Thursday, January 19, 2012

There's More Than Food at the FFA Cafe

This past weekend, the Indiana FFA State Officers had a blast at LDW (Leadership Development Workshop).  We had been working hard to put together the best conference we can for our members.  After seeing the outcome of it, we all agree that it was well worth the effort!
LDW is a statewide leadership conference designed primarily for chapter officers.  The focus on the conference is to help chapter officer teams gain skills that will help them throughout their year and help them create a vision of the direction they want to take their chapters.  Our theme for this conference was "Cafe FFA: Now Serving". I, personally, was STOKED about having a restaurant theme.  It was different and there was a lot we could do with it.  We had about 88 members in attendance that weekend.  Those numbers were a bit low, but our team LOVES having smaller conferences because we get to actually talk to and get to know all of the members there.
Throughout the weekend, the state officer team presented sessions covering: Ag. Ed. Advocacy, Chapter Planning, POA Evaluation, Officer Roles, and Recruitment & Retention.  Two individuals from last year's state officer team, Janna Oxford and Megan Klotz, came back to present a session covering professionalism. I hope the members in attendance were able to walk away from this conference with a ton of ideas for their chapter.
At every conference, we have what we call "reflections."  Reflections are a time where the state officers speak individually about a particular time in their lives or something that's just really on their hearts.  This is always the coolest part of conferences (and the part of conferences that I worry the most about).  I love sitting in the front of the room with my teammates watching all of the FFA members listen to their stories.  Every time I watch them, I think about the crazy things that might be going on in their lives.  I think about how everybody has feelings and how everybody needs somebody to talk to.  I think about how we all are connected and feel like a family through FFA.  For whatever reason, I find it extremely inspiring to watch members react to our stories.  It makes me realize how much I appreciate them.
At the conclusion of LDW, we were all sad to see members head off in all different directions back to their hometowns.  It's so great having them at the center, and, every time they leave, I feel a little bit sad inside.  I think it's safe to say that all of state officers are certainly looking forward to the next LDW on February 17th-19th!

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