My FFA Experiences
FFA Motto: Learning to Do; Doing to Learn; Earning to Live; Living to Serve
During my ninth grade year at Bear River Junior High School, I registered for Agricultural Science and became a member of the Future Farmers of America organization. The four years that I participated in the program were eventful for me. It was really the only "club" I belonged to in high school. Part of the requirements involved having a project that dealt with agriculture in some aspect. In the earlier years I concentrated on raising a holstein heifer and milk cows. In my last couple of years in high school I had a project that helped me qualify for two scholarships, and these involved "land" based efforts. During the summer our advisor, Rex Jensen, came to the farms and inspected our projects and gave suggestions just as they do today. Two specific experiences relating to my projects come to mind that I would like to share. The FFA motto "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve" has become my mantra throughout my life.
The first experience has to do with an occasion during the summer in what was probably between my junior and senior year in high school. Mr. Jensen had checked on my project in the summer and I had done very well in raising my calf. For some reason, we were driving--dad was at the wheel, Mr. Jensen was on the passenger side, and I was seated in the middle. I suppose that I was a bit too proud of my accomplishments because I began to brag about how good I had done. My dad made a comment that stayed with me all my life since then. I guess that I was a bit arrogant, and he simply said: "Son, self praise stinks." It was as though a dagger had been plunged through my heart! I probably didn't say much for the rest of the ride as dad and Mr. Jensen did the talking. I don't think dad every knew the impact that statement made on me. Since that time, whenever anyone tells how good he/she is doing and bragging about how great he/she is about something, it sends up a "red flag" in mind and I think, "Yes, self praise stinks!"
My sister, Janice, with the goats in the barn near where she took her "famous" manure dive!
The second experience occurred earlier when Mr. Jensen came to visit. I had my livestock in our large Heringbone Barn, and it had not been cleaned for a while. We were at the far end of the barn looking at my FFA project and discussing how I was doing, what I could do better, etc. My brothers, Lloyd and Steve, were probably also there--at least I remember that we had an "audience". My little sister, Janice, came running from the house into the barn, and as she ran into the barn she slipped. She went face first into the slushy manure-filled gutter and was covered from head to foot! I think that we teased her unmercifully for her clumsiness for a long time after that. I wouldn't be surprised if she still remembers the experience after some forty plus years!
As a senior, I had the opportunity of participating in the chapter oratory contest, and represented the chapter in the Utah state FFA Oratory Contest in Salt Lake City, Utah. A couple of highlights besides the contest was that we stayed at a real hotel and really had fun riding the elevator up and down the floors. Another was that we were able to attend a dance that involved all the various chapter from throughout the state of Utah with each chapter's "Sweetheart" since each chapter had elected an FFA Sweetheart and attendants. The dance reminded me of Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" that I had seen on television. I didn't win the state oratory contest, but was still able to travel to Kansas City, MO with members of my chapter to participate in the national milk judging contest.
FFA Officers (top L-R) Lloyd Firth, Clyde Summers, Boyd Firth, (mid L-R) Carlos Frank, Denny Ward, Golden Adams, (bottom L-R) Claine Stenquist, Roger Horiye, Allen Stenquist
I was the chapter Reporter my senior year, as well. Lloyd Firth was President, Clyde Summers was Assistant Treasurer, Boyd Firth was Secretary, Carlos Frank was Historian, Denny Ward was Vice President, Claine Stenquist was Sentinel, Roger Horije was Treasurer, and Allen Stenquise was Assistant Secretary of the Bear River Chapter FFA in 1961-1962 school year. As the Reporter, it was my responsibility to make sure that newspaper articles of our activities were written and submitted the The Leader in Tremonton, Utah and other newspapers, as well.
During my senior year it was necessary for me to keep financial records, document my project and account for my time. This project went a long way in making it possible for me to earn two scholarships: A Farm Bureau Scholarship and a Union Pacific Railroad Scholarship. This made it possible for me to continue my education at Utah State University in Logan, Utah (about 18 miles east of where I grew up on the Adams family farm).
Irrigating raspberries on the "acre piece" my senior year
Row Crops on the Acre-Piece at East Garland
Pumpkins and other vegetables - Acre Piece
Corn and Tomatoes - Acre Piece
I can surely tell that the hard work and discipline you maintained through participation in FFA was a major influence in shaping your life.
How I sympathize with your little sister!
Terrific testimonies Golden. The FFA has been turning out leaders since its inception. I never knew there were oratory contests. What a great way to build on a career of public speaking or teaching. You certainly took full advantage of it.