On October 9th and 10th, 2021, the seven SLO FFA Chapter Officers attended the annual South Coast Region Chapter Officer Leadership Conference (COLC) at San Benito High School. This year, the chapter officer team included Carys Villani (President), Michaela Warnke (Vice President), Ely Brooks (Secretary), Broderick Hill (Treasurer), Emily Pan (Reporter), Katie Montes (Sentinel), and Lauren Anderson (Historian). The officers had the opportunity to learn more about their respective positions and meet officers from other chapters in the South Coast Region. Through attending workshops, listening to inspiring speeches, and participating in recreational activities, the officers feel confident in their ability to lead the chapter this year!
The conference began with an introduction by the regional officers and a keynote presentation by Maico Ortiz, the National FFA Officer Candidate representing California! This year’s theme was “Embrace the Adventure” because after a full year of virtual activities, all officers in FFA can agree that it is time to come together, reestablish the values of FFA, and look forward to the adventures that lie before us all! Through the event, the regional officers encouraged the chapter officers to “ignite your light” and take action to plan and elevate FFA activities. Mr. Ortiz gave his speech on being prepared for all adventures and supporting each other along the way. During his time as a state officer, he recalled his vivid memory of a hike the team took where each officer took turns carrying the advisor’s backpack so the advisor, who had a back injury, could join them along the way. Your SLO FFA officers are here to support all members and prepare for the adventures that will make this year the best one yet!
The officers also had an opportunity to participate in workshops with the regional and state officers to learn more about how to make a difference. The state officers focused on the values of a good leader that make us unique which included vulnerability, listening, making time, positivity, and accountability. Through these experiences, Lauren said “I learned a lot about how our individuality makes us who we are. Each one of us has our own mix of passions that allows us to become the leaders we are.” Your SLO FFA officers will stay true to their personal values as they build the FFA community. Meanwhile, the regional officers conducted activities to encourage everyone to overcome their fears, find their passion, develop their impact on others, and take action. The big takeaway was to “ignite your light” and be the leader to make a difference.
In the evening, all officers watched lip sync performances by other chapters and mingled with others to meet new people. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the other members in a fun and collaborative setting. Both Carys and Katie agree that their “favorite part was meeting new people from different chapters and getting to hang out and do activities with them…because it made it a lot more fun and exciting to cheer on our new friends.”
During team reflections, the chapter officers discussed their takeaways from the conference and set goals for the school year. The officers look forward to putting this knowledge to action and rebuilding the FFA vibe by encouraging more member involvement. Not only did they learn more about their leadership roles, but this conference also created a stronger bond between them that they hope to spread to the greater FFA community. “I learned that despite us all being different people, we all shared a common similarity of FFA and how we enjoy and are involved in it. This conference is literally so fun and you get to have a great time if you are willing to be outgoing and meet new people.”