland Hotel, student State Officers of FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) and their assistants conducted a workshop on topics of community service and leadership for Aroostook County FFA chapters.  The one-day workshop, featuring topic overviews and hands-on activities, was held for nearly 100 high school and middle school students from Ashland, Easton, Hodgdon, Mars Hill, and Presque Isle.  Implementing the theme of community service, student FFA member participants brought food items to be donated to the Aroostook County Action Program, with Ashland High School winning the award for the greatest number of donated goods.

In addition to Community Service, FFA members learned about areas of leadership related to goal setting, values, taking initiative, and teamwork.  Students commented that the workshop was “fun” and helped them think more about leadership.  Many indicated hoping to implement community service activities at their local FFA chapters.  In the past, such community service activities have included teaching elementary school students about agriculture, conducting landscaping for public areas, holding food drives, and many other endeavors.

Marble Track Goal Setting Activity

One of the student trainers, Jack Reuthier of Ashland, noted that defining goals well was an “important step to accomplishing any activity.”  Another, James Hotham, State Vice President, addressed the topic of “taking initiative,” and congratulated some veteran FFA members for all of the accomplishments they have already attained through the FFA.  State President, Graham Berry, encouraged FFA members to pursue other upcoming FFA opportunities, including the State Convention in May and positions as State FFA Officers.  Guest speaker, Kaley Norsworthy of Fort Fairfield, past State FFA President, addressed her experience with post-secondary transitions, “made so much easier by FFA,” and likewise strongly encouraged members to consider State Office.

FFA Members Brainstorm Leadership Concepts

The Maine FFA Association is supported by the Career & Technical Education division of the Maine Department of Education and by the Maine Department of Agriculture, as well as by additional sponsors, and costs for the workshop were supported by a “State Day of Service” grant from the National FFA Organization.  Through this grant, additional events will also be conducted in Maine locations of Auburn and Hampden.  The FFA Organization is one of the largest student leadership organizations in the United States, providing recognition, awards, travel opportunities, competitions and scholarships for over 650,000 high school and middle school students enrolled in courses related to agriculture and natural resources.  Not all FFA members are “farmers,” though many do come from agricultural families who recognize the many benefits and connections FFA membership bestows.  In addition to providing organizational and leadership skills valuable to any profession, active involvement in FFA is often one of the first things looked for by agricultural organizations across the country when hiring new employees.

For more information, please contact State FFA Advisor, Doug Robertson, doug.robertson@maine.gov