Leadership Education Remains Priority for New York High School Agriculture Programs

More than 550 middle and high school students from around New York state, gathered at the Embassy Suites hotel in Syracuse from January 24 – 25, 2015, for an intensive leadership conference. 7 members of the Mohawk Valley FFA attended the two day conference.

The conference, 212°/360°, hosted by the New York FFA Association, provided students in middle and high school agricultural programs with the opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded students. Agricultural educators also attended professional development workshops and training.

This is the eighth year New York FFA has hosted 212°/360°, in partnership with the National FFA organization. Each January, student FFA members attend the conference that focuses upon developing student understanding that they were made for excellence, not mediocrity. The conference utilizes interactive workshops that provide opportunities to discover talents, skills, and a will to succeed.

“Parents want the best for their children and our FFA members find the best personal growth opportunities at conferences like these,” said Juleah Tolosky, NYS FFA Executive Secretary. “Even while times are tough, there is a clear demand for high quality, challenging programs that demand the best of our teenagers. I believe our FFA members are better prepared to overcome the challenges of the real world because of opportunities like the 212°/360° conferences.”

While their students are engaged in character and teamwork instruction, their teachers were involved in hands-on learning activities they can use to bring proactive agricultural education into their agriculture classrooms. Agriculture is a diverse and growing field. With the global need to double food production by the year 2050 on less land than ever before, agricultural educators help students engage in an industry with guaranteed career growth and significant social power. In New York, more than 100 schools offer students opportunities to get a jump-start on career success through high school agriculture classes.

212° – the temperature at which water boils – will focus on taking students to the boiling point of leadership. This conference focuses on student development, and students will be challenged to push the limits. 360° takes students full circle in chapter leadership development. The conference will cover every angle for developing action plans for their chapters, and focuses on chapter development.

The New York FFA Association is a youth organization that provides premiere leadership, personal growth and career success opportunities to students enrolled in agricultural education. It is a part of the National FFA Organization which boasts over a half of a million members nationally. New York agricultural education is found in public, private, and BOCES schools throughout the state, offering instruction in courses ranging from small animal care to farm business management and from pre-veterinary science to natural resources management.

Pictured below from left to right are Mohawk Valley FFA members Kait Isaac, Laura Littrell, Jacob Battisi, Zach Tinkler, Jeff Baker, Liam Sammons, and Aidan Eggleston.