Without a program specialist since June, the Indiana FFA will soon be back up to full speed. Steve Hickey, executive director of the Indiana FFA Association, recently announced that the Indiana FFA Foundation Board hired Joe Martin to fill the slot.
Hickey is based out of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. That move occurred 18 months ago, and Hickey is the first person to fill the position. He oversees general activities of the FFA and Indiana Young Farmers Association. The new specialist technically answers to the Indiana FFA Foundation Board, but will work closely with Hickey and other FFA staff members on various aspects of the program.
Martin replaces Lindsay Calhoun, who left in June just after the 2011 state convention. Since then, Hickey, Lisa Chaudion and Anna Ariens, FFA program assistant, have provided guidance for the Indiana FFA State Officer team. This will be the first time this year's group has had full-time guidance.
Martin does not live directly with the officers. They live at the Indiana FFA Center in refurbished state officer housing. However, Martin will be responsible for training and working with them on a daily basis, if need be, to help them polish their skills and fulfill their roles and duties.
In the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Gianna Hartman, state FFA treasurer, originally from Warsaw FFA, will report how the officers prepared for two premier leadership camps held recently, one for younger members and one for older members. This year's team decided to turn back the clock and make the conferences more like they were in the beginning of training times after the Leadership Center first opened.
Sessions taught about parliamentary procedure and FFA, and included in-campo contests between teams in both activities. Instead of being coached by advisors who used to stay at camp when the camps were held during the summer, they were coached by FFA counselors, hand-picked, older members who excel in FFA. Some advisors still stay at camp during each session.
There will be two more conferences, one in January and one in February. These focus on chapter leadership skills, and are geared toward chapter officers. Chapters are encouraged to bring their entire team of officers to the camp.Martin comes to his new role after serving as a vo-ag teacher at Tri-County High School near Wolcott. Good luck to Martin in his new role.