Camden FFA Charter Presentation

CAMDEN, NY - The Camden Central School District is pleased to announce that its newly formed FFA Chapter has been formally recognized for membership by the New York State FFA Association. The chapter received and signed its charter in a special ceremony held on Wednesday, September 27th in the Camden Middle School Library Media Center. 

 Founded in 1928, the FFA is a national organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities about agriculture to young people. The Camden chapter will serve students at Camden Middle School and Camden High School. 

The occasion marks the formal beginning of the chapter in its modern-day form, and is the culmination of a transformative year-long process headed by advisors Karly Marshman and Brianne Willson to establish agriculture education at Camden Middle School. Through agriculture classes during the 2022-23 school year, and an agriculture cabin during the Camp-Sum-More-Fun enrichment program, the pair were able to drum up significant student interest at the grassroots level. In response, Camden High School is now offering classes in the discipline starting this fall. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for our school, our students and community,” Camden Middle School principal Brittany DerCola said. “To be chartered within one year of starting our program is a testament to Bri and Karly’s hard work, dedication and passion. We’re so excited to see what the future holds!”

The new members and advisors were joined by several special guests for the ceremony. District and building administrators were on hand along with the entire slate of New York State FFA Officers for the current year. After a formal certification ceremony by the state officers, the chapter officers and advisors put pen to paper to sign their charter. The finishing touch was offered by New York State FFA director Juleah Tolosky, who scribbled in the final signature to cement Camden’s new place in the organization.

The students shared lunch with the state officers, where they learned more about the vast opportunities available to them by participating in a chartered chapter, such as competition opportunities and the chance to attend state and national conventions in the future. Additional benefits include opportunities to receive funding from the organization, collaborate with other chapters, and participate in Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) activities.

Tolosky said that while the state association is almost a century old, the effort to organize a new chapter today is no small undertaking and should be celebrated accordingly. 

“When a program like the one here in Camden takes the step to charter now, it’s really an investment into the long-term future of the school community,” Tolosky said. “It’s so neat to see the effort that goes into starting a program today, and see the commitment on display that may have happened for other schools almost 100 years ago. By doing this, your school is saying that agriculture matters. It’s a lot more work to start something than to just continue it, and we’re so proud to be celebrating Camden.”

The moment was historic, but not without precedent. Camden previously operated an FFA chapter up until the dawn of the 1970s, when the organization was known as Future Farmers of America.

The creation of a new chapter not only revives the organization in the Camden community, but a new trail was blazed along the way. This is believed to be the first time that girls are participating in FFA at Camden, as the national membership was limited to boys until 1969.

Kayla Winn ‘28 has wasted no time capitalizing on the opportunity presented, as she was recently installed as middle school chapter president. Winn started working with chickens when she moved to Camden a few years ago, and the opportunity to be in FFA has been a natural progression for her interest in the field.

“It’s been really big for me,” Winn said. “I love agriculture and FFA. I love that we get to go on trips and do competitions.”

Each building will maintain its own officer slate, and at Camden High School, the top job belongs to Matthew Albrecht ‘27. He has had chickens for seven years, but the agriculture curriculum has been eye-opening for his knowledge about them. With his growing passion for the field, the chapter president is excited to lay the groundwork for the future.

“It’s nice that I get to help set the stage for the program, get out in the community and drive awareness to everything we’re doing,” Albrecht said. “It’s a good opportunity for the community.”

As for Marshman, she’s already looking to hit the ground running on the next opportunity for the chapter, and starting a new era in her own FFA journey. She was an FFA member growing up in her hometown of Oxford, NY.

“This is a historical event for not only the agriculture program, but the school community as a whole,” Marshman said. “As an agriculture educator and advisor, this charter enables me to fully use what’s called the three circle model of agriculture education. This includes classroom instruction, the SAEs, and FFA. To be in this position is a huge accomplishment for our program and everyone in it.”