FFA Members Travel to Leadership Conferences

Annual 212/360 conference inspires students to use their skills.


BRIGHT AND EARLY – the conference attendees pose and smile at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. The group left early Saturday morning and returned that evening. Everyone enjoyed themselves while they were there.

Eleven FFA members traveled to Ankeny, IA on Jan. 6 to attend leadership conferences. These were held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus. Freshmen and sophomores were eligible to participate in the 212 Conference and juniors and seniors in the 360 Conference. The 212 Conference gets its name from the temperature that water begins to boil, because it “takes students to the boiling point of leadership,” according to the National FFA Organization. It’s themes are virtues, growth and collaboration. Students are taken “full circle through chapter leadership development” in the 360 conference, and learn how to develop action plans for their chapters. Action and influence are the themes there. FFA Advisor Eric Miller said the 212 is geared more for learning about the FFA, and 360 is more towards becoming a better leader.

There are no certain qualifications to attend these conferences, those interested just have to be an FFA member. According to Miller, the number of participants from the Atlantic chapter varies with the year, ranging from three to seven or eight. Total attendance at the conference was about 275 members, with 200 at the 212 and 75 at the 360. Freshman Craig Becker was one who decided to go, and he liked meeting new people and being able to go to an FFA event with his friends. As a freshman, he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to attend many conventions but he said this was one many people recommended. Adriana Mendez was also recommended to this. “I heard from other people in FFA that it was a really good leadership thing to go to and my friend Corri Pelzer encouraged me to go so we went together,” said Mendez. The participants were split into groups and did many activities that required working together. Each of them enjoyed the aspect of meeting new people and said they would go again in the future.

Katie York attended the 360 Conference and said she learned more about leadership and how to become more involved in the chapter. The curriculum followed the same basic guidelines as the 212, with participants being split into groups and doing team activities.

There was also a State Officer Workshop offered on this day, and Emily Saeugling was the only student from AHS to take part in it. Saeugling said she has been considering running for State Office since she was a freshman, and this is the year she will be eligible to run for it. Her plan is to run for Southwest District Vice President or State Secretary. The workshop was run by two former State Presidents and helped inform prospective candidates about what they will need to be prepared. They held mock personal interview rounds, talked about financial responsibility and reimbursements, and were offered the opportunity to ask current state officers questions about what their role is like. Another activity included writing responses on multiple posters with different questions on them. Saeugling’s favorite was: Why FFA? She appreciated being in a room with “gung-ho FFA members” writing what the organization meant to them.

We’re competing against each other but also supporting each other,

— Emily Saeugling

She also said the workshop made everything seem so real and disliked the fact that she would have to run against people she has gotten to know well over the years. “We’re competing against each other but also supporting each other,” she said. It’s a “crazy concept” to her, but she is looking forward to where the future will take her.