Pictured: Maine FFA State Vice President and State President enjoy Lake Champlain Boat Tour during regional FFA training in Vermont.
On June 26-30, 2022, twenty-two student State Officers of the FFA—formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”—from the states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont gathered in Middlebury, Vermont to learn about workshop development and presentation techniques, as well as communication skills to implement during their upcoming year of service for their nearly 5,000 FFA members grades 7 to 12. Among these Officers were Nickie Deschaine, Maine FFA State President and Lane McCrum, Maine FFA State Vice President.
FFA members are students enrolled in classes/programs related to agriculture and natural resources at schools with registered FFA chapters. This training was supported by the sponsorship of the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Farm Credit East, and the National FFA Organization. As the largest student-led organization in the country, with over 735,000 members, FFA relies on its State Officers to implement programs for local FFA members, raise FFA member awareness to opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and the FFA and represent their members at various in-state, regional and national events.
The Vermont training took place at the North Campus of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury and was facilitated by past National FFA Officers David Lopez (California) and Paxton Dahmer (Missouri), with additional motivational sessions conducted by current National FFA Southern Region Vice President Erik Robinson (Georgia).
Guest presenters Ben Leduc, Loan Officer, and Courtney Bronson, Tax Associate, spoke on the work of Farm Credit East and potential job opportunities for students. FFA Officers participated in a number of highly engaging sessions, enjoyed some outings to local restaurants and locations of interest (such as Crown Point State Historic Site in New York).
Officers commenting on the workshop noted that the main highlight was the chance to return to an in-person opportunity to get to know their peers from other New England states. They left the training indicating significant gains in both their confidence levels and technical abilities associated with developing and implementing workshops. Officers praised the training efforts of both facilitators and the National FFA Officer. Accompanying students were 9 adults from the New England FFA community, including the State Advisors from each of the five participating state programs.