FFA hold early Valentine's Day Fundraiser in Fromberg

By 
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, February 13, 2020
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All photos by Jennifer Birrer
Fromberg FFA kids attended the Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

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Fromberg FFA kids dish out brisket and lots of sides at their Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

Valentine’s Day came early on Sunday evening, Feb. 9 in Fromberg. There was a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Valentine’s Day fundraiser held at the Fromberg (FHS) gym. The Fromberg FFA chapter is an agricultural science program that has 70 active student members and is led by Industrial Arts/Ag teacher Jennifer Birrer.  

Birrer said, “About 60 attended. They had brisket!” There was even special pizza and babysitting for the kids there.

Birrer says, “We have 25 kids in FFA this year. They are super, super active!” 

FFA member Hunter Holstein, 17, and a senior at FHS, talked about Fromberg FFA, “It’s almost an escape from real life! There’s always something to do all the time. It’s so hands on with so many things, I could be occupied for my whole life!” She notes, “It’s a lot of fun!” Holstein started three years ago participating in competitions while learning in such diverse areas as parliamentary procedure, food sciences and floriculture. “It inspires my passion with FFA!” she said.

She said it is hard to talk about FFA and not touch upon leadership. “In fact, it is leadership based,” she reflected.

FFA’s FB site defines the group saying “this organization offers leadership skills and opportunities for students ranging from 7-12th grade.” 

“It is all about leadership,” agrees Holstein. “It is huge. I learned from many of the programs. It is something that helps me get an office in our chapter.” She currently holds the office of Parliamentarian. “That is right around my passion in FFA!” she says enthusiastically. 

Holstein stresses she has learned about what she needs to do to hold the office and do her job as well as the rules. She has an interest in education, both agriculture and elementary, and the leadership learned will serve her in those areas. 

For last Sunday’s event, Wes Urbanick performed with a fellow band member. Urbanick says he loves helping. “We do a lot of stuff on our own in Billings for the kids. Even when on tour, we usually talk to the local kids in choir classes. Rich (Holstein) asked me several months ago if I’d come play and I said we do have this month. We’re usually on tour.” But he says, “Any chance we get for us to use our skill for kids is something for us to jump on! It’s a good cause!” 

He plays Mountain Folk explailning “it’s a little more aggressive than Folk, than Americana, it’s an all string band.” He appeared with their base player at the Fromberg event. 

Urbanick likes to make a statement at such appearances to inform kids that they can always get the opportunity to make music. “I grew up really less fortunate and was fortunate to be less fortunate!” he said with a laugh. “It gave me a mindset to be really quite ambitious about creating what I had access to. Kids think they don’t have much and even if they don’t there’s something they can do with it (to make music).”
There’s always a way. “Put a rubber band on a box, bang on a box! There are paths, a route kids can take-like lots of groups have started out. Especially ukulele groups! Just knowing you can do this and there are many programs out there.” 

He tries to bring awareness to kids and says letting someone know what they want to do...”It’s a good place to start!” 

The event Sunday produced scholarship funds. One or all of the five Fromberg FFA senior members who have applied will receive the bounty. “It is up to the FFA Alumni,” says Holstein, and depends upon the amount raised. 

The funds raised may be equally distributed to all or go to one student. Holstein is one of the applicants and is also applying for the FFA National Scholarship. “We will know in April,” she said. 

Holstein will attend the FFA State Convention in June, one of 8 members of her chapter going to the Convention which will be held in Costa Rica. She wants to learn about agriculture “outside Montana and outside America.” She believes it will provide a new perspective and offer new opportunities in her future field. 

For student contemplating joining FFA she says, “Do it, do it, do it do it! Even if you aren’t a farming kid and didn’t grow up on a ranch there’s way more to do besides farming and ranching. Lots of stuff! It’s an educational thing.” 

As for the Sunday event she adds, “It’s a really good opportunity for the people in our community to support FFA and FFA Alumni.”

Birrer said the kids are working on Districts and that a couple of teams are going on to State. “We have a National Chapter application.” They were nationally ranked and came out shining. “We ranked three stars,” she said proudly, “the highest score for the State of Montana. We’re little, going against competition like Kalispell and Shepherd.” Fromberg FFA is one of ten chapters involved in the State. “They’re a bunch of hardworking kids!” It is her 14th year with FFA and 11th year with Fromberg FFA.

Fromberg FFA has a March 14 fundraiser coming up with prime rib at the Bridger Civics Center. Contact Birrer for more information at: 668-7315