How FFA has ignited Sweet Springs students

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Austin Boland
The FFA and Agriculture classes are of great benefit to me, as well as the surrounding community. I have developed many priceless skill attributes, as well as personal knowledge that will greatly assist me in my immediate future.

One of the many exciting activities that I have participated in during the FFA was the Area 6 Officer Training. At this event, my fellow officers and I engaged in several team-building exercises. For example, the trust-fall experiment. In this event, we had to put our trust into our friends as we fell backwards as they were supposed to catch us. This activity proved to us that our leaders in the FFA are always willing to lend a helping hand when times seem the most severe.

Another of the challenging, but helpful, things I have done in the FFA was the Parliamentary Procedure contest. Not only did I learn the basic functions and operations of proper Parliamentary Rules, I enhanced my ability in public speaking. Our Parliamentary Procedure team also taught me how to think on my feet in pressure situations, as well as creating constructive and creative arguments. The team and I also did very well at our contest, 4th in the state in fact!

There are other numerous activities the FFA offers that members, as well as students in agriculture classes, can participate in. All of which have some benefit.

Bailey Boland
The FFA has taught me many things in the short time I have been involved. These things are leadership, organization, and responsibilities skills. The FFA also helps you come out of your shell and meet new people. FFA also teaches you to be ready for your adult life and jobs you may have.

To be a leader, you have to learn to compromise and be fair. When you are a leader, you may have people that look up to you and you may have people who look down on you. The FFA teaches you how to interact with both of those kinds of people. You learn how to be a responsible leader and how to help yourself and others.

When you become a member of the FFA, you learn to keep accurate records of your finances with record books. You have to be organized with your money and bills in order to keep accurate records. You have to keep your check book up to date as well as your record book so that you know how much money you have. In order to be a good leader you have to be organized.

FFA teachers help you to set your priorities. When you have an SAE project, you have to care for it before you can have success with it. In order for you to be responsible, you have to be organized. If you are responsible and organized, you can be a great leader.

FFA is a great organization that helps prepare you for an organized life. FFA teaches you skills to help you get good jobs. I believe that someone who has been in the FFA is a better person because they have been taught these skills.

Colten Bynum
Having been an officer of the Sweet Springs FFA Chapter for three years, I have had countless opportunities to be engaged in many activities. Many of these have ignited most of our members and officers and pushed them to do their best. I personally have enjoyed several activities that have ignited me and pushed me to do more with the organization. Although several activities have moved me to do more, I will only elaborate on one.

This activity I especially enjoyed doing and was an honor to be a part of. This activity was the Houston E. Mull cattle drive. I was a part of the drive my junior and senior years. My junior year, we had the opportunity of going to the field where the riders would be stopping for lunch. There we handed all the riders their lunches. It was wonderful to see how much support there was for the cause. This year when we helped, we worked the banquet at the Saline County Fairground. Here we got to see the auction and all the money raised.

Both experiences moved me to do more with similar activities. The Houston E. Mull cattle drive is a memory that I will always be happy to remember. As I graduate this year, I urge more people to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity and become a part of the FFA. Houston will always be remembered by all of those involved.

Bailey Coyer
This year I attended the 2013 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. I had a blast and met a lot of friendly people. Not only did we go to FFA sessions, we also went on tours, played some games, and went to The World's Toughest Rodeo.

My favorite part of the National Convention was being able to meet so many new people and visit so many cool places. We went to Church Hills Down and saw the horses practice. We also went to Slugger Field gift shop and looked at the biggest bat I've ever seen! When we got back to the hotel, it was time to eat, then head off to another session. The next day, we attended yet another session. That night, we went downtown and ate dinner and went to Meijer to waste time. Finally, we got to have one night without our official dress and played laser tag! This was a great way to end our last night here at Louisville. Before our session started, we decided to visit the Career Center. The next morning we woke up extremely early to attend our last session of the 2013 National FFA Convention. This was the American Degree Ceremony. We were able to watch some of our fellow Sweet Springs members receive this award. At this session, we broke a new record for the most people to ever attend a National Convention.

After the eight-hour ride home, we finally got back to Sweet Springs. It was wonderful to be back in my own bed, but I missed all of my friends that I had made. I have to say that the 2013 National Convention was most definitely a success. I can't wait to go again!

Jared Dillon
In this organization, there are a lot of key aspects to success, not only for yourself, but for everyone around you.

In the FFA, I have learned the importance of the farming industry and how it affects life in general. This organization has helped me be more "out there" as a person and more involved in school activities. It has also helped me "ignite" my personality and attitude of good will towards others.

Pretty much what I'm saying is that if you feel like there is something missing in your life, just turn to FFA and it will show you the way.

Hayden Dodds
The FFA is a great organization to be a part of. We are like a big family. We take part in many charity events like Toys for Tots. We take trips to places like Snow Creek, Steam Boat Arabia, and Shatto Dairy.

The FFA accepts everyone. You only have to meet one requirement, which is to be in an Ag class. In FFA, you get to help people by donating coats, jackets, and toys. We have barnwarming where all the FFA members in our chapter get together for a dance.

Our biggest fundraiser is the fruit sales. By selling a certain amount of items, you get to take a trip to a chosen place. A place we go just for fun during the year is Snow Creek, where you can ski and snowboard. These are some of the reasons I love being in the FFA.

Austin Dotson
FFA has inspired me in many different ways. It has showed me how people work and do stuff. It has also helped me in meeting many new people and making some more money. My article is about me and my friend, Terral's, SAE project.

Our SAE project takes a lot of work and time. We cut firewood for people. It takes a lot of time and hard work to cut and split good quality firewood. Also, delivering firewood to the local Sweet Springs Community takes time and work. FFA has taught that you can't just expect people to give you stuff, you have to work for it.

In conclusion, that's what FFA means to me. It will continue to introduce me to new people and new ideas. FFA does a lot for kids by educating them on agriculture and what farming is really about. Also, if your needing any firewood give me a call at 660-229-3216. Thanks!

Thomas Dunkle
This is all of the things that have influenced me and the way I do things in the FFA within the past 3 years.

For my third year in FFA, I have enjoyed all of the extra-curricular activities that we have done, such as the trips we have taken and the things we have done. In Class, we have learned things like conservation, things about construction, and the stuff you learn during contest. We have also taken many tests in class that have helped with my knowledge of the FFA. Other than taking tests in class, we have taken very fun and knowledgeable trips to incentives and conferences.

It also felt good to be given the right to take more ag classes this year. And although the jackets are uncomfortable, it is cool how the FFA has their own official dress for conferences and meetings. It is also cool how you basically have to put your skills and responsibilities to the test for the SAE. And although at times it has been difficult, I think the SAE has been a good learning experience for me and my classmates.

I also hope sometime during my high school career to get to go to National FFA Convention. I am also going to do my best to thrive and be a good FFA member of the Sweet Springs FFA chapter.

Tanner Durham
The knowledge and skills I have gained through various ag classes has helped prepare me for my future career plans.

In my junior and senior year I joined ag for ag construction, in which I build woodwork and weld metals. I joined ag power, in which I learned how to do a total rebuild on a 4-stroke engine and my last class I took was ag structures, where I continued to build on woodworks.

In the position I am in now, I am looking forward to graduating high school and attending State Fair Community College for a full master's degree in auto mechanics. My father and I have established a plan to open an auto mechanic shop building custom dune buggies and motorcycles and selling them all over the country. As it looks right now, we have already started with a few custom-made buggies and a shop we recently opened in Sedalia, Mo. It has been my dream to work on off-road and regular vehicles as I learn everything and anything possible about an engine and be able to do anything I wanted with one while fulfilling other people's dreams if having a ride they can't live without.

In conclusion, my present activities have helped me in numerous ways and I still, to this day, am learning how to do things that will eventually help me in what I know and to do what I really love to do while helping people have what they want and enjoying every minute doing it.

Addy Eckhoff
FFA has taught me many leadership qualities. Not only was I taught that, I was taught to work with a team. Some other things I have learned are how much agriculture affects us and that agriculture is all around us. Agriculture has given me more opportunities to help and do new things.

FFA has taught me leadership qualities like helping others out, taking responsibilities, and doing what's right. One example of helping others out is I helped out at F.L.A.S.H (which is an after-school program for kids). I also helped Mrs. Fenner. By taking responsibilities, I made sure I had my record book done correctly. I made sure that I sold the right amount of FFA fruit for the sales. By helping Mrs. Fenner, I stayed after school and helped time-speaking contests.

The way FFA taught me to work with a team is by being on the knowledge team. I also cooperate with the other members and having to talk and work together during meetings. I also worked together as a team with some people for the FFA float. Another thing was when I did the creed. I got some of my friends to help me practice the creed.

Agriculture affects us a lot, but people don't realize it. It affects us by giving us shelter, food, and drinks to help us stay alive. Also, it affects our health and our bodies. For example, agriculture has to do with medicine and if we don't have medicine, then our health will be bad, which will affect our bodies too. This is why agriculture is a big part in our lives.

Agriculture is all around us, even if we don't know it. My clothes are cotton for example. Some other examples of agriculture that are around us is soil, plants, animals, water, food, light, cotton, and much, much more. Agriculture is everywhere, no matter where you go, there will be some sort of agriculture with you.

Anna-Clara Eckhoff
I joined FFA my freshman year of high school, and I had no idea what to expect. At the beginning, FFA was just another club to meet up with your friends and hang out. Then it became something much more. Fruit sales, volunteering, or even just showing up for the meetings were some of the simple tasks that I did that were involved with FFA, until my sophomore year.

FFA contests are a very big focus in my school. But I didn't realize how big until I became part of the Floriculture team. Every day consisted of studying or examining pictures to help get me prepared for the Marshall contest. My team and I spent hours going over the same flash cards or pictures. Taking practice tests and some more were also a big part of the preparation. Every class period I could get, I would study somehow.

When it came time for the Marshall contest, my team and I, along with many others, loaded the bus and headed toward our destination. The first thing I noticed when we got there, was there were so many people, all from different schools. Our teams split up and went to wait for their chance to shine. My team and I went into the gym and patiently waited to be split up into our groups. The first thing I had to do was identify plants and tools. Then came the actual test. Those hours of studying definitely helped out, but not enough. After a long day, the rest of my school and my team and I finally reunited, discussing how we think the contest went. At that point in time, I was just happy that it was over, that I didn't have to spend hours studying or identifying plants.

About a week went by when we were able to look at our test scores. Although my test score was not the best, I can easily say that I now know how much effort, time, and dedication was needed to be put into the preparation. I know what to expect when it comes to the contest days and more or less, I'm excited to push myself harder to make my test scores much better than the last ones. FFA contests, even FFA itself, has taught me that pushing myself will get me further in life than a lot of preparation or hours on end of studying will pay off in the end. It also taught me to never give up. A push here and there can take you farther than you would think.

Lizzie Gieseke
FFA has ignited a passion in me. This year is my fourth year being a Sweet Springs FFA member. However, I have been involved with FFA since my sister was in high school. (I would have been in middle school.) When I was in junior high, I was in agriculture classes, and was told and shown, by my sister about the many wonderful opportunities FFA has to offer. The summer before my freshman year of high school, I started my activities through FFA by exhibiting swine at various fairs. Since the first time I walked in the ring representing my FFA chapter, I have not wanted to stop.

Since becoming a member of this organization, I have never once felt more involved. FFA has truly led me to finding myself a "niche" while in high school. FFA has taught me so much about myself and has led me to realize the person I really am. By participating in various activities and being an officer for three of my four years, a passion for FFA and agriculture has been ignited within me. This past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to WLC (Washington Leadership Conference). This was a week-long conference held in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Here I learned what kind of individual I am, what my strengths, weaknesses and passions are and how I can make a difference in this world. This was truly a life-changing experience that I will never forget.

My passion for the agriculture industry and FFA has only grown stronger since I have become an FFA member. FFA has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities, taught me so many things and given me skills that I will use throughout my life. I have learned so much about myself since the first time I tried on my very own FFA jacket. Since I have lived on a farm my entire life, I have always been involved with and loved every aspect of the agriculture industry. Becoming an FFA member has allowed me to gain leadership skills through agriculture education. FFA has definitely ignited my passion for agriculture even more and has made me realize how much I love the industry and how much I want to stay in and support this great industry.

Trevor Harrison
FFA has taught me that there is more effort toward life than it really seems. Without farmers, we would all be scavengers. Life would be taken differently and you would have to work daily just to survive. Even then your life could be cut short. The human population would be shy.

I have learned how much would cease to exist without FFA or farming. Because of farming and the FFA, technology has advanced so much. Without farming, that would not have come. Maybe it would have but not as fast as it did.

Now that I'm in the classes, I understand the importance of FFA. Without FFA, the world would be different. With FFA, everything seems so much easier and to live better and work for a living and not work to live.

Alexia Hays
What is barnwarming? Barnwarming is an FFA-sponsored "dance." You go to have fun with your friends, make new friends, and experience new activities.

When you first go to the barnwarming dance, you are usually half-way through your first year in FFA. As a first-year barnwarming attender, you experience what is called "Freshman Games." Freshman Games are mainly an obstacle course of sort to get you to bond with your fellow FFA members.

Even though you may already have your set group of friends, it is always great to make new ones. The Freshman Games are one way to achieve this, but there are many more. What if someone's alone in the corner by themselves, because they don't know anyone? You can take initiative and go up to them, introduce yourself, and then hang out. Just find new people and spark a conversation with them. Make friends!

Barnwarming is a wonderful experience for anyone who attends. You have a few laughs, hang out, and even make a few friends. Barnwarming is something that should always be considered to attend.

Nate Hedges
FFA has ignited many things in me, including all the new things I have learned. I have learned more about FFA and Ag then I have ever known before. I have a lot of fun in my Ag classes and in FFA, especially with having Mrs. Fenner as a teacher. She is easy to understand and breaks everything thing down to make it easier for me to comprehend. She also explains things when I have no idea what is going on.

FFA has made me more appreciative towards the farmers because I now know where all of our food comes from along with lots of other things. For example, clothing is made from cotton, which farmers grow. FFA has also helped explain many careers that I didn't know about before. A lot of those jobs sound very interesting and very fun to do, although I plan to be a teacher.

Without Ag or FFA, I wouldn't have known about the amazing future we are going to have. FFA and Ag have both pushed forward and made our country the way we are today. Without FFA or Ag, we wouldn't have much food, clothing, or even plastic to use. There would also be a less amount of jobs offered to fill. To the point... We wouldn't have a future without Ag or FFA.

Christina Higgins
Through FFA, I have learned many things and many ways to be successful. FFA ignited my passion and dedication towards the show ring. I started showing cattle when I was in the 3rd grade, and I still do today. I started showing pigs when I was in the 10th grade.

FFA has taught me that if you want to succeed, you have to put out the effort. Nothing in life comes easy. It also taught me that if you want to achieve something and you try your hardest, you most likely will. FFA has also given me passion towards my animals and I grew to learn they are not just animals. After you work with them for so many hours and days, they become your best friends. Also, I have learned that when you show and you win that day, you didn't really when that day. You actually won all those days that you put all those hours into the barn. All the times that it was so hot and so cold but you still find yourself out in that barn.

FFA has done so much for me and my family. I could not go show all the time if I wasn't in the FFA. I am very grateful that here in Sweet Springs, we have such a great FFA chapter. It's not just the chapter that makes it so great. It's the students, advisors, and our community.

Garrett Hollingsworth
FFA has ignited a spark in me that has inspired me to be a better, more productive individual. I have learned many benefits and the importance of respect for myself, as well as my fellow peers. The FFA has also opened up new career paths and skills within me. The FFA has got to be one of the most fantastic organizations ever created.

All of the members in our FFA chapter enjoy one another's company and have developed a bond of friendship stronger than any other. This helps us help others strive to achieve their full potential. This makes me feel good about myself knowing that my actions may ignite a spark in someone else and push them to strive for better. All members of the FFA should be proud of what they are involved in and do their best to ignite a drive for success in others.

One of my proudest moments with my chapter is my time in contests. I was honored to represent my school and meet new people from across Missouri. Without FFA, my life would be less fulfilling. I will do my best to keep the fire of FFA alive.

Dominic Hood
The FFA has ignited me in my Ag Science class. It has taught me how to be an organized person. Another thing about FFA is that it teaches me how to be a better student and informs me about new things involving meetings and contest teams. These new things might be very interesting. One thing I enjoyed so far is barnwarming. Because it is my freshman year, I have had a lot to learn about my SAE, but I'm interested in doing horses. I personally think it would be a pretty big success. I'm hoping to get my greenhand degree this year, but I know I have to work harder than I have already.

Ashtin Hunter
The three years that I have been in FFA, I've been ignited in many ways. It's showed me that working together as a team is so much easier than doing anything by yourself. Another thing it has taught me is that it's good to give back to our community especially with our programs like Toys for Tots and the shoe and coat drive.

The things that ignites me the most are my Ag classes with Mrs. Fenner in Greenhouse and Mr. Niemeyer in Ag Power. They both have taught me so much about plants and motors. It's been fun so far and I'm exited to work some more on things.

I will miss my FFA classes and activities we have done. It's made me realize that learning can be fun sometimes. It hasn't only ignited me, but many others, and it's a big part of our school.

Catherine James
With the FFA comes opportunities. You're able to go to a lot of fun activities, the meetings and meeting new people. It's always been a lot of fun to me and I've always had a fun time. I enjoy going and meeting the new people, I've met a lot of my friends that way. I think the time that inspired me the most to join FFA was that it was tradition in my family.

At first, meeting new people seemed scary, and I only stayed in my group. Then when I went to a greenhand conference, I was swept up from my Sweet Spring's group and put into a group with people from our conference. I was really shy and just did what I was told. At one point, a boy asked me what my name was and where I was from and we started talking about how fun the FFA was. Then I was introduced to more people and I started making friends. I became comfortable with talking to new people.

When I was little my brother had joined the FFA and since I looked up to him, I decided that as soon as I could, I would join. My parents were also in the FFA and I remember one time seeing my dad's old jacket and it was so decorated, I loved it and my mom had pictures from when she was in it and went on trips. I wanted to go on the trips and have the fun that my parents had told me about.

Being in the FFA is great. You learn a lot and can also have a lot of fun at the same time. You just might be surprised on how many people you'll meet. With the FFA, you learn to get out of your boundaries and have fun and make memories.

Kim Ketterman
The Sweet Springs FFA chapter has helped me with a lot of things ever since my freshman year. I'm not very involved with the chapter but I still enjoy the things that I do with the chapter.

The class that I have taken that helped me the most was my Ag2 class. We had to do speeches and before that class, I was the person that was always quiet and tried to avoid any type of recognition. But after having to give long speeches in front of a group, I felt more comfortable and not so shy. My future plans still kind of involve the Agricultural field, but I want to be a veterinary assistant. To start with that, I plan to go to a two-year community college, then move up to a university. The main SAE that I have done in the past was beekeeping. It showed me how to be responsible and it taught me a lot of stuff. Feeding, taking the honey out, and the precautions you need to take when you are taking care of bees since they can be a very dangerous insect if you don't handle them right.

The FFA chapter has helped me all throughout my high school years. Now as a senior, I plan on taking the things I have acquired from the group and link them to actual life. Being an FFA member has many benefits and any incoming freshman I would tell them it would be a good choice to be in their FFA chapter.

Austin Knipmeyer
FFA and my Ag classes has inspired so much in me. I am currently an officer in FFA division. Being an officer is a great experience. I have learned many great skills from this opportunity. One of the main skills I have learned is great leadership skills.

We went to Bennett Springs for our officer training. After we got there and finally got everything set up, our first meeting took place. We got to know our entire fellow officers and planned great things for the upcoming year. The next day we had team-building by floating down the river. It was so much fun to hang out with new people, get to know everyone, as the day grew on.

In FFA, yes, there are trips taken and even some days that you get out of school, but it also gives you new skills that I will be able to use later in life. I would suggest being an officer in your FFA, I definitely don't regret my decision and I don't think you would either.

Andrew Krause
FFA helps ignite your work ethic and make you want to get involved in activities around the community.

Our FFA chapter has many events that get us involved in the community. These events include Winter Snow Removal, City Wide Clean-up, planting trees in Joplin, Toys for Tots, and many more. The snow removal helps out people in our community that may not be able to shovel out their own snow. City Wide Clean-up makes the town look much better and helps to remove all of the trash that is found in the ditches or on the streets. A couple years ago, a few FFA members also traveled to Joplin, Missouri and planted trees to help replace the ones lost in the tornado the year before. Toys for Tots is an event that helped gather toys for children who are not able to have a typical Christmas.

Without the FFA, events like these may not happen in our community. The FFA really helps get students involved in the community and help "ignite" their work ethics.

Olivia Loges
My experience in the FFA thus far has been one of the greatest experiences of my high school career. I have not only learned many more things about agriculture, but I have met so many people and developed many skills through the FFA. My experiences in this great organization will not only benefit me in high school, but will also benefit me in my future.

Some very important skills I have acquired through FFA are leadership, responsibility, even people skills. One very important time where I learned how to use these skills was this past summer in Washington, D.C. I attended Washington Leadership Conference with two other members from our chapter. This trip helped me realize how amazing the organization really is. FFA is more than just crops and farmers. It teaches you how to reach your full potential. WLC really helped me to open up and learn how to help and serve others, just as our motto says, "Earning to live, living to serve."

Someday I hope to tell people how important FFA truly is. Even though FFA isn't for everybody, it does have something to offer every person. Whether it be certain skills or certain contests they're good at. FFA has taught me many things and it has made a drastically positive impact on my life.

Brianne Looney
I am sure most of you know or have at least heard of FFA. It stands for Future Farmers of America. There are many fun activities you can do, such as CDE's and Barnwarming.

CDE stands for Career Development Events. There are many of these. One of which is the Knowledge Team. I was in this with Kortnee Vaught, Chris White, and Bailey Coyer. We had to do a lot of studying, but it paid off. Our team made it all the way to State, which is the highest you can go for Knowledge. I had a lot of fun going to all of the places and meeting new people.

Another fun activity is Barnwarming. It is a dance that you have in a barn. It may not sound too fun, but it is actually quite the opposite. In the dance, we have a hay tunnel which every Greenhand must go through. Last year, there were gaps in the tunnel and many people used their phones as a light to see. When I saw the lights getting closer to where I was, I would thrust my hand into the hay tunnel in front of them. Besides that, there are the Greenhand Games, which consists of a relay race. A few Greenhands are selected for teams and then they do odd things as quickly as possible. It is a lot of fun doing it and watching it.

In conclusion, there quite a few fun activities to do in FFA. CDE's are very fun and a great learning experience. Barnwarming is a fun dance that I enjoy and I believe you will too.

Amber McNicol
FFA has several individualized opportunities for everyone to shine through their own experiences and opportunities. I have learned a lot about myself and my own capabilities through FFA and the events I have participated in. Unfortunately, I haven't made it to a lot of meetings or activities this year because of my job, but I still know the importance of helping out in the community.

Toys for Tots is just one of the several activities our chapter did this year, and it "ignited" me because after I saw all of those presents that people brought in for children who are less fortunate than me, I felt inspired to help out. I personally went out and bought presents for the Angel Tree (primarily because I missed the Toys for Tots meeting) and as I was in the check-out line for the toys I bought for the less fortunate children, I felt good for not only myself, but I felt better for the children that would now have a better Christmas because of me.

I only used one example on how FFA has ignited me, but there are so much more that I can go on about. Our Sweet Springs FFA Chapter has done so much for not only the local community, but our community all around us, and just knowing that I am but a small portion of this chapter that does so much for everyone, it makes me feel good inside and makes me want to do more in the community.

Madison Merrill
Joining the FFA in my freshman year, I thought FFA was for a bunch of farmers that only talked about crops and livestock. But coming up to the end of my senior year, I have learned that FFA means so much more.

I have not only learned about plants, animals, crops, but so much more. I have learned leadership and how to stand up and take charge. You don't have to be an officer or always actively involved to learn from the FFA. The biggest leadership experience happened the summer of 2011 when I and several other students traveled to Lake of the Ozarks to FFA Camp.

At camp, we had several leadership activities that got us to mingle with other members we have never met. That is what really got me to bring out the leadership in me. This is my fourth year as a member of the Sweet Springs FFA Chapter and wouldn't change that for nothing.

Kyle Messer
The Sweet Springs FFA Chapter has been a great help to me ever since my freshman year. I have enjoyed the past activities that I have gone to over the years. One of these activities is being on the Dairy Foods FFA contest team.

I have especially enjoyed the FFA contest team, Dairy Foods. I had a blast trying to judge some of the milks they give us. Not only is it fun but it can also be very difficult. Dairy foods is the only contest team I have had the chance to be on. Though only being on this team twice, I have learned that it takes a lot of time and dedication to prepare for. I can easily say that my second time at the contest was much better than my first because I was more prepared and knew what to expect.

I have also enjoyed my Agriculture classes over the years. They have been especially fun thanks to my amazing teachers, Kristen Fenner and Brent Niemeyer. I do have my favorite classes, Ag Power and Ag Construction with Mr. Niemeyer along with Animal Science, Food Science Tech and Ag 1.

This is a little about my time in FFA, it is short, but the time being in each class, I know there's something I will always remember thanks to my outstanding teachers.

Mason Meyer
Throughout this organization, I have learned a lot. I have learned what an SAE is and what you have to do to get your degree. I haven't been on very many trips, but they all seem fun.

My greatest experience was going to districts with my floriculture team. I thought I was the best on my team. That was my greatest experience.

So all in all I learned about what the FFA means to so many people. I get to meet new people and learn about what gets them going.

Katelyn Minor
The FFA has ignited many different things in me. There are many small things, but there are three things that are very important to me. Some of the main things are how to keep track of money, how to be efficient in what I do, and how to be successful in life.

I have learned how to keep track of my money by record books. To do my record book, it has allowed me to see how, where, and when I spend my money. It also shows me how difficult it can be to stay organized enough to keep track of my money, along with the value of a dollar.

My SAE has taught me how to be efficient at what I do. My SAE project is raising rabbits. To raise rabbits, you need to have a schedule for when you are going to feed, water, and clean their cages. If you don't have a schedule, it will fall apart and things will not run smoothly for you. I also have to keep track of how much money I spend and then record the amounts in my record book. 
The third thing FFA has taught me is how to be successful. FFA has taught me in many different ways. It has taught me this ability by allowing me to do my record book, SAE's, and be part of the competitions. You have to be willing to put time and money into things if you want to be successful.

The FFA has ignited these three important things in me. Although FFA can be tough at times, it has had a huge impact on my high school career and will stick with me for the rest of my years.

Justin Mitchell
This fall, for our first meeting, we had a meeting at the local park. During this meeting, we had a great bonding experience through a great game of kickball. We also had a great time eating some grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. Around this time, I discovered how nice the people were here, me being new to the place.

This event kept me in FFA and made me want to take Ag. Now that I'm part of the FFA, I do what I can to help. During our fruit sales, I sadly didn't sell any, but I did help with organizing and delivering the fruit. I will try to get more involved from here on out.

Now that I'm an active member of the FFA, I will try to do more with them. Although I most likely won't be able to reach any high-ranking positions I can still participate in the many activities. Well, to anybody, I would suggest that they should join the FFA at their school. I don't regret my decision when becoming part of the FFA and I hope the newcomers won't either.

Corey Morgan
Before I came into the family of the FFA, I had very little interest in the world of agriculture. I started in the year of 2012, and so far I have learned so much. I never knew how interested I would become after I joined the family.

In my first year my whole class had to study meats and we had to compete against each other in order to get to compete in the regional FFA contests. Unfortunately, I didn't know my meats very well. I decided to try horticulture and study the different plants. My team and I competed against other FFA teams in the region, but we didn't get first place. It's not about winning to me, it's the fact on how much you learn and I learned a lot.

Here I am in the year of 2014 and still going strong. My FFA family has taught me so much and my agricultural interest has increased so much that this year I'm going help out entirely with my family's garden.

Quintin Nieman
While in FFA, I started to develop leadership, self-sufficiency, and the ability to expand my social life to others in my community and those outside of my community. The events and things that helped me develop these qualities are SAE, FFA contest, and the whole FFA organization.

The way I was able to learn leadership was by attending FFA contest. While at contest I learned to lead my group through the contest learning process. I was able to help my teammates when they had problems. I could take control and make decisions when no one knew what to do and how to approach a situation.

Self-sufficiency was developed by having an SAE and keeping a record book. Record books helped me keep track of all my spending and money that I have been given. Also, an SAE gives me a life of work responsibility. Being able to be social in my community and with communities around me was developed by the whole FFA organization. Not just one event has helped me be a more social person in life. It has been all of them together. All of the contests, speeches, the SAE, and the record books helped me develop this quality.

So that basically sums up how I have developed through FFA. Also how I have been able to learn new qualities during my time in the FFA.

Trevor Phillips
The FFA program in a nutshell is a great program to be apart of. The amount of careers and people that look for FFA scholarships/achievements are unbelievable. The contests can prepare you for challenges later in life that you need to get over. This also helps with your study skills and your ability to work with people, talk in front of people and present in front of hundreds or thousands depending on how far you go.

My experience with contest teams has been pretty successful for only competing once. I was lucky enough to be a part of the 2012-13 soils team. We practiced every day of class whether it was learning how to fill out the forms or learn the texture and class of what soil it was by kneading it in our hands. At the practice test, we did pretty average which was to be expected with all the practice we had put into it. In area, we had a nice surprise for two of my teammates had tied for first while my other teammate was in the top 10 and I was placed in the top 20.

What I am trying to get to throughout this whole article is the opportunities FFA has for you and the things in scholarships that you can get if you work at it. All the people are great to be around and the skill that you learn will help you with work ethic and everyday skills such as fixing your house, making minor engine repairs on your car, or small engines such as your mower or weed eater.

Mikaela Piper
I joined FFA my freshman year and have never regretted my decision. My freshman year I was welcomed to the world of FFA which meant shop class, conservation, livestock, contest teams, state convention, and so many great opportunities for us students in the FFA. There are so many opportunities for us not only as students, but as people, to grow and become even better with ourselves. That's exactly what happened to me.

I was unsure of what I would be good at doing in the FFA, but in my sophomore year, my ag advisor introduced me to public speaking. Of course, like any other student, I didn't want to. But when I gave my first prepared speech, I got this feeling that I absolutely loved to speak to people. I can inform people maybe even teach others things that maybe they didn't know about agriculture. Each and every day, I was learning more and more from my advisors.

I'm a senior now and to this day, my advisors amaze me with their vast knowledge to help me research for my speeches. To this day, I still love public speaking. To this day, I love informing others and growing as an FFA member. FFA has ignited my love for speaking, informing others, and growing as a person. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Shawn Price
My FFA chapter has ignited me in many ways. The meetings are always full of fun, activities, and friends. The many trips we take are even more fun than the meetings that we hold. But the main thing that ignites me are the activities we do in our amazing community.

In my FFA chapter, we try to have at least one meeting a month. If you show up to the meetings early, we like to talk and hang out. During our meetings we talk about upcoming events, who will be running them, who will be going to them, cost, and dates. Our chapter also does many things for the community. Each year before Christmas, we have our Toys for Tots meeting. During this meeting, we talk and hang out, and wrap presents that we brought to donate to the Toys for Tots organization.

FFA is a big part of my life, and in many ways it ignites me. With all the fun I have at our monthly meeting, all the trips we take, and how much it helps with the community, I don't see why not all of the people in my school participate in it. It is a very fulfilling feeling knowing I'm in such a great organization surrounded by all my friends and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about joining. There is no better feeling in the world knowing that, even in the smallest way, that I can make a difference in my life, my school, and even my community.

Jade Rayl
What FFA ignites in me is doing many activities and learning something new and going to new places to earn points to letter. One of the things I have done so far to help out in FFA is the Hunt of a Lifetime event and I went to Barnwarming. Also, I enjoyed the first meeting we had during this last summer.

Another good opportunity for me was to help with Toys for Tots and it felt good to give kids that didn't really have anything for Christmas and it makes me proud to be in the FFA and I'm hoping to get my Greenhand degree this year.

Kayli Schleicher
At Sweet Springs High School, FFA is a big thing for most of the student body. You can take many different AG classes during your high school years. FFA comes along with all the activities, contests, and meetings. My favorite part of being in FFA was FFA camp.

The summer after my freshman year, I attended FFA camp with a group of my fellow FFA members. When I first got to the camp, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, all I saw was cabins. I'm a water person so I was ready for the lake. We got settled in our cabins and then went for a meeting. As soon as that was over, we were allowed to go to the waterfront! I spent most of my time there enjoying swimming and boat riding. But my favorite water game was definitely disking.

It is now my senior year and I still remember that week like it was yesterday. It was worth the time and money. I encourage everyone to go at least once during their high school years. I enjoyed it very much and can easily say that I would go again if I had the chance.

Jacob Schowengerdt
FFA members have many opportunities to use what they've learned in their agriculture classes and apply those skills in their everyday life. Members are also able to compete in contests of what they have learned in their classes. I have done Parliamentary Procedure my Sophomore and Junior year for my contest. My team and I used our knowledge and practice to demonstrate the proper way for a meeting to be run.

Our Parliamentary Procedure team included Colten Bynum, Heath Snider, Kati Viets, Lizzie Gieseke, Zach Weber, and I in my Sophomore year; and Colten Bynum, Heath Snider, Lizzie Gieseke, Zach Weber, Austin Boland, and I in my Junior year. From January to April we practiced every morning we could and occasionally on Sunday nights. It was a lot of work outside of practice, also practicing motions. All the hard work ended up paying off in the end.

As normal, hard work usually turns into good results and success. Our Sophomore year as a team, we were one spot away from making it out of districts and onto state. That bothered us but it made us more determined to get to state the next year. The next year, our Junior year we started practicing early and made sure we would be one of the best teams in the state. We ended up making it out of districts and finishing fourth in the state. The hard work paid off. It was a great accomplishment by our team.

In conclusion, hard work and determination led us to success. A plaque isn't the only thing we benefited from the experience. We walked away from it having many unspoken skills such as team work, determination, hard work, and efficient public-speaking skills. This is how FFA has ignited me.

Chelsea Schroeder
What the FFA has ignited in me are things that I will hold with me throughout my whole high school career and from then on. This year, I have gotten more passionate about the FFA through learning all about it. It has ignited in me dedication, passion, and a drive in me. I have never been this influenced by anything before and I think it has sparked the best in me.

The FFA has ignited in dedication in me through FFA knowledge. Since there are not a lot of contest team opportunities for freshmen, it is so important to my family and I that I am on a team, since Fenner is only picking four of us out of the nine she's training. I have been trying to dedicate spare times into doing things such as making flash cards and studying it all. I want to be on the knowledge team more than anything and I want to say that I put my best effort out there when it comes to contest time.

FFA has also ignited passion in me and I feel like if no one else steps up then why not take that extra step and go for it. Most people in my class don't really care about anything including the FFA and are just in FFA to be in it. Since they are like that, there is no one really to step outside the box and show the passion that people like me can have for the FFA and all the good things it does. I have never really been this passionate about anything, and never really been one to stand out. But there is something in FFA and all the great things that it does for people and their community.

The other thing that the FFA has ignited in me is a drive to do better. I want to be a better leader and role model to the future generations of the FFA. My goal is to someday become the FFA national president and my chapter president. I know that it is something that will take a lot of effort including being a better leader. To reach that goal, I will strive to become a better leader, step by step, I see it as running. Before you can learn to run you have to learn to walk, but before that you have to take baby steps that will, in turn, become larger and better steps. If you put one foot in front of the other next thing you know, you're running. I will try my best to ignite the love of FFA that I possess to the future generations.

Brittany Simmons
Sweet Springs High School offers agriculture classes for grades seven through twelve. One of my options this year was Ag Construction. I decided to take Ag Construction for a different experience this year. I didn't want to sit in the classroom this year. I wanted real hands-on experience.

In Ag Construction, I made a picnic table. When I started, I thought it was going to be an easy feat. But actually, it was much harder than one would think. It took a lot of time. I had to cut and measure all of my boards and make sure they all were the same length and was exactly like they needed to be. Then putting it together I assumed would be the easiest part but it wasn't, making sure everything is flush is actually a complicated task.

I appreciate that my school offers this class to us. I have gained woodwork experience and also got the hands-on experience that I wanted. I have a nice picnic table that I'm proud to have made and I now have the knowledge to where I can make other woodwork things.

Heath Snider
It is difficult to describe how the Creed changed me. Truth be told, I was left with more questions than answers after I had won at the National Level. What are my capabilities? Where do I go from here? Above all else, I asked: why did I win?

I certainly cannot credit the accomplishment to the skill of my speaking ability. I have done plenty of public speaking since then, and I understand my limitations with speaking far more thoroughly now. No, there were a multitude of factors that played into my success in Indianapolis. Not the least of them included support from God, family, and community. However, over the past three years, I have developed an understanding of what separated me from the rest of my competitors. I made the creed my own.

An untold number of hours were spent delivering it in front of the mirror, pouring over literally the thousands of questions contained in a Creed binder, and practicing on my porch under cover of darkness. Can such a thing even be imagined? I spent a year and a half studying, meditating, and practicing only five paragraphs worth of words. The intimacy I developed with each of those lines was bone-deep. Over time, I began to adopt some of the tenets of the creed into my own personal code of honor. Principles such as self-independence, work ethic, and taking advantage of all forms of education were now ingrained into my very soul. Because of this deep understanding, fostered in great part by the mentoring of Mrs. Fenner, I was now able to deliver and answer questions about the Creed in the most genuine of manners.

Why did I win? Now I know the answer. It was because, among all the factors that supported and carried me along the way, I made the creed personal and developed an understanding so deep and complex that it became a part of me.

Dameron Taylor
Last year my time with the FFA was an excellent experience. I got to go through plenty of events that were incredibly exciting and all around a good time. It was a great opportunity that I was glad to be a part of. I learned and developed many skills that I will take with me forever. The organization is by far one of the most successful in our school and it's thanks to its members that make it so.

I competed in multiple Public Speaking competitions last year which was quite an undertaking. I was able to learn an important skill that I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to. I know that this will pay off handsomely later in life. Regardless of results in my various competitions I always felt like I took something away from each competition which is all I care about at this point.

What really ignited my FFA experience though were various group activities. FFA camp is what made me want to more than just want to be in the FFA. Camp made we want to participate in the FFA. It's this that inspired me to be an officer and that is one of the biggest achievements of my High School Career. In the end my fellow members ignite me every day to do my best as an officer and make our program proud.

Miranda Tyler
FFA has ignited me to get involved and got me able to go on trips. In FFA, you have the chance to go on many trips. When you get enough points, you can have a chance to go to the National Convention. It's really neat when you go on a trip and meet new people and they become your friends. All of the trips that you are allowed to go on are a learning experience.

The chance to get to go on the National Convention is a great experience. The bus ride might not be fun, but when you get to your destination you just get excited. At the National Convention this year, we went to Kentucky. Some of the sessions were really interesting. The guest speakers were really motivational and gave us some ideas for our own chapter. The National officers are really funny.

Another trip that you can go on is the FFA incentive trip. The incentive trip that I went on this year was to the Shatto Dairy. When we went there, they gave us a tour of the building. They told us all about how the business runs. The best part was when we tried out the milk and cheeses. The milk might have sounded weird but it was actually really good.

Even though all of the FFA trip was fun and exciting, Snow Creek was one of the trips at the top of my list. Snow Creek is fun because you can ski. I never went skiing until I joined FFA. I was not good at skiing and I fell a lot.

There are so many opportunities that can mold what you do in the future. These opportunities can take you many places throughout your life. The FFA chapter has made a huge impact on my life and hopefully it can do the same for you.

Kortnee Vaught
FFA has given me the state of mind to strive to always do my best. The kind of commitment and hard work it takes to be a part of the organization gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. Although there are many great opportunities and experiences that can be associated with the FFA, my favorite was being able to go to the National Convention. The National Convention is where you can make friendships that will last a lifetime, learn the true meaning of leadership, and expand your knowledge about what college or colleges you would enjoy attending.

It all started on the bus ride to Louisville, Kentucky. No one spoke much until we stopped for lunch. We stepped out of our comfort zones and started talking to people who were on our bus. Once we got to Louisville, we went to our hotel rooms. Bailey and I had to share a room with three Boonville girls. It got a little confusing at times because there was another girl named Courtney staying with us.

Sitting through the leadership sessions inspired you to always do your best. You learned a lot about how to help people and how to strive for greatness. Each session had a different topic but all came together for one theme, to ignite you and others in the FFA. It was about wanting to be successful and how to do so. Although the sessions were very strenuous, they paid off. They made you think about your actions and how big of an impact you can have on someone. The sessions made you think about the future.

One of the greatest experiences was being able to talk to all the college representatives. They were there to guide you in what you wanted to do and give you a feel of their college. There were colleges from all over the country, from the west coast to the east coast, and from the northern border of the country to the southern. There were big schools and smaller schools, who all had the same intention. To get you interested in their school. With this experience, it made me realize how close I actually am to making a decision that will one day change my life.

Through the FFA, I have learned many things. I have learned about leadership, commitment, and responsibility. The National Convention was a step in my FFA career igniting me to get more involved and be more active in the community. It has given me the opportunity to make new friends, learn the true meaning of leadership, and that life is always moving forward and I need to be ready to make smart decisions.

Kati Viets
The Sweet Springs FFA has around ninety members throughout the high school. I was lucky enough to be the first exhibitor in the Sweet Springs FFA to win the Central District Goat show. I am currently the Junior Advisor of the FFA chapter. Over the years, the FFA has presented me with numerous opportunities. However, showing goats is probably the most unique opportunity it has thrown at me. I started showing goats all because my younger sister, Hannah, got interested in them. If anyone knows my family or me, they would know that we only show pigs. This new interest in goats was something new and a type of animal we never would have expected to show. So thanks to the FFA and my sister, I have had numerous opportunities to grow as a person, and gain valuable skills for my future.

David Vogelsmeier
Have you ever heard of FFA? Well, now you will. My name is David Vogelsmeier and I live in Sweet Springs and the school I go to has a club called FFA which stands for future farmers of America.

FFA only has one fundraiser a year which gains most of the money for the year. If an FFA member sells the amount the group decides on, you get to go on a trip and also get to miss school as it is counted as excused so you won't get in trouble. There is also the ski trip that you pay to go on, a ski trip to Snow Creek for the day.

There are also tons of other activities you can participate in while in the club. These are just a few I have listed. I hope you decide to join FFA.

Maddie Vogelsmeier
The FFA has ignited me in many ways through helping, serving, participating, and more. I have fun with it all especially making new friends and being as helpful as possible. It keeps me motivated in every way and busy. I love participating in many of the activities.

In the beginning, I wasn't sure how I would feel about it because I was really shy and wasn't sure what to do. What really ignited me was when we started the FFA creed contest and we had to recite it in class. I really enjoyed when we had to all participate in the FFA float for Homecoming as well. The SAE and record books are still very overwhelming and confusing. I really had a lot of fun with selling fruit and getting out and around to people. My favorite part so far is probably going to Shatto Dairy, or earning points for activities I helped out with. It shows me how much I stay busy and shows how much I help out.

My overall experience is changing everything. It has helped me become a better person and to realize there is much more to life than everything that revolves around you. It shows how much agriculture is used in daily life. FFA helps me with being organized, responsible, respectful, test-taking skills, studying skills, and many more. I wasn't sure what to do for my SAE at first, and then I realized I could do more than one thing.

In conclusion to all of this I think FFA has changed me into a better person and still is changing me. FFA has brought so much more that helps not only in Ag and FFA, but in just a regular daily life. It teaches me how to not be so shy and to make friends, to being confident in everything I do. I stay motivated with FFA to keep striving for more and to become a better person.

Nathan Vogelsmeier
There are some great advantages that the FFA has given me but there are only a few things that really get me going. Some of those things are helping other people and the others are just plain fun.

One of the best experiences that I have ever had in FFA was when I helped the elderly by going around town and removing snow off their driveways and their sidewalks. You can really feel your heart warming and a smile growing on your face as you are removing the snow scoop by scoop. It's not fun of course but the smile on their faces after you are done is just priceless.

Another thing that really got me going was when I got on the Horses contest team and we got to go and judge a bunch of horses. I didn't do very well but it was an awesome experience to go out on a ranch and see these wonderful looking beasts. I think that was my problem with judging because they all were so interesting to me.

My third favorite thing that I have done in FFA would have to be, being a part of the Dairy Cattle team. It was an awesome experience because I learned so much about them. It was also pretty cool because I have never got the chance to hang around dairy cattle before.

Overall, the FFA has been an excellent experience for me and has taught me several things that will come in handy later in life.

Zach Weber
FFA members have the opportunity to participate in contest teams. They range from speaking contests to horse-judging contests. I have been lucky to be on several of these teams, but my favorite would have to be Parliamentary Procedure.

Parliamentary Procedure is a strict but efficient way to run meetings, and the contest team includes six members, five debaters and one chairman. The goal is to debate one fake motion as a group and decide by the end whether or not to pass it or fail it. Also, while debating, there are several other motions that are assigned to each of us that we have to make. After our debate was over, we would then be questioned by the judges on our assigned motion and over the rules of Parliamentary Procedure.

The Parli team I was on included me, Heath Snider, Colten Bynum, Austin Boland, Jacob Schowengerdt, and Lizzie Gieseke. We were a dedicated team. In November, we would show up at school every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. in order to practice. Then by February we were coming in at the same time every morning. We would go over motions and review whether they were debatable, amendable, or could be seconded. Then we would practice our demonstration over and over again.

Our first contest was at area and we got first so we moved on to districts. Here we slid by with a third place win and advanced to state. We knew we had to do better to place at state so we kept going in at the same time every day until the competition. When state came around we did outstanding on the test portion of the contest and even better on the debate. We made it to the semi-finalist round. We were now one of the six best teams in the state and had to give one last demonstration. We wouldn't know the results until we were on stage at state, but in the end we got fourth.

This contest team has helped me in numerous ways. It has helped me to be more confident when I speak. It has taught amazing study habits and also how to speak more impromptu. Parliamentary Procedure is my favorite contest team and I had a lot of fun being a part of it.

Chris White
The FFA has many opportunities to help many people ignite your future. It has helped me start to ignite my future in many ways. I have done many things that will benefit me in the future. One of these things is the FFA knowledge team.

In the beginning of the year, I didn't know what contest team I wanted to be in, but I was sure I wanted to participate in one. Once I decided to be in the FFA Knowledge team, I had to study and make sure I would qualify to be on the team. It turned out only four people wanted to do it so I got in. This is what separated the people who wanted to do it and the people who were just there because other people were doing it.

The next step in the process was the qualifying contests. These were just as important as any other part because it is what allowed us to proceed to districts and state. I personally spent a lot of my time studying and reading the FFA manual. When we got there, we took the test and didn't do very good, but we pressed on because we qualified.

State was the most stressful of all of them while also being the most fun as well. I spent most of that day studying. When we took the test we were in a huge room full of people, some we had seen before. I got my test and started taking it. After the test, I was nervous about it, but I was confident that I did my best.

After all of it, I was relieved and also sad to see it finished, after almost finishing the top percentage and going all the way to state, I thought a break was well worth it. I was very proud of myself and I know if I could have gone back in time to do anything different, I wouldn't make that decision.

FFA has given me many opportunities and has pushed me far. I'm glad I joined FFA and would advise anyone looki