By Bodie Bice – Waseca FFA
FFA Chapters across the state do a variety of different recreational activities. From Thief River Falls to Chatfield, members love to bond with their chapters through different recreational activities. One chapter in Region II has quite the unique winter activity. Every December, the Deer River FFA chapter partners with their local curling club to promote a fun recreational activity. This allows members to bond as well as experience a new sport that they can play for the rest of their lives.
For anyone wondering what curling is, here’s a quick refresher. Curling is a game played on ice with four people on a team. The objective of the game is to get an extremely polished granite stone as close to the center of the house center as possible. Teams take turns having one person on the team in a set order throw rocks with two other members sweeping the rocks. The skip, akin to a quarterback in football of sorts, is responsible for executing strategy and throwing the last two rocks in an end (an end is sort of like an inning in baseball, each team throws eight rocks per inning). At the conclusion of an end, scores are tallied and after 10 ends, the team with the most points wins!
For the Deer River FFA chapter, there’s fun to be had all around. When it comes to Deer River’s advisor, Kirby Schmidt is all about the fun of the game. When asked about what his favorite part of curling was, he said, “Sweeping furiously in front of a big granite stone gliding towards the house and yelling like the professionals do!”
Curling for the Deer River FFA chapter allows for their organization to have a fun, competitive activity as well as the ability to build and strengthen connections between chapter members.
For FFA members Marshall Michienzi and Cole Fox, the relationships built through curling outside FFA is their favorite part.
“Talking to the friendly people who are teaching you how to curl properly is one of my favorite parts of curling,” said Marshall. Cole Fox agrees.
“My favorite part about curling was being able to learn about a sport I didn’t have hardly any knowledge of, and being able to connect with the people who knew the sport and could properly teach us how to play,” said Cole. He also stated that the partnership extends more than just one night of curling and that the curling club has invited all Deer River FFA members to come back and curl as much as they’d like.
The relationships and connections built through this activity translate very well into leadership and networking skills in the real world. When it comes to the value of physical recreational activities within FFA or other student led organizations, Advisor Schmidt says that these activities advocate for lifelong fitness for youth who may not click with traditional team sports. Cole and Marshall agree.
“I would say the benefit of implementing curling or other physical recreational activities in a chapter organization is gaining knowledge of something that you didn’t have before and promoting healthy lifestyles,” Cole.
“(Curling) provides time for members to have fun with each other as a chapter and strengthen relationships with each other,” said Marshall.
Whether it is the bonding through a robust teambuilding activity or the opportunity to teach members new avenues to be fit for life, a recreational activity for any organization is a great idea, and it works especially well for FFA chapters. Allowing members to live out the FFA motto of Learning to Do allows them to develop their ability to grow as leaders as well as people while having a good time doing so.