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Chapters gather for a leadership convention, and we will soon celebrate National FFA Week

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN MCNARY - On Monday, Feb. 10, chapters gathered for our Central Oregon District FFA Leadership Convention in Redmond.

The shortest month of the year tends to be one of the busiest for our FFA chapter and its members. There is so much going on, it is difficult to keep track of everything and be prepared. Our members do a pretty good job of keeping up and making sure that all of our events are prepared for. Preparation begins long in advance for what happens in February. Here is a rundown of what we've been up to and where we are going!

During the beginning of January, several of our members began preparing applications for Proficiency Awards for their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects. These awards recognize students for their level of involvement in their projects, whether they be animal projects, crop production projects or work experience projects. Students begin the process by making sure that they have updated records for the just-ended calendar year. This includes a record of time, income earned, expenses paid out, as well as their participation in FFA, school and community activities. Once records are updated, an application is generated through our record book system. While much of the information transfers directly from the record book, members also have to write a number of performance reviews, answering questions about their project so the evaluator will know more than just the numbers. In addition, they must summarize their skills and competencies learned through engaging in their projects. In short, the applications are fairly extensive. On Jan. 15, four of our members submitted their applications to be evaluated at our district level. Our FFA district advisers evaluate applications using a rubric developed by the National FFA to determine which candidates should receive an interview to determine who will represent our district at the state level.

On Monday, Feb. 10, chapters gathered for our Central Oregon District FFA Leadership Convention in Redmond. All four of our members scored well enough on their applications to earn interviews. The interview committee asks questions to clarify each applicant's project and learn more about their project areas. They also determine if applicants will receive a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. Those members that earn Gold are considered for participation at our State FFA Convention in March. On Monday, all four of our CCFFA members earned gold awards, and three were selected to represent our district at state. Those members were:

Gold Sheep Proficiency - Mason Calhoun (going to state)

Gold Small Animal Proficiency - Bailey Everest (going to state)

Gold Beef Proficiency - Abby McNary (going to state)

Gold Swine Proficiency - Cade Catterson

In addition to our proficiency award winners, other members enjoyed success at our event held Monday. Lauren Papke has been preparing since the beginning of December for the Extemporaneous Speaking Leadership Development Event. To prepare for this, she had to learn 30 different topics related to agriculture and natural resources. These topics are currently affecting agriculture and important to the future of our industry. On the day of the event, participants randomly draw two topics and then select one of those to prepare a speech on. They have 30 minutes to prepare their speech and then must present it and answer judges' questions about the topic that they selected. Lauren did well in her first time competing in this event, placing third at the district event.

Bailey Everest and Mason Calhoun prepared a Beginning Portfolio for evaluation at the District Convention. A portfolio for us is a slideshow telling a member's FFA journey to this point in their high school career. A beginner will show how they have developed as a member through their freshman and first half of their sophomore year as a member. Both Bailey and Mason did well in this event, placing first and second, respectively. Bailey will be representing our district at the state event in March.

Our chapter also submitted for evaluation our Chapter Books, which includes a secretary's and treasurer's book, as well as a technology scrapbook. The secretary's book includes a record of all meetings and correspondence, chapter membership information, constitutions, bylaws and our program of activities. The Treasurer's Book holds all important financial information for the chapter, including receipts and disbursements, budgets, etc. The technology scrapbook is a slideshow that tells our story of participation in local, district, state and national events. Our secretary's book placed third at the event. Our treasurer's book and technology scrapbook both placed second and have advanced to the state level for consideration of state awards. Our complete book entry earned our chapter a third-place banner!

Feb. 23 begins National FFA Week across the country. Our chapter will be doing some small things throughout the week at the school to keep members of our school community informed. We will be ending the week with a bang, though, by hosting a Donkey Basketball Tournament at the high school gym on Feb. 29! This year, we are teaming up with the Class of 2020 Senior All Night Party Parent Committee to PACK THE GYM for this fundraiser. We will be starting the evening with a taco feed in the high school commons at 5:30 p.m. Tacos can be purchased at the door. At 7 p.m., we will begin our tournament with teams from Les Schwab, Rosendin Electric, Fortis Construction, a joint team from the Crook County Sheriff's Department and Prineville Police Department, and a CCHS Alumni Team. Teams will play in a bracket-style tournament for bragging rights and a fantastic trophy! Tickets are available for this event in advance by contacting Mr. McNary at 541-416-6903. You may also purchase tickets at Ray's Food Place. Advance tickets are sold for $10/Adult, $8 for students K-12. Tickets at the door will increase to $12 and $10, respectively. It is going to be a great night of fundraising for both our chapter and the All Night Party. We really want to PACK THE GYM, so bring your family and watch one of the most entertaining events to happen in Prineville this winter!

We held our February meeting on Feb. 3 to cover all upcoming business. During that meeting, we recognized our Member of the Month for January. Our most current Member of the Month was Carson Ostrander. Carson is an outstanding member, always being involved in what we do. He has participated this year in many of our activities, including contests, community service and fundraising activities. Carson is always willing to help when needed and helps us to be better as a chapter. We are happy to have him as part of our chapter!

As we move through this month, we will be working closer to State Convention in March. This will be a time to celebrate the successes of all members in the state, including those from Crook County FFA. If you would like to come and see what an amazing organization the FFA is, I would encourage you to contact Mr. McNary to arrange for a very inexpensive day pass to the convention held in Redmond. It would be well worth your time to see the amazing youth from all across the state gather for our convention and tell their FFA story!

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