Boots & Badges
Letterwerks Sign City
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞


Fri, Feb 9th, 2001
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Monday, Februar 12, 2001

Click below to see photos of the following school's FFA and FLA/FHA groups.
Fillmore Centeral

FFA-From Cows and Plows to Agribusiness
Providing opportunities for Fillmore Central Students

By Wayne Pike

The letters "F.F.A." used to stand for Future Farmers of America. It was an organization that helped prepare boys for a career in farming. In the past few decades, the name of the organization has remained the same, but the letters do not stand for Future Farmers of America anymore, nor does the organization limit itself to strictly farm related activities. It is with a great deal of pride that the FFA has reinvented itself to provide a vehicle for the advancement of young people of both genders who are interested in all aspects of agriculture, agribusiness and personal development.

Carlyn Kraabel has been the agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor for the Fillmore Central School District for the last eight years. He is among those in Minnesota highly qualified to explain how FFA helps to provide learning and leadership opportunities in agriculture. Kraabel has taught agricultural education for twenty-nine years, mostly at the high school level, since his graduation from the University of Minnesota in 1970. His career includes teaching positions at Caledonia, Spring Grove, and Mabel-Canton. He has been involved with the FFA since his own sophomore year in high school.

Kraabel explains that it is what he missed during his FFA experience, that helps him assess and provide opportunities for his students. Although he was a chapter officer, a member of the crops team, and attended the Minnesota FFA convention during each of his three years of participation, he points out that FFA has become much more. For example, one of the original purposes for FFA was to provide an extracurricular activity for rural students who might otherwise be isolated. Rural schools had few activities well adapted for farm students. Today, those who live on farms have almost the same access to all school activities.

From its beginning, FFA was very much a male dominated organization. Girls were not encouraged to participate until the late 1960s. Today, the Fillmore Central FFA Chapter consists of 43% girls and 57% boys, a percentage slightly higher than the national average. Kraabel says, "The best thing the FFA ever did was to allow girls in. That led to a less gender-biased organization that was ready to change with the rest of agriculture." Kraabel relates a story of the first female State Degree winner that he had the opportunity to advise. He says, "She was a very quiet student and didnt have too much to say, but one day she told me that she wanted to become an engineer. More than that, she said she wanted to go on to teach engineering. I believe it was her experience in FFA that gave her the confidence to go ahead. She eventually accomplished her goals."

Besides being a "confidence-builder" for quiet students, Kraabel also sees the FFA and his role as advisor as necessary for some of the more outgoing students. "Some of the really bright and ambitious ones need a sounding board," he says, "someone to bounce their ideas off without being judged. Sometimes all I need to do is sit and listen and they take it from there. They listen to how their idea sounds and then go ahead and do it or let it drop. All I did was sit there and listen."

FFA also provides an opportunity for young people to work together on various committees. This may require a different sort of teamwork than students experience on a sports team. FFA members decide what, how, and when to accomplish a particular task. The advisor is there to supervise, but otherwise the students are the ones responsible for making the program work.

Another way that FFA encourages teamwork is through the use of CDEs or Career Development Events. Each FFA member is encouraged to participate in team or individual CDEs that introduce them to various aspects of agriculture. CDEs include studies and competition with other FFA teams in such diverse areas as dairy products, wildlife, farm management economics, and public speaking among many others. CDE teams can go on to state and national levels. Individuals within each team can gain recognition on their own. The FFA has a well-organized award system that provides attainable recognition for those willing to work for them.

FFA members may also choose to be candidates for offices on the local, regional, state, and national levels. An officer at any of these levels gets the opportunity for travel and participation in leadership activities that may lead to any number of career paths.

The Fillmore Central FFA Chapter currently has 101 members, most of whom are still in high school. This represents about one-third of the students eligible for membership at the school. The FFA members occasionally do community projects to assist the area group homes and the bike trail.

Kraabel says that while the FFA has changed greatly over the years, the students have not changed as much. When asked how kids have changed, Kraabel says, "Kids ask why more often now and they want a better answer. They are more worldly than they used to be, but otherwise they are pretty much the same and need the same things as when I started teaching. FFA is another chance for every kid to do something that is good for them."

By Wayne Pike

FCCLA, a look into the future

By Mary Jergenson

While many Minnesotans are hunkered down, content to hibernate with their seed catalog's, the students in the Mabel Canton chapter of FCCLA are just gearing up for their busiest month of the year. FCCLA or Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc. has evolved from its more humble beginnings when it was called the Future Homemakers of America (FHA). The organization later changed its name to the Future Leaders of America (FLA) before settling on the current name. FCCLA helps members develop Skills for Life, such as planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and communication. All of these skills will come into play this month as the students plan for the regional Star Event, the Snow Ball, and the annual tradition of selling carnations the week of Valentines Day.

During the Star Event, members prepare an eight minute presentation of their choice complete with graphics and posters. When theyre finished, judges ask them questions and they provide the answers. The members are then awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. Those earning a Gold medal in the regional competitions are eligible to compete in April at the state convention in Bloomington.

Leah Hosting, an FCCLA officer says, "Going to State is the most fun. You can imagine a whole busload of girls and luggage. We do a lot of bonding." Last year Hosting received a regional Gold medal and later presented at the state convention. The state convention also offers inspirational and motivational speakers, break-out sessions and concerts. A dance and a carnival were included last year.

President Nicole Wilder has had her hands full putting together the last minute preparations for the

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