Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cashmere FFA celebrates National FFA Week

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CASHMERE - Each year, FFA chapters nationwide celebrate National FFA Week, a time to highlight what FFA is and its everyday impact on members.

It is also an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture.

This year, National FFA Week is Feb. 17-24.

The tradition dates back to 1948 and is always celebrated during the week of George Washington's birthday to honor his contributions to agriculture. 

FFA helps members grow their confidence and leadership skills and explore future careers in many different pathways related to agriculture through hands-on experiences.

The organization's motto is Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve.

Washington state has about 14,500 FFA members. With more than 900,000 members nationwide, FFA is the largest student-led organization in the U.S. 

Cashmere FFA is a robust chapter with more than 80 members. Advisors for the group are Rusty Finch and Jed Odenrider. Officers are Ivette Alvarado, President; Dru Heyen, Vice President; Sophia Batanoiu, Secretary; Sophie Hill, Treasurer; Alia Kenoyer, Reporter; and Seth Martin, Sentinel.

FFA helps students with the application of what they've learned through hands-on learning and experiences, Finch said.

"I think education is, if they can apply it, I think it's more valuable," he said. "I think there's more retention. There's more buy in, if they can apply what they've learned whether it's a skill or some knowledge."

"The other thing I think they learn is some grit and how to work hard," he said. "You know, and from the neck up. I mean, I love sports, but you know, a lot of times students aren't talented that way. So it allows those kids to be gritty with their brain, you know, I mean, these are high level academic competitions that they're participating in. And not every kid is going to be a gifted athlete, but they can certainly be a scholar in a way that allows them to compete academically." 

Members also learn to work well as a team and grow their communication skills, Finch said.

"I think the kids have to work as a team a lot," he said. "It teaches, well I'm big on team chemistry and to work with others and that all ties with communication." 

"I mean, my kids, I hope they leave my program all pretty effective communicators," he said. "A lot of the competitions have a speaking component. So hopefully they can have some discourse and dialogue with future employers or their peers, you know, educated dialogue, be able to look them in the eye and answer questions and communicate well, communicate effectively."

To celebrate National FFA Week Cashmere FFA celebrated with a pizza party, trivia and a school wide scavenger hunt, Cashmere FFA advisor Rusty Finch said.

Highlights 

Highlights for the group this year include four champion animals at the fair, great success at the National Convention and high scores at the state Apple Judging Competition.

At the National Convention in Indianapolis Cashmere FFA were the national champions out of 44 states with their Environmental Natural Resources team. In the Meats Evaluation, they won 2nd place out of 43 states. In the Milk Quality and Products Evaluation, Cashmere placed 3rd out of 37 states. And they brought home over $6,000 in scholarships.

Cashmere FFA Teams finished 2nd and 3rd in the State FFA Apple Judging Contest in December and four individuals placed in the top ten.

Upcoming

Cashmere FFA has a supportive boosters club that puts on a prime rib dinner in the fall, which is a big fundraiser for the group.

Their other big fundraiser is the spring plant sale slated for the end of April and the beginning of May. Finch said the plant sale helps the group fund a lot of their activities.

The plants will be on sale online starting on Sunday, April 28 at 6 p.m. And those who want to shop in person may do so on May 4 at 9 a.m. Finch said he retains 25% of the plants for the in-person sale. 

Most of the plants at the annual sale are bedding plants, including petunia baskets and geraniums.

In the spring, Cashmere FFA will acquire their fair projects, about 40 market hogs and 20 market lambs.

Caring for the animals and preparing them for the Chelan County Fair will be a lot of work for students.

"But you know what, that's where the kids really learn by owning something and, like I said, doing stuff and applying what they've learned," Finch said. "I mean, it's that they can get their hands on it and demonstrate it, then I think they're learning better."



Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media.

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