llano river retreat photo

Photo contributed

Brownwood FFA officers are pictured at a recent leadership retreat on the Llano River.


state convention photo

Photo contributed

Brownwood FFA members and officers traveled in July to Fort Worth to attend the 90th Texas FFA Convention.


lone star degrees

Photo contributed

Dawson Evans, Emily Chapa and Austin Haynes are pictured with their Lone Star degrees at the FFA state convention in Fort Worh.


Special to the Bulletin

A local, dedicated youth organization, the Brownwood FFA, hopes to include multitudes of new members by inviting teens joining the agricultural education in Brownwood High School for the first time to their Greenhand Camp.

 Greenhand is the term for first year FFA members at the high school level.

“We want members to know what the FFA is about and have a desire to be a part of it before they join agricultural education, so they can readily take a part in its activities,” said Brownwood FFA president Emily Chapa.

The Greenhand camp will include an introduction to Supervised Agricultural Experiences (such as showing livestock  and science fair, for example), FFA competitions (livestock judging and public relations are a couple of examples), FFA leadership roles (chapter, district, and area, state and national), and Scholarships.

“I cannot wait until the new members get to our Greenhand Camp,” FFA member Austin Haynes said. “They will be the first group of new Brownwood FFA members to have this opportunity. I think this will be very advantageous and helpful for those taking agricultural education.”

The Brownwood FFA is an organization with student success in mind. The Brownwood FFA promotes premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. The work of the Brownwood FFA goes throughout the school year and summer to ensure the continuous improvement of each one of its students.

In fact, this past summer the Brownwood FFA made great strides in its mission of student success.

Two 2018 Brownwood High School graduates who were Brownwood FFA members, Dalainy Garza and Mikaela Smith, were awarded with $10,000 scholarships through the FFA, courtesy of the Richard Wallrath Education Foundation and the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate.

Two others received a total of more than $6,000 in scholarships given from the Brownwood FFA Booster Club for their active membership in the FFA.

These four students also racked up more than $30,000 more in scholarships because of their active involvement in agriculture and high academics to pursue their college degrees at Texas A&M University, Angelo State University, Tarleton State University and South Plains College.

To obtain these academic benefits, the students had to undergo a rigorous application process and an interview process. The Brownwood FFA advisors, Cade and Chelsea Wilson, ensured these students were groomed to be superior candidates for their scholarships through the interview training they were given through the FFA.

The FFA also congratulates Tucker Roberts for applying for two more years of Texas FFA scholarship money to continue his degree since he was awarded $18,000 two years ago. Roberts was awarded $20,000 from Texas FFA from Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to continue his degree, transferring to Texas A&M University from Clarendon College. 

He was one out of only 30 in Texas to receive this scholarship. 

“We want our kids to find what they love in the FFA and be able to do what they love after high school, and that is what I love about the Brownwood FFA,” Chelsea Wilson said. “We often get kids who fall in love with agriculture through out the program’s competitions and Ag Science classes. They find a passion they want to pursue for the rest of their life.”

In June, 11 members, two district officers, Trinitee Skelton and Shea Hughes, and one area officer, Austin Haynes, from the Brownwood FFA, participated in the Area 4 FFA Leadership Camp at the Texas 4H Center.

The leadership camp included workshops improving communication skills and character building through various activities that included a ropes course, fishing, archery, swimming, kayaking, and ending the night with fellowship and dancing. 

“I absolutely loved this leadership camp,” Skelton said. “I have never been kayaking before or learned so much about what it means to be a leader. Being in Brownwood FFA has let me be able to participate in the funniest and most amazing camps I have ever been in.

“I wish I could be in the Brownwood FFA after high school, so I can be in these kinds of camps more.”

In July, members and officers of the FFA traveled to Fort Worth to attend the 90th Texas FFA Convention. The members got a first hand look into how the state officers were elected and were voting delegates for the 2019 Texas FFA officer election, talent show, and business session.

In  addition, they witnessed a concert by Flatland Cavalry and heard from keynote speakers Liz Murray(Homeless to Harvard) and Bill Sarpalius (former U.S. congressman). Between convention sessions, exhibits, and Ag Science Fair, Brownwood FFA took over Fort Worth.

 They went to Top Golf, city monuments, and one of a kind restaurants. A few of the students even took a picture on top of a live longhorn bull to raise awareness about agriculture.

“State Convention is my favorite event of the FFA year,” FFA member Dawson Evans said. “I get to see members all across the FFA, see influential people in Texas agriculture, make connections and get involved with the next steps of Texas FFA.”

It was an unforgettable moment for Evans as well as Chapa and Haynes as they walked across the stage receiving their Lone Star Degree — the highest degree an active member in high school can receive.

“We are very proud of these young people, as we are of all the members of Brownwood FFA,” Wilson said.

Most recently, the Brownwood FFA had a leadership retreat for its 2019 officers and leadership team in a cabin on the Llano River. The retreat consisted of barbecue, fishing, floating the river, kayaking and scavenger hunts. The students bonded and took away leadership, determination, teamwork, and motivation to use in the upcoming year.

The Brownwood FFA wants to ensure that each student in the agricultural education is informed about the FFA so he or she can join in with its competitions, leadership and summer activities.

If you are a parent with a student taking a part of agricultural education at Brownwood High School with Cade and Chelsea Wilson, sign up your kids for Greenhand Camp by texting Austin Haynes (325-642-2024) before Friday, Aug. 17, with how many of your kids will be attending and their names and T-shirt sizes.

The Greenhand Camp will be held Aug. 20th at the agricultural pavilion, 1710 Stewart St. It is free, with pizza provided, and will be from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will be a jumpstart to the best moments of their high school career with the Brownwood FFA.