The Chatfield poultry team placed eighth at the state FFA convention, held during the last week of April. The team members are, in front, from left, Jessica Fenske, Bennett Gathje and Noah Fenske. In back are Jayton Nisbit and Andrew Gathje.
The Chatfield poultry team placed eighth at the state FFA convention, held during the last week of April. The team members are, in front, from left, Jessica Fenske, Bennett Gathje and Noah Fenske. In back are Jayton Nisbit and Andrew Gathje.
Chatfield's FFA chapter members applied themselves, went to state and for the national gold.

FFA advisor Stacy Fritz explained that her chapter was nominated and named as a finalist, qualifying for national recognition as a gold chapter.

"FFA chapters have the opportunity to submit what is called a National Chapter Award application," she said. "This application showcases events in the chapter's POA - program of activities, a document that the officer team puts together each year that outlines each activity the chapter will do, complete with goals and budget."

According to Fritz, the top 10 percent of all chapters in Minnesota receive gold ranking, and those below receive silver and bronze rankings, respectively. A chapter is required to put on at least 15 activities in a year that fall under the National FFA Organization's categories of student development, chapter development and community development.

"We then choose nine activities to showcase, and for each of these nine, we have to have a minimum of four SMART goals, steps of action that address each goal, results and evaluation for each goal, and a picture page with a caption," she added.

Fritz said the Chatfield FFA was nominated for the Chapter Exchange of Ideas by a committee that chooses the top nine FFA activities in the state - three in the area of student development, three in the area of chapter development and three in the area of community development.

"We were one of three finalists with the Jared Hammell Memorial Volleyball Tournament in the student development category," she said. "We won the category for top activity in the state, but we did not win the top overall. We received a star to put on our FFA banner, and a multi-year plaque with a metal plate received each year to place on it. We advance onto national competition this June, where we will earn a one-, two- or three-star ranking. Three-star is the highest ranking and is difficult to attain, but that is our goal."

The chapter also recently attended the Minnesota State FFA Convention, from April 28 through April 30, at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus, where 26 students in grades seven through 12 attended leadership workshops and sessions featuring keynote speakers.

The members also participated in a community service project - packing food for the hungry.

Several local teams participated in career development events (CDE), including poultry, advanced parliamentary procedure, best-informed greenhand and marketing plan.

Members also saw a screening of the documentary, "Farmland," and five members were part of the Minnesota State FFA Honors Band.

"Sixteen of our members participated in the Courtesy Corps, where members serve as helpers for guests - they wear a yellow armband indicating their job, and when they successfully complete it, they receive an award pin for their FFA jacket and the honor of participating in this leadership program," Fritz added.

Keynote speakers included the University of Minnesota head football coach, Jerry Kill, and the national FFA vice president, David Wes.

In awards, Noah Fenske and Kaytlin Martin received their Minnesota State FFA Degree.

Members get rewarded at the state convention for their hard work by participating in CDEs, and by building their leadership skills and knowledge of what FFA has to offer them.

Fritz is pleased to be the chapter's advisor, citing that her students are courteous and comport themselves well at the state convention.

"Chatfield FFA members do a great job at being respectful and representing their town well," she said. "Members are required to wear official dress and act professional in various formal settings. I expect my students to present their best leadership skills, and every year I am impressed with how many of them step up to the challenge, and a lot of times go above and beyond what is requested of them. My favorite part is hearing compliments on how well they act as a group."