The Elgin FFA Chapter Officer Team recently went on their annual officer retreat to develop a chapter “brand” for the new school year. TOP ROW: (left to right) Chapter Vice President Hope Cunningham and Chapter President Brook Langford. BOTTOM ROW: (left to right) Chapter Sentinel Gavin Hollars, Chapter Treasurer Blakley Howard, Chapter Secretary Jacque Barfield and Chapter Reporter Shawn Hilliary.
The Elgin FFA Chapter Officer Team recently went on their annual officer retreat to develop a chapter “brand” for the new school year. TOP ROW: (left to right) Chapter Vice President Hope Cunningham and Chapter President Brook Langford. BOTTOM ROW: (left to right) Chapter Sentinel Gavin Hollars, Chapter Treasurer Blakley Howard, Chapter Secretary Jacque Barfield and Chapter Reporter Shawn Hilliary.

ELGIN - A program can only be as strong as the leaders behind it. The Elgin FFA Officer team recently spent three days in Fair Oaks developing skills to become better leaders as well as plan and organize the 2019- 2020 year for the Elgin FFA Chapter.

Through team bonding and goal setting activities, the officers believe they will be able to develop a “brand” for the Elgin FFA Chapter. At seven o’clock on a Monday morning, the officers loaded up in the Ag trucks and headed off to a location which was a mystery. The first segment of their retreat ended up at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

While at the department they toured the lab and learned about the many jobs that are housed in the facility. During their time at ODAFF they met with Meriruth Cohenour, Market Development Director, to learn about “Made in Oklahoma” products and see what all Oklahoma Agriculture has to offer. “I would have never guessed that Oklahoma Agriculture has so much more to offer than just cattle and wheat,” said Chapter Sentinel Gavin Hollars. He feels that his time at the department will better help him be able to advocate for not only Oklahoma agriculture but agriculture as a whole.

"TOP SECRET" LUNCH

From Oklahoma City, the officers headed to their next “top secret” stop for lunch. They had the pleasure of eating with some Oklahoma FFA celebrities at “Stillwater’s Jumpin’ Little Juke Joint”: Eskimo Joe's with State FFA Executive Secretary Mr. Trevor Lucas, State FFA Advisor Mr. Jack Statts and Southwest Area Program Specialist Mr. Kurt Murray. Hope Cunningham, Elgin FFA Chapter Vice President, said, “If ever an issue or question were to arise, it is important that we keep in contact with our state’s leaders.”

CAREER TECH

After lunch, they were able to get a “behind the scenes” tour of CareerTech from Oklahoma FFA Executive Secretary, Trevor Lucas. Officers were able to see where every sheet of paper and signage that Oklahoma FFA mails, uses at camp or hangs at convention is printed.

They also had the opportunity to see the state-of-the-art studio where the “State Stars” do their interviews.  Oklahoma Department of CareerTech State Director, Dr. Marcie Mack, gave them a personal tour of the facilities. “The FFA is a huge part of my life and I believe that going to CareerTech and speaking with the state staff will help me better my potential in the organization,” said Blakley Howard, Elgin FFA Chapter Treasurer.

GOAT HOUSE

After leaving Stillwater, officers found themselves at the “Ziegenhaus House” in Fair Oaks, just outside of Catoosa. “Ziegenhaus” means Goat House in German, and once officers got there they figured out why. The house was decorated head-to-toe with sophisticated paintings of goats going about their lives on the farm.

While at the house, officers planned the entire year for the Elgin FFA Chapter and worked on developing the leadership skills necessary to execute the exciting year. A team should always work well together. With that being said, officers participated in several “team- bonding” activities while on retreat.

DAY TWO

On day two officers went to The Gathering Place in Tulsa, where they engaged in an enormous scavenger hunt. While navigating through the giant park they were able to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses which helped them better complete each of the tasks.

Jacque Barfield, Elgin FFA Chapter Secretary, said, “I enjoyed going to The Gathering Place because it helped me face my fear of heights. I think it was an excellent place to go for retreat because it made all of us help and motivate each other. "As a team, we have to always work together and hold each other accountable to follow through with each of our responsibilities, and if one starts to fall behind, it is our job to motivate them to accomplish their duties.”

The Elgin FFA officers have planned an exciting year for the members of the Elgin FFA Chapter. This year members will find that everything they do, they will do for a purpose. Whether it be to better the Elgin community, boost self-confidence or to gain the skills necessary to be successful in their lives and careers, officers have thoroughly “branded” the Elgin FFA Chapter as a positive place for any student to call home.