By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times
The Milaca Chapter of FFA has enjoyed a long, rich history that has been fueled by the passions of students, their parents and their teachers. Under the direction of FFA advisors Doug Olson and Robert Skwira and the involvement of chapter officers, that tradition continues to hold strong today.
In observance of National FFA Week, Feb. 19-25, the Milaca officers sat down to talk about their reasons for joining, staying in, and taking leadership roles within the organization. Those officers are president Cassy Chalberg, vice president Megan Fossland, secretary Jared Katke, treasurer Kayla Albertson, reporter Candice Carlson, sentinel Mindy Rinkel and officer at large Kayla Santema.
Why did you join FFA?
Chalberg: “I like agriculture and I want to be in it for business.” She said it has helped her pursue her desire to train horses. “And it was a big confidence boost.”
Fossland: “I joined because my brother was in it. And Mr. Olson said, ‘Hey, do you want to be in this contest?’” She agreed and went on to state for soil competition in her first year in FFA.
Katke: “My dad was in it,” he said as the determining factor for joining. He also credited Olson for encouraging him to participate in the soils competitions.
Albertson: “I’ve been in soils since ninth grade because of Mr. Olson,” she said. Having many of her friends in the organization also helped her decision to join.
Carlson: “I grew up on a farm,” she said. Her father was the president of his FFA chapter. Recently, the family farm transferred from raising beef cattle to raising hogs, and she said FFA helped her understand how to take care of the new animals.
Rinkel: “I grew up on a dairy farm. My parents were in FFA, and my grandpa had the FFA chapter come out and plant trees,” she said.
Santema: “I actually joined because I have a lot of friends in it,” she said. And after taking Olson’s forestry class, Santema said he encouraged her to join. “My friends didn’t help either,” she said. “It was definitely worth it.”
For the full story, see the Thursday, Feb. 23 print edition of the Times.