There is no way around it — 2020 will be a year that goes down in history as a life-changing year — everything from changing the way we shop, see family members, and go to school. However, life goes on and we have had to adapt to these changes. One organization that has adapted well to these new changes is the National FFA Organization. Not only did they shift the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo online, but they are still able to serve their members and communities during these unprecedented times.
While this has been a different year of service for the National FFA Officers, it has also provided new opportunities. For example, more students have been reached through zoom meetings instead of having to travel to each and every classroom. However, there are still challenges to be faced during this time. It takes courage to want to start a new path forward and stray from what is “normal.”
» Related Reading: So much going on with FFA!
Now that the new National FFA Officers have been in their roles for a few months, they have had the opportunity to settle in and start their own path. They talked about why they still ran for office during this pandemic and how they handled this situation.
Miriam Hoffman, the National FFA Eastern Region Vice President, said her need to serve was greater than the fear of the unknown.
“For me, it was really about living out my purpose. I believe my purpose is to love people well,” she said. “When I look at where the world is at right now, it’s going to be a lot of these virtual opportunities regardless of which path I took to serve people. So when I saw an opportunity to serve people in the FFA — even though it looks different than past FFA experiences — if the way that I am going to serve people is through virtual opportunities and virtual workshops, then why not still do that through the blue jacket.”
David Lopez, the National FFA Western Region Vice President, reflects on how many more students the National FFA Organization can be reached online.
“For me, it was really the sense of this is work that is worth doing, regardless of what that work looks like,” he said. “I have really been taking a moment to realize how many more people have access to some of the stuff we are doing on the National FFA Organization platform. How many more students we can reach because of the financial cost of going to conferences isn’t in the picture. Now we are able to connect virtually and really engage with students.”
Artha Jonassaint, the National FFA Southern Region Vice President, talked about still being able to make an impact, no matter the circumstances.
“When we think about our mission and our vision, that transcends the current conditions that we are experiencing as a nation. It is exciting that we can still do this work and do it well in this format,” she said. “Being able to touch the hearts, touch the lives of so many different communities is something that we can do and are so excited to do.”
Anna Mathis, the National FFA Secretary, touched on bringing positivity to any situation.
“Just being able to afford an attitude of gratitude in this time. I think leadership really boils down to influence. So our members are looking to us not only for service and not only for guidance, but also a reflection of positivity. If we can bring that this year, that is what I am looking forward to doing,” she said.
Finally, Mathis gave advice to FFA members who were interested in running for a position. “For members running for a position, the first step is some reflection. Reflection on why we run, what skills we bring to the table, who we are, and areas of growth in our life. Then, start preparing. Prepare practice questions, practice interviews, and read books and content. Also, reach out to mentors close to your for advice and preparation, as well. Finally, believe in yourself! You have so much to contribute, and no matter the outcome, we all have an incredible purpose in this world. Positions have little to do with that purpose and positive impact we can make! I’m always here for advice and support should members need it. Good luck!”
So as you start to fill out your application, call your reference, and debate whether it is worth it or not, just think of all the good you could do. The world needs the next generation of leadership and you are it — we need your skills, your bravery, and your expertise of dealing with a pandemic for the future of agriculture.