Wed, 19 Oct 2022 12:16:14 CDT
Representing Oklahoma in the race to become one of the national FFA officers is Karstyn Cantrell from the Skiatook FFA chapter in northeast Oklahoma. Cantrell served on the 2020-2021 FFA state officer team and is running for a second time to secure a spot on the national FFA officer team.
Growing up on a fourth-generation cow-calf operation, Cantrell said she feels lucky to have deep family roots within the agriculture industry. The transition to being involved in the FFA at a young age, she added, was seamless.
Early on in her FFA career, Cantrell said she learned the value of saying “yes” after listening to advice from a peer in her chapter.
“She told me to simply say yes,” Cantrell said. “Anytime there was a sign-up on the board asking if we wanted to participate in contests or camps or conventions, I always took that piece of advice and said ‘yes.’”
Starting with the agricultural communications CDE, Cantrell said she worked her way through different Career Development Events and began attending more events such as the Alumni Leadership Camp and Made for Excellence conferences.
“Each of those experiences just really built on one another and I found that at every event I was going to, I was meeting more people who I just really enjoyed their presence, and I enjoyed the experiences I was getting in the FFA and finally made the mindset, ‘not what FFA can do for me, but what I can do in the FFA,’” Cantrell said.
Cantrell said her experience serving on the 2020-2021 State FFA as an Oklahoma state FFA officer was a little different because of the pandemic. Cantrell was selected as a top three finalist, which she said would normally mean getting the chance to travel the state. Due to the pandemic, Cantrell said she learned how she could make a difference even with the barriers in place.
“Things were very different, but I honestly wouldn’t change it for anything,” Cantrell said. “It gave me the opportunity to be active on social media to make those connections through a phone and through zoom calls that I had never really utilized and so that experience was very different, but at the same time, at our state FFA convention, which was virtual, meant that I got to be in my home living room with all of my friends and family close being right there with me.”
Cantrell said she had always been fond of the idea of serving as a national FFA officer.
“They serve such a big impact and I always thought that was a really cool opportunity,” Cantrell said.
Although Cantrell did not make the team on the first try, she said the experience allowed her to grow as a person.
“I am running for a second time and so I can see how my mindset has changed in wanting those opportunities of ways that I can give back and ways that I can be someone for the agricultural industry and a voice,” Cantrell said.
This time, Cantrell said her approach is different after having the time to self-reflect.
“This year, I am walking in with a bit more experience and that knowledge,” Cantrell said. “So, it’s been really nice to get to do more of the self-reflection type of processes here, getting to walk through some practice interviews, get to make those connections, and really evaluate how I did as a person.”
Cantrell said she believes she stands out as a candidate this year because of her grasp of what her place is in the organization and the agriculture industry.
“This time last year after losing the national FFA office, I was forced to really see who I was as a person,” Cantrell said. “And I’ve got to refine that person and so I believe walking in just more confidently knowing whom I was called to be and how I can serve FFA members is going to give me a much more confident approach going through the process. I also understand that this process is one that has already been chosen and it’s a really humbling experience, and so I know that the six FFA members who are chosen to go through this process for a whole year are exactly whom the organization needs and I trust the national organization and I trust that the six members that they elect are going to be exactly the members who are the best fit to serve FFA members.”
To see the FFA members and Chapters to be recognized at the 95th National FFA Convention takign place in Indianapolis next week, click here.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron’s full conversation with Karstyn Cantrell, National FFA Officer Candidate.