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The Pinke Post: Sports teams and schools can learn from FFA chapters

This week, Wishek (N.D.) FFA joined fierce rival Napoleon, N.D., at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. I don't know any sports opponents who are as collaborative as these two neighboring chapters. This school year has been especially ...

Katie Pinke
Agweek

This week, Wishek (N.D.) FFA joined fierce rival Napoleon, N.D., at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. I don’t know any sports opponents who are as collaborative as these two neighboring chapters. This school year has been especially challenging for Wishek FFA with the absence of an adviser - but that hasn’t stopped our kids from learning and competing. Thankfully, the kids have been able to continue agriculture education classes online. In addition, they’ve taken it upon themselves to practice for contests.

Napoleon’s instructor, Mr. Schneider, even came to Wishek twice ahead of the state parliamentary procedure contest to practice with them. That’s equivalent to a head football coach leaving his dynasty and team to practice with the competition. I’ve never seen or heard of a coach doing that, no matter the circumstances.
Napoleon won the state parliamentary procedure competition in early October. Wishek came in second.
When Napoleon realized it had three teams advancing to nationals, it deferred competing at National FFA Convention in parliamentary procedure to Wishek. Mr. Brown, Wishek’s former adviser, has been coaching our Wishek FFA kids again several nights per week. He’s volunteering and taking time off work to coach the kids to Louisville, giving them much-needed confidence. Mr. Schneider has graciously coordinated travel and logistics. Together, the two FFA chapters traveled in two buses from south-central North Dakota to Kentucky and back. Mr. Brown and Mr. Schneider have a commitment to kids, agriculture education and FFA I’ve never witnessed in sports. Regardless of the competitive environment, they do what’s best for the kids.
In addition to being Wishek FFA president, our son, Hunter, plays four sports. Through the years, I’ve watched a lot of games and coaches, including a few of the most-winning coaches in North Dakota history. Never have they demonstrated the level of teamwork ag instructors and FFA advisers have offered Wishek in recent weeks.
I was never in FFA, but as a FFA mom, I’m inspired by the character of those who are a part of the program. I’m a huge sports fan and have spent many nights in bleachers as a sports mom, but FFA has made a greater impact on my son’s future leadership roles and career choices than the sports he equally loves.
I hope the confidence the kids have in the 700 pages of Robert’s Rules of Order and how to properly participate in and run a meeting serves them as future volunteers in their communities and as business leaders. Hunter also had the opportunity to walk across stage to receive an award for his ag sales Supervised Agricultural Experience, thanks to Mr. Brown encouraging him to become more involved in our family’s lumberyard. While Hunter has never had the opportunity to play in state sports tournaments, the National FFA Convention, which attracts 60,000 people, is a bigger stage than any high school sporting event.
Collaboration starts at home, in Wishek, with the help of Napoleon and the selflessness of adults who are willing to do what’s best for kids. I hope I see this level of cooperation more in FFA, sports and all walks of life.
Editor’s note: Pinke writes a blog at www.thepinkepost.com .

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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