2012 Wyoming State FFA Convention
Approximately 1,000 blue corduroy clad Future Farmers of America (FFA) members gathered in Cheyenne April 2-5 for the 2012 Wyoming State FFA Convention. Exceptional speakers and supporters, healthy competition and quality entering and exiting state officer teams combined to make it a memorable and exciting week for everyone in attendance.
“Our 2011 state officer team selected the theme of, “Cultivating Character,” for the year and the convention, and I don’t know where else in America there is a group of 19 year old’s that would choose a theme like that and call upon their peers to think about character and the everyday choices they make. They did a phenomenal job of carrying out the theme, and I feel it spoke very highly of their leadership abilities as a whole,” noted Wyoming FFA Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Womack of the year and convention as a whole.
Wyoming state FFA Advisor Ron Pulse, agreed with Womack, adding that the 1,000 in attendance was an increase from last year. Multiple new chapters, and an overall increase in active FFA members across Wyoming, combined to fill the Cheyenne Convention center for the week.
Equally impressive at this year’s convention was the number of scholarships awarded to students from across the state.
“We handed out $25,000 in college scholarships to Wyoming FFA members, ranging from general scholarships to degree specific scholarships, and I think as a foundation that is one of the most rewarding experiences throughout the year. Handing those kids their scholarship details and shaking their hands while congratulating them is wonderful. The students are extremely appreciative of the scholarships they receive, and we all truly look forward to that night of convention,” said Womack.
She continued, noting this was the first year the FFA Foundation also hosted a sponsor’s reception, where sponsors joined the Foundation for a light meal and attended an evening session of the convention.
“The folks who were able to attend were very impressed with the quality of the students in the FFA program, the session speakers and the convention as a whole,” noted Womack of the positive response.
Session speakers included the Chief Financial Officer of Cabelas, who is a former FFA member. He spoke about what FFA did for him and how it helped him in his job, and Pulse listed him as a great speaker and crowd favorite.
Newly elected Wyoming FFA State President Bryce McKenzie, named current National FFA Organization president, Ryan Best, as his favorite speaker of the convention.
“The most memorable moment of convention for me this year was when I heard Ryan Best’s speech. He just got on stage and spoke to us in a conversational tone. He was just himself, and it was so memorable seeing that he could change so many lives just by being himself. While listening to him speak, I realized that all people have that same potential through just being themselves,” stated McKenzie.
McKenzie spent a good portion of the week in the, “Hot Box,” where state officer candidates wait during their various interviews. During that time he and the other candidates got well acquainted.
“We got to visit with each other and learn a little about each other while waiting to be interviewed, and it was impressive to see the depth of people competing for a state office. This year there were about 26 of us running, and I feel every one of us deserved to be a state officer, which was great. It could have gone any way, and the result would have been a great state officer team,” he explained.
“The new officer team is always of an unknown quality right out of the gate. We’re excited, and so are the kids, at this point. I believe this is another team that will be a good one. The nominating committee picks the best of the best, then it becomes our job to see what we can make them into,” noted Pulse of the upcoming year with the newly elected officers.
“Wyoming FFA is all about getting out there and proving our leadership potential, as well as our character. It has been great seeing how much the people before us grew and gained while serving our states people and communities, and our entire 2012 officer team is really looking forward to our turn,” added McKenzie.
Womack commented that among the retiring state officer team are individuals with goals of becoming medical doctors, attorneys and legislatures, in addition to various agriculture affiliated pursuits. “We are not only sending educated and well prepared youth out into the agriculture workforce; we’re also sending kids with an appreciation and understanding for agriculture into the workforce in general. I think at this time in our agriculture industry, that is something we can all appreciate,” she stated of the future of those ending their year in office, and of FFA members in general.
“Our annual convention is where we get to see all the hard work put forth the entire year by members, teachers, officers and our foundation. There are so many people that help us behind the scenes and make sure it works. It takes every available hand we can get, and the support of Laramie County Community College is irreplaceable. We had an amazing year, and that was reflected in our convention. It all went off without a hitch, and was a great week. We’re looking forward to seeing how our state does at the national convention, and to the upcoming year with our new state officers,” concluded Pulse.
For a complete list of award winners and state officers, please visit the Wyoming FFA Web site at http://www.wyomingffa.org.