Freshmen from Westwood High participate in the Greenhand Leadership Conference Wednesday, Oct. 2. They are Joseph Gremier, left, Doryin Gale, Kasen Gunn, Abraham Acosta (behind Kasen), Jeris Stevens, Jerome Ensign, Marilyn Morentin, Emma Ortlieb, and Cody Crisp. Photo submitted

Freshmen attend FFA Greenhand Leadership Conference

Freshmen at Westwood High participated in the FFA Greenhand Leadership Conference Wednesday, Oct. 2, which was held at Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, California. The conference is designed to teach freshmen, or first-year FFA students, about FFA and Ag education. Over 10 Northern California schools participated.

At the beginning of the conference, coordinators divided students into five groups which were the Avengers, Justice League, Wizards, Incredibles and Jedi’s. The theme for the conference was “Welcome to Hollywood.”

Groups participated in seven sessions to learn the FFA way. During the first session the FFA three-ring model was explained and consists of classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences and FFA, which make up Ag education. Academics is the focus of the classroom and helps students gain agricultural knowledge while an SAE is an exploration project outside the classroom. Participation in FFA results in personal growth enhancing leadership and people skills.

In the second session the students learned the three R’s which are Rigor, Relevancy and Relationships. Rigor is required for learning and engaging in agricultural education, yet the effort is worthwhile because FFA experiences are relevant. Meeting and engaging with new people during FFA activities creates lasting relationships.

The third session covered the benefits of Ag education, which are competition, leadership, money, personal growth, experience and travel.

The opportunities FFA members have was covered in the fourth session. These include career development events, hands-on instruction conferences, supervised agricultural experiences and conventions.

During the fifth session students participated in a team building activity, which required writing down the texture, smell and feel of certain objects such as rice, coffee beans and oats. Also teams learned how to properly germinate seeds and tie a square knot.

The sixth session covered conferences. While freshmen attend the Greenhand Leadership Conference, grade-level conferences continue throughout high school. Sophomores attend the Made for Excellence convention, Juniors are offered the Advanced Leadership Academy and Seniors have the opportunity to participate in the Sacramento Leadership Experience and Washington Leadership Conference. Annually all FFA members can attend the four day state convention currently held in Anaheim, California.

In the seventh session teams created “Smart Goals” that were specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

The Greenhand Leadership Conference was amazing giving all freshmen the opportunity to make new friends and learn more about agriculture and FFA.