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  TEXAS FFA CHAPTER CAMP BUILDS BETTER LEADERS
 
By: Rachel Knight, Texas FFA News Staff
November 15, 2016

 
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Two Texas FFA chapters established a unique event dedicated to leadership development on the chapter level. At the end of October, the Ridge Point FFA and Clements FFA chapter officers conducted a leadership camp hosting more than 85 members.  

The camp was held to build better retention rates, encourage member participation, and build friendships between two schools that are known competitive rivals. 

“[The camp] gave every member a true sense of belonging,” said Ridge Point FFA advisor, Nikki Reed. “During the second night of vespers, students expressed they finally felt like they belong to an organization.”
 
Reed acknowledged that many students have been part of organizations before, but have lacked a sense of belonging. As they shared around a campfire, students realized they not only belong, but also have a new family unit.

“[The students] saw that people care about them, and FFA is diverse enough for everyone to be included,” Reed said.



Leadership skills where developed in strategically formulated workshops that concluded with reflections related back to the introductory discussion.

“Seventy-five percent of our campers were Greenhands who may have been scared to take the next step, or even the first step in becoming more involved members,” said Ridge Point FFA member and Camp Coordinator, Sam Stoner. “At the end of camp all greenhands were ready to step up as leaders in FFA. Our job was to pull them out of their shell.”

Clements FFA advisor Jimmy Klemstiein, who will be retiring in December, said the camp will have a lifelong impact. 

“I’ve been to a lot of camps, conventions, and contests, and in my opinion, this camp was the most rewarding event in my career,” said Klemstiein. “It takes a lot of work and planning, and it’s somewhat costly, but I wish I’d been doing this for the last 39 years.”



The event also included visits from three Texas FFA officers and National FFA Officer, Trey Elizondo. Texas FFA President, Jake Taylor was among the state officers at the camp, and believes it is important for the officer team to interact with students on the chapter level.

“Chapters are the meat of our organization. So anything done on the chapter level is important to the state officers,” said Traylor. “We want to help develop leadership and growth through first class service. I can’t think of a better way to serve than at the local level.”
 
 
 
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