Chapter development has been made a major priority for Alaska FFA in 2013. The State Association has been putting a lot of energy and funding into building up struggling chapters, supporting strong chapters, and recruiting new schools and communities to join our association with new chapters.
The Homer FFA Chapter is one of Alaska FFA’s oldest chapters, with its original charter dating back to over 40 years ago! In recent years, the chapter has seen declining membership and the need for a transition in leadership and a boost in support. Last week, Alaska FFA state staff and officers paid a visit to two local high schools in Homer: Homer Flex and Homer High. Homer Flex School has shown a lot of interest in FFA, and our goal was to help them re-establish a chapter and keep FFA alive and strong in Homer.
Brittany Jones and I visited Flex on March 29th with our advisor, Amy Harmon, and our alumni coordinator, Hannah Harrison. We were met by some amazing and very friendly students who graciously showed us around their school. Homer Flex is an alternative high school, and we were impressed by their awesome wood shop, ceramics studio, and independent learning atmosphere. We were invited to present to the underclassmen science classes and we were impressed by how quickly the students jumped on board after we all explained what FFA was and all the amazing things they could gain from joining. In the first class alone, over half the students put their name on a roster of interested members. Many of them had great questions, and we discussed the time commitments of FFA, how they as students leaders direct the business of the chapter, and how it was a great chance to put their leadership skills to the test while also progressing their agricultural and natural resource education.
The next class we presented to asked even more questions and the interest was evident on their faces. Most of the class quickly put their name on the roster and they all decided when their first meeting time would be, today April 5 at 9:30. At this meeting they elected chapter officers and also decided on their next meeting, so that they could put together a POA, or program of activities. Brittany and I will be around to help kick-start the chapter and provide any support they might need, whether it be for the students or the new advisor, Mr. Jeff Szarzi.
Alaska FFA is very excited to see Homer Flex FFA off the ground and running!
By Traven Apiki, Alaska FFA State President 2012-2013