Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 15, 2016, Page 14, Image 14

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April 15, 2016
Finding purpose begins with two questions
Capital Press
Finding purpose is the anchor
that provides direction and
meaning in life, as well as a
healthy perspective to get
through rough waters and ap-
preciate still ones.
But purpose can be elu-
sive, especially for today’s
high school students, who
face a myriad of expectations
from family, teachers and so-
ciety, said Steven Brockshus,
a 2013-2014 National FFA
officer, during a lively work-
shop at the Idaho FFA State
Leadership conference on
April 7.
To help in the endeavor,
Brockshus asked a packed
room of blue jackets to con-
sider and discuss two ques-
tions: “Who am I?” and “Why
am I here?.”
He pointed out, however,
that insecurity and doubt are
often barriers to finding pur-
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
Steven Brockshus, a 2013-2014 National FFA officer, leads a
workshop on finding purpose during the Idaho FFA State Lead-
ership Conference on April 7 at the College of Southern Idaho in
Twin Falls.
pose and asked the students to
first to identify their insecuri-
ties and why they exist.
“The interesting thing
about insecurities … every-
one else has them, too. They
weight us down, hold us
back,” he said.
But insecurities can be
overcome by knowing “who
you are” — on a deeper level,
not physical appearance and
not “what you do,” he said.
Asking that question
brings to light strengths and
attributes that can lead to pur-
pose, he said.
“When we keep these
things in mind, we can over-
come insecurities and do
some awesome stuff,” he said.
His talks and workshops
through FFA challenge stu-
dents to ask who they are and
why they’re here and find the
“Once they start asking
those questions, they can rec-
oncile who they are and figure
out what they want to do in
life,” he said.
High school isn’t always
easy. There are so many expec-
tations, and students might be
facing troubled relationships
or difficulties at home. But if
they understand who they are
and their purpose in life, they
can choose activities, go to
college and start a career in
alignment with those things,
he said.
That doesn’t mean they
won’t face difficulties or strug-
gles, but instead of suffering a
lack of direction, they’ll expe-
rience the growth that comes
from struggle, he said.
“It will help them face
times of insecurity, doubt and
adversity and pull through,” he
They’ll get through know-
ing there’s something to show
for it. And when times are
good, they’ll recognize things
are good because there’s
meaning to their life, he said.
Brockshus said he doesn’t
expect a one-hour workshop
to bring a revelation or drastic
change, but he hopes to plant a
seed to get students thinking a
little differently. Who you are/
your purpose is a topic that
might not be posed in routine
high school life, he said.
“High school is a hard time
for a lot of students. Hopefully
these questions will challenge
them to be more comfortable
with themselves,” he said.
In his experience, when
students ask themselves these
questions, the answers are of-
ten “awesome.” It helps them
dig deeper and discover what
they want to do in life, he said.
Brockshus said his own
answers to those questions
have morphed over time but
moving through life with that
inner perspective provides di-
rection and meaning.
Idaho FFA officers retire with gusto
Capital Press
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
The new Idaho FFA state officers are all smiles at the close of the
State Leadership Conference in Twin Falls on April 9. From left
are Sentinel Makenna Routt, Castelford; Treasurer Clayton King,
New Plymouth; Secretary Jenny Baustista, Homedale; President
Gretchen Hansten, Jerome; Vice President Faustin Wood, Madi-
son; and Reporter Taylor Nelson, Meridian.
New Idaho FFA officers:
Go after your dream
Capital Press
Newly confirmed Idaho FFA
state officers were running on
empty when the State Leader-
ship Conference wrapped up
April 9.
Still in shock and reeling
from the rigorous nomination
process, reaching their goal of
state office was like being in a
dream, they said.
“It was the most stressful
but most fun I’ve ever had,”
said newly selected state Trea-
surer Clayton King, 18, a senior
at New Plymouth.
The journey started long be-
fore conference week, the new
officers said.
It’s like a “super-long hike”
to the top of the mountain
where you get to see the view
after working and pushing so
hard, said President Gretchen
Hansten, 17, of Jerome, who
intends to major in agricultural
education at the University of
Now at the summit, the
2016-2017 officers want to
give every FFA member the
encouragement to make their
dreams happen as well.
“My main goal is to make
sure our members believe in
themselves,” Hansten said.
She wants them to let go of
any doubts and know they are
capable of achieving that “wild
dream,” she said.
Vice President Faustin
Wood, 18, of Madison seconds
that, saying he wants to inspire
members to follow their dreams
no matter how unattainable or
crazy they seem.
One of the greatest things
he’s learned is that no matter
how far away a dream seems,
it can be accomplished and
there’s always room for growth,
said the high school senior, who
plans to study agricultural engi-
neering at BYU-Idaho.
Given her background as the
daughter of non-English speak-
ing parents who came to Idaho
from Mexico, Secretary Jen-
ny Bautista, 17, of Homedale
said she wants to emphasize to
members “they can accomplish
anything if they work hard, no
matter their background.”
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
Retiring Idaho state FFA officers pose for a photo after speaking
to the Twin Falls Rotary Club on Wednesday. From left are Henry
Wilson, sentinel; Reily Geritz, president; Abigail Raasch, secretary;
Samantha Daniels, treasurer; Jentrie Statsny, reporter; and Dustin
Winston, vice president.
State Reporter Jentrie
Statsny said she’s learned a
thing or two as well, such
as being a better listener
and how to make people
feel comfortable — basic
skills that will help her in
“I have also been able
to step outside my com-
fort zone and learn to be a
more effective leader,” said
the graphic design major at
BYU Idaho.
The year involved a lot of
travel, member and chapter
meetings and planning and
participating in events, said
Samantha Daniels, state trea-
surer, who is majoring in ag
education at Utah State Uni-
“Our schedules are always
full, but we love the time we
get to spend with Idaho FFA
members,” she said.
State Secretary Abigail
Raasch, majoring in history
and French at the University
of Idaho, came away with a
new appreciation for people
and relationships — from
members around the state to
all the people who work be-
hind the scenes to support
FFA, she said.
For state President Reily
Geritz, the experience brought
home the reality that agri-
culture relies on everyone’s
contribution — such as food
producers to feed the hungry,
scientists to find resolutions to
barriers and politicians to ad-
vocate for sustainability, said
the University of Idaho ag ed-
ucation major.
“FFA is the perfect model
to have for agriculture; it fits
everybody. And we’re all in
this together,” she said.
While the retiring state of-
ficers have mixed emotions
as their year of service comes
to an end, they said they are
excited for incoming officers
to have the same opportunity
they have enjoyed.
And while the blue jackets
might leave their shoulders,
the FFA experience never
will, Geritz said.
“It will serve us the rest of
our life,” she said.
Outgoing Idaho FFA state
officers said their year serving
members throughout the state
has been wonderful, amazing
and awesome.
While they each have dis-
tinctive personalities, they
said they’ve learned to speak
with one voice to promote
FFA and become advocates
for agriculture.
It’s been a hectic year but
one of exceptional growth and
they said.
No one can ever really be
prepared for the experience
of being a state officer, State
Sentinel Henry Wilson, an
agribusiness major at the
University of Idaho, said.
“It’s indescribable,” he
The most surprising as-
pect for him was that “the
connections you build with
teammates, members and
business leaders are deep
and long-lasting,” he said.
Vice President Dustin
Winston, majoring in agri-
business and marketing at
the University of Idaho, said
the experience was definite-
ly different than he expected
and it’s different for each of
the officers.
Coming into office a year
ago, he wanted to impact and
serve members. Now on his
way out, he said he did his
best to work toward that goal
but can’t determine the im-
mediate effect.
He said he came to real-
ize that being a state officer
doesn’t necessarily mean he
is impacting everyone, but
he can use the experience for
growth and to have an im-
pact in the future.
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
Jeremy Falk, assistant profes-
sor of agricultural education
and extension at the University
of Idaho, talks with an FFA
member about the university’s
program during the Teach Ag
workshop at the State FFA
Leadership Conference in Twin
Falls on April 7.
Capital Press
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — In
addition to the extreme enthu-
siasm of the blue jacket force
descending on the College
of Southern Idaho recently
was the palpable camaraderie
among those students’ agricul-
tural teachers.
That camaraderie is one of
the unique perks of being an
agricultural educator, teachers
told FFA members who are in-
terested in joining their ranks.
Several agricultural educa-
tors participated in a University
of Idaho workshop geared for
potential newcomers to the pro-
Working in agricultural edu-
cation is exciting and fulfilling
because the model is unlike any
other. By incorporating FFA
and supervised agricultural ex-
periences, it doesn’t force ed-
ucation on students but allows
them to choose their own ad-
venture, said Jeremy Falk, as-
sistant professor of agricultural
education and extension at the
University of Idaho.
“This model of education
… is not the filling of a pail,
the filling of a brain; it’s about
setting a fire. You can incorpo-
rate all of these (elements) and
light the fire in your students,”
he told the FFA students.
UI agricultural education
senior Anna Pratt, who is stu-
dent teaching at Rigby High
School, said she was never so
terrified in her life as when she
started in January, but it didn’t
take long to settle in.
“It’s a great experience. You
learn something new every day
(and) you gain a whole new
perspective on everything,” she
It’s a “flip-flop” from being
a student, and she sometimes
wonders if she’s doing it right.
But there is always an experi-
enced cooperating teacher to
mentor student teachers, and
“they are with you every step of
the way,” she said.
The most challenging part
of being an agricultural teacher
is the huge time commitment
and attention to detail, said
Megan Booker, also a senior in
the UI program and a student
teacher at Genesee.
Students might not think
about it, but somebody has
to make sure shops are main-
tained, greenhouses are moni-
tored and animals fed, she said.
As for compensation, teach-
ing agriculture might not be as
lucrative as some other pro-
fessionals, but money isn’t the
only consideration, said Robert
Hale, lead agriculture teacher at
Rigby High School.
“There are a lot of neat ben-
efits. I wouldn’t trade the expe-
riences I’ve had for a handful of
cash,” he said.
Nampa agriculture teacher
Pat Dixon agreed, saying, “I get
to do a lot of cool things I never
would have done if I hadn’t be-
come an ag teacher.”
Idaho is currently in good
shape in regard to its supply
of ag educators, with 135 po-
sitions and 17 student teachers
ready for hire, Falk said.
But the profession has been
battling a nationwide shortage
for some time. Despite program
growth, 27 of 47 states reported
a loss of programs or positions
between 2011 and 2014.
On average, 67 positions
and 45 programs are lost annu-
ally, according to the National
Association of Agricultural Ed-