FFA Building Brighter Futures
Most people have heard of the National FFA Organization, formerly known simply as FFA, or Future Farmers of America. If you are like me, you might’ve thought the organization was only for students who aspired to be production farmers. However, as I have found out, that is not the case.
According to the National FFA Organization’s website, they are “Committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too.”
One of those students is Keylee Odden, a 19-year-old from Rugby. She graduated from high school in 2014 and is attending North Dakota State University, pursuing a degree in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Public Relations and Advertising. While she was in high school she was involved in many extracurricular activities, such as Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Student Council, cheerleading, track and volleyball, but the one organization that meant the most to her was FFA.
While she was in FFA, Odden participated in many competitions like the Greenhand quiz, agricultural communications, nursery landscape and parliamentary procedure. During her senior year of high school, she was elected president of the Rugby FFA chapter. While president of the local chapter, her parliamentary procedure team participated in the district competition, where they won and advanced to the state level competition. Her team won the state level competition and was chosen to represent North Dakota in the national FFA parliamentary procedure competition, where they ultimately were awarded a silver recognition.
Last year, Odden was chosen to represent North Dakota FFA as a state officer. As a state officer, Odden and the rest of the team that was elected by FFA members got to travel around the country, promoting agriculture and their state chapter. Not only did they travel to every chapter in North Dakota, they also went to places such as Wyoming, Minnesota and Kentucky, advocating agriculture and being the student voices within the organization. This past June, her team was in charge of the state convention, which is the largest convention in North Dakota every year. They were in charge of leading sessions, focused on recognizing students and their accomplishments in their contests. They also each gave a retiring speech, something to leave their mark on the FFA members before they turned over their positions to the next team.
“It was a great experience and I feel so lucky that I got an extra year to call myself an FFA member,” Odden said
Odden described FFA as “An organization that develops leaders. It helps students develop the skills they need in many different areas, and helps them grow in a team setting and as an individual. It is an organization that teaches you the importance of agriculture and why it is important in today’s society. FFA taught me what I want to do in life and it gave me an amazing group of people to work with that I now consider a second family. It really changed me as a person. I know it would not have been possible without the amazing Rugby FFA Chapter, and leadership and guidance of my advisor, Mr. [Rick] Vannett.”
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