FFA members kick start their FFA journey

Over 150 Minnesota FFA members gathered for the State Greenhand Leadership Conference (SGLC) at Deep Portage Conservation Reserve near Hackensack from June 12-16 to develop leadership skills for their communities and home chapters. Members from the Deer River FFA chapter included Colby Gunderson, Charles Hart, Marshall Michienzi, Trevor Michienzi, and Thor Kongsjord.

The goal of State Greenhand Leadership Conference is to give personal mentoring to first-year high school FFA members. These members come from all corners of the state, represent unique sectors of agriculture and have been recognized as top leaders in their schools. During the conference, students cover an array of topics during sessions that focus mostly on personal development. Goal setting, professional leadership and career exploration are just a few of the topics discovered during this five-day leadership camp.

“The State Greenhand Leadership Conference is a great opportunity for students to not only grow themselves as leaders, but also to make connections with others around the state and develop their own network,” Minnesota FFA President Katie Benson said. “Throughout the time at the conference, it was amazing to see how much students were willing to challenge themselves in sessions and activities in order to grow as people and as leaders.”

FFA members had the opportunity to connect with different individuals outside of sessions during fun activities such as volleyball, canoeing and hiking. Each night, the state officers shared personal reflections with the campers, and the final day wrapped up camp with a banquet, talent show and dance. State Greenhand Leadership Conference serves the Minnesota FFA Association by building talented and young individuals. These members often go on to become chapter, region and state leaders within their FFA chapters and communities.

Charles Hart joined FFA this past year, and said he has learned a lot from his involvement. “When I was at SGLC I learned about integrity. Actions of integrity are being loyal, being helpful, honest, and doing your best to express the best character that you are in your words and actions. Secondly I learned about how to give my time out of will and about who I am as a person and what I want to succeed in.” Hart grew up without a direct connection to agriculture, but took the initiative to create his own start and constructed his own chicken coop and laying facility. He purchased his first group of laying hens and looks forward to learning more through this enterprise. “I learned to push myself to GROW and to exceed the limits … reach my goals that I would of never tried to accomplish.”

Colby Gunderson, a newly elected Deer River FFA Officer agreed with Hart adding that he learned more about himself. “I learned how to confidently talk to new people and present myself.” Gunderson, has launched his FFA experiences exploring plant science, gardening and alternative energy. This past year he served as the President of the 4th place State Conduct of Chapter Meetings team composed of all 9th grade students. “I will always remember how to hold a meaningful conversation and how to effectively communicate [with others].”

Pictured left to right are Katie Benson, Minnesota State FFA President; Marshall Michienzi; Thor Kongsjord; Colby Gunderson; Charles Hart; Trevor Michienzi, and Molly Lindgren, Region II FFA President. Submitted Photo

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