MOSCA — The Sangre de Cristo Future Farmers of America alumni and supporters came together on Saturday, December 8th to host a B.E.S.T. (Believe, Education, Success, Triumph) Conference for southern Colorado FFA chapters.
The conference was attended by FFA chapters from Sangre de Cristo, Sargent, and Alamosa school districts. Several of the state officers of Colorado FFA were also in attendance.
The keynote speaker of the event was Zena Buser, professor of agribusiness at Adams State University. She earned her BS in Agribusiness from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, a MS in Agribusiness and Economics, and a PhD in Systems Agriculture from West Texas A&M University.
Buser spoke about working hard, allowing people to help you and “being yourself, everyone else is taken.” Learning opportunities came into her life at unexpected times, yet she continued to walk through doors that opened for her. This helped her ultimately reach her goal of getting her master’s degree, then her PhD.
The conference was attended by approximately 30 students who spent the day in two breakout sessions that focused on different aspects of leadership. State FFA officers led the breakout sessions.
Amanda Gallagher, president of the Sangre de Cristo FFA Alumni & Supporters, spearheaded the B.E.S.T. conference. Gallagher felt a need to provide more local leadership opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. Gallagher previously had the chance to hear Buser speak and was moved by the way she connected with the students in attendance.
“I don’t think there are ever enough leadership opportunities for (the kids). My drive came from the idea that there is only so much one person can do, but you have to start somewhere,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher organized the leadership conference for the FFA Chapters of southern Colorado in order to provide area youth with opportunities to come together in a friendly environment by sharing leadership strategies, ideals, and exercises that instill and reinforce strong leadership habits.
“It’s a starting point. They are the next generation of business, local leaders and farmers,” said Gallagher.
Dr. Buser added, “We are trying to find the pathway for all of these members to come. If we can get them thinking about what happens after high school, we can get them into college, I can get them through college.”
Buser looks forward to working with all of the area youth. “If we can get everybody together we will get where we are going.”
Also in attendance were several of the Colorado FFA state officers. The officers were asked by Gallagher to help conduct the workshop. The state officers are college students who take a year off from their traditional studies in order to serve the FFA in a leadership capacity. State officers are elected for a term of one year, during which they travel extensively throughout the state and nation in order to help spread the message of the FFA and its members.
The members of the SDC FFA Alumni & Supporters plan to continue the conference in the future, hoping to draw even more attendees.