California FFA flooded the halls of First Baptist Church on March 22 alongside 23 different FFA chapters.
Members gathered at the church to participate in the organization's Area 8 Leadership and Development event. According to FFA.org, "FFA members in grades 7 to 12 are challenged to develop critical thinking skills and effective decision-making skills, foster teamwork and promote communication while recognizing the value of ethical competition and individual achievement."
California FFA advisor Gary Reichel explained the event involves various events in which students' skills are put to task. He said leadership development for students includes participating in speaking events; parliamentary procedure, in which students run and operate meetings; agricultural issues, in which students develop a pro and con side to an issue affecting their community, state and nation; creed speaking, an event testing one's familiarity with the FFA creed; and a knowledge competition, a multiple choice test.
Students who excel in these categories move on to the FFA's District Leadership competition on Thursday in Warrensburg. California FFA competed against 23 different teams from throughout the area, with each event hosting between 12 to 14 speakers, Reichel explained. However, despite the large competition, the advisor said California's members performed exceptionally well during the event.
"Our local chapter, we had a very successful day. Our FFA knowledge team was first. Then our parliamentary procedure and conduct chapter teams both qualified on to districts, they were second and third."
He went on to explain California FFA's agricultural issues team placed second; two of its division two speakers placed first and second; its division one speaker placed forth and qualified for districts; its FFA creed speaker placed third and qualified for districts; and its advanced speaker placed third.
Reichel said the event also hosted record book competitions in which students make a report about their Supervised Agricultural Experience, assignments dedicated to cultivating agricultural skills outside of the classroom. Two California FFA members each placed first in the competition.
He also said the event hosted a secretary's book competition and a treasurer's book competition. Two California FFA members each placed in the top two spots in the categories.
California FFA recieved the highest score among other chapters during the event's 2023 Area 8 FFA Knowledge Contest. Members Addison Carr, Adalynn Robb, Lily Ahrert and Claire Peterson gained a collective score of 213, placing them above 59 competing students.
"Out of all the students that we took, we only had two that did not qualify for districts. They just didn't make the top three to advance on," Reichel said. "we're going into next Thursday districts, we've got a lot of kids and so they'll be participating in the LDE (Leadership Development Event) side of districts."