The Sumner-Fredericksburg FFA chapter will celebrate National FFA Week Feb. 20-27.
Some 760,000 FFA members passionate about the history and future of agriculture will participate in activities this week at local, state and national levels.
Our 60-member chapter is proud to review our activities and accomplishments from the last year.
Molly Niewoehner, the secretary; Katie Reno, the reporter; and Eliza Dane, the treasurer, turned in their books to be judged at district convention on March 13. Each officer had spent several hours working on their books.
At the districts, Niewoehner’s secretary book and Dane’s treasurer book received a gold and advanced to the State Contest to be judged later in the year. Katie Reno, and her reporter’s scrapbook received a gold.
At state, Niewoehner’s book received first place gold and Dane received silver.
On Oct. 17, 2020, seven members from the Sumner-Fredericksburg FFA chapter came up with a way to thank farmers for feeding all of America.
Their plan was to make a delicious meal for the local farmers in Fredericksburg and Sumner. The best part was that the meals were free to the farmers!
Over a hundred meals were made by the members in a matter of a couple hours. The meals consisted of; burgers, chips, baked beans, a cookie, and a choice of drink. The burgers were cooked at Here’s To You in Fredericksburg and the rest of the meal was packed in the Fredericksburg Food Center. After packing them, the members split up into groups and delivered meals to the Co-op in Fredericksburg and Viafield in Sumner.
Kevin Bergman, a local farmer, was very appreciative of the free meals.
“It was awesome,” Bergman said. “For the students to take time out of their weekend to provide us meals was a great idea, sacrifice, commitment and dedication.”
Bergman and many farmers brought home meals to their families.
“I know it brought a smile to Dylan and Ty when I delivered their meals and they were very thankful,” he said.
Member Gracie Jones joined her chapter mates in assembling the idea and meals and said she was happy to have been a part of the service project.
“Personally, it made me feel like a good person because I was helping others and giving back to them for all they do for us,” Jones said.
Jones, along with the other members had the same reasons why they decided to agree to make the free meals.
“They put in long, hard days and with harvest this year plus the pandemic, it has been tough this year, so we can do something little that will make their day better,” she said.
The members enjoyed seeing the big smiles on their faces when they were handed warm comfort food.
Karen VanDeWalle, the chapter advisor, was proud of her FFA kids for stepping up and taking on this project.
“I threw out an idea and they took it and ran with it. Kids set up the menus, made flyers, and the contacted co-ops,” stated VanDeWalle.
To VanDeWalle, the event was more than what she had hoped for.
“It was absolutely awesome to see the kids work so hard to be able to serve others,” she said. “I think that it was a true dedication and service to the farmers and the agriculturists in our area.”
S-F takes part in National Convention
The S-F FFA chapter spent three days in the classroom and outside of school participating in the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 27-29, which was completely virtual this year.
A typical trip to the National FFA Convention would consist of five to eight members.
Attending virtually this year, members were able to use their time in agriculture classes to watch the convention live from their laptops. Online workshops and virtual reality rooms were available for students to learn about many agricultural opportunities.
Many students enjoyed the live Zoom chats provided by the National FFA Convention with other students and members nationwide.
Mariela Mejia-Coronel, a junior FFA member, elaborated on the Zoom calls.
She stated, “I liked going on the Zoom calls and meeting new people. We got to talk to them about what they do for FFA, how long they have been involved, and what they have accomplished.”
Other students played games with the other members on the Zoom such as “two truths and a lie.”
Opportunities for talking to colleges and college professors was also an option members enjoyed.
Emma Koester, a sophomore FFA member, explained the purpose of members being able to explore these agricultural colleges.
“There were many different colleges and all of them had something to set them aside from all the other colleges,” Koester said. “Whether it was the location or the majors, they all had information to read about to help you see if you were interested in that college.”
Other colleges included live chats where members were able to ask questions and have good conversations with someone who works at that specific college.
Even though many activities were missing from the usual National Convention, plenty of educational opportunities and activities were available.
S-F FFA attends Greenhand Fire Up
On Nov. 26, 2020, freshman Anna Egan, Lane Converse, and Claire Rucker attended the Greenhand Fire Up at Edgewood-Colesburg High School.
There they were grouped together to learn the basics of FFA, and gain leadership qualities. On another year, the students would have been grouped with FFA members from other schools. Even though that was missed, the SF freshmen still made the most out of their time.
Egan stated her favorite part about the day.
“We broke off into groups and there was an activity about communication where we made snowballs out of paper balls and had a snowball fight,” she said.
Converse had mentioned that he enjoyed being with people he knew and had a fun time all around. He recommends the Greenhand Fire Up to future greenhands that are contemplating going.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, multiple members took time out of their day to help greet people, hand out candy canes, pamphlets, hot chocolate and s’mores.
This was a way to show how the chapter is involved with the community.
Katie Reno, the Vice-President of the chapter would recommend going out to the park next winter time to anyone who is in FFA next year, saying it is a good community service project and a great way to make memories.
The students who attended, despite the cold, made the most out of their night.
Brennan Duffy, a junior FFA member enjoyed playing games with other members while they waited for people to drive into the park.
Two from S-F receive American FFA Degree
This year, S-F FFA had two members earning their American FFA Degree last fall, Megan Niewoehner and Shane Duffy. These were presented at the 2020 National FFA Leadership Conference.
The chapter also has four members who will receive their Iowa FFA Degree, Katie Reno, Dylan Wehling, Chris Wehling and Brennan Duffy. These will be presented at the April 2021 Iowa FFA Leadership Conference.
On Jan. 23, 2021, four officers traveled to Ankeny for the Ignite Amplify Transform event at the FFA Center. Officers Molly Niewoehner, Katie Reno, Avari Schroeder, Trinity Brincks, and Kylie Meyer started their day bright and early to drive down to Ankeny.
Ignite Amplify Transform is separated into three groups.
The Ignite group is led by current and past Iowa FFA officers and has a two-year rotation of programming. The conference focuses on connecting students to opportunities through FFA and is meant for middle schoolers and freshmen.
The Amplify Conference focuses on student development and is presented by the Iowa FFA Officers and welcomes Sophomores and Juniors.
Transform takes students full circle through chapter leadership development and learns how to pay it forward to their local chapter and personal plans beyond high school as it is for high school seniors.
Katie Reno shared her experience.
“We met new people and talked a lot about our goals and … the steps to reaching our goals,” Reno said. “We also talked about our futures and where we see ourselves in years to come. Lastly we talked about ourselves to others and learned more about who we are.”
Past officers and the recent ones that had attended Ignite Amplify Transform encourage others to attend this great opportunity.
Chapter seeks donors for meal packing
On the horizon for our FFA chapter is one more large service project for this school year.
There are many ways S-F FFA members give back to the community, and one thing the chapter will do this year is a meal packing event where the meals will be donated to local food banks and food pantries.
We are looking to fundraise $12,500 to package 50,000 meals. We will deliver locally to food pantries in Northeast Iowa and the food bank.
We would like to thank all the local businesses who have donated to allow us to provide this event for our students body and FFA Chapter to serve our community in this manner.
If interested in donating to this event, please email Karen Van De Walle at the high school, email@example.com.