By: Amelia Bettencourt, Turlock FFA Reporter
It is no secret that this year presented challenges for FFA chapters across the state, but many chapters overcame the setbacks with creativity and resiliency. The challenges provided an opportunity for Turlock FFA to showcase the strength of its chapter. The Turlock FFA year started with uncertainty in Zoom meetings, but, as time progressed, the chapter leaders found creative solutions to bring the members together. Turlock FFA began holding drive-through events and virtual game nights, all in an effort to uphold the community aspect of FFA. When thinking back on the beginning of the year, Jenna Hernandez, current chapter treasurer, said, “By conducting online games and sharing our memories, we as a chapter were able to enjoy the time virtually. It was a tough challenge, but as always, Turlock FFA was able to complete the goal.”
The effort put in to continuing to create a busy FFA year made all the difference in the success of the chapter. Kevin Lizarraga, current chapter vice-president, adds, “Although it was tough in the beginning with all of the obstacles we faced, in the end we were able to come together as a team and adapt accordingly to the pandemic.”
Advisors and officers made home visits to distribute prizes and even pizza to those members who participated in Sectional Leadership Night. The chapter officers and advisors successfully put on a Halloween canned food drive and a Greenhand and Chapter Degree Ceremony, all from the comfort of the members’ cars. That night, 203 Greenhand Degrees and 93 Chapter Degrees were passed out. “It was good to see Turlock FFA still determined to jump through the hoops of the unplanned year,” Turlock FFA member, Erin Azevedo, said. “I’ve seen many clubs postpone and put off events, and it was refreshing to see Turlock FFA not back down and give our members the best experience despite the circumstances.”
In addition to home visits and pizza, the chapter utilized social media to keep members engaged. The officer team created videos and interactive posts that kept members informed. Members were encouraged to use their own social media platforms to promote Turlock FFA and participate in social media challenges. Turlock FFA members were enthusiastic to participate in FFA activities and attended leadership nights, conferences, field days, and celebrated National FFA Week. The chapter kept up its involvement with the community through community service projects such as writing letters to essential agricultural workers and collecting summer toy donations for children.
In May, just in time to bring the school year to a close, Turlock FFA was able to hold its
first in-person event of the year, the annual End of the Year Banquet. According to Hadynn McCormick, current chapter president, “The End of the Year Banquet felt like there was finally a conclusion to what could only be described as a year of chaos. Getting to see everyone in person after being in Zoom for a year and a half was absolutely amazing.”
The future looks bright for the chapter as members return to normal life. Although this year was different, Turlock FFA continued to thrive.