We are proud to share this video from an October 2nd visit by Commissioner King to the C.G. May BOCES in western NY. Commissioner King represents the New York State Educational Department.
The agricultural educators there do a great job and give their best to the students. Teachers like Rachel Clayson and Jon English make you proud to be a part of the New York Agricultural education community.
The video has high school seniors show Commissioner King the Agri-Business Academy in the Genesee Valley, a one-year program where high school seniors earn 12 SUNY college credits.
Oswegatchie Program Director
Two things stand out when people see the FFA in action. The first thing is the hardworking and bright eyed FFA members on the job. The other item is the FFA Emblem! When you put these two things together, its a great combo!
In attempt at shameless self promotion, we want more FFA emblems in the public eye! Put it on your car, mailbox, belt buckle, side of the barn, the new mural at school, or whatever! This is the easiest way for all FFA members to promote their hard work, and help secure the future of the FFA in their communities.
Email us your photos at firstname.lastname@example.org!
A New Building?
We have been quietly working on a major addition to Oswegatchie for the past 3 years. Since May 1st, 2013 a tremendous amount of construction has occurred in the heart of Oswegatchie. If you are used to staying in Sutliff and wished for a better way to experience Oswegatchie ,Foster Lodge is the place for you.
Foster Lodge is a 34 x 60 wood frame structure built on a floating slab. This building will serve a dual purpose. During thesummer camp season it will operate as an infirmary. The remainder of the year, it will be the second year round guest lodge that can host groups of 24 or less. It is the first year round structure at Oswegatchie to meet all ADA standards, making it barrier free for those with disabilities. The building has four bedrooms, two common spaces, and a kitchen area for food preparation and service. It also includes a ground level patio, and a deck on each end of the second floor.
Click here to check our support page on www.oswegatchie.org.
The Quiet Stage
In the fundraising world, whenever a major capitol project is begun, a percentage of the project is done in a quiet stage. Meaning, if you need to raise money, you have to raise at least 50% of the funds on a person to person level. Then when the end of the project comes into sight, you can go public and solicit funds from the masses. The reason for this is that people are more likely to donate once they see the progress in action.
The majority of the Foster Lodge has happened in a "Quiet Stage". Before September 2013, the only people who knew this project was happening were donors or people who had been to Oswegatchie.
The Foster Lodge began as a grant writing initiative with several NY FFA Chapters partnering with the NY FFA Foundation. Part of each chapter's grant budget included management fees/stipends. Each FFA Advisor from their school agreed to donate their management stipend to the FFA Foundation as seed money to bring this project to reality. The chapters taking part in this project that have committed management stipends included the following:
Alexandria Bay FFA Prattsburgh FFA
Beaver River FFA Sidney FFA
Cayuga Onondaga BOCES FFA South Jefferson FFA
Lowville FFA South Lewis FFA
Otselic Valley FFA TST New Visions FFA
Oxford FFA Unadilla Valley FFA
Pioneer FFA Walton FFA
Total funds generated from these fees over the past four years equate to over $100,000.
Major Gifts have also been received from the following donors:
The Daryle & Sharon Foster Family- Lead Donor $50,000
Dr. Arthur Berkey $35,000
Bruce and Kathleen Erath-in honor of Dick and Audrey Strangeway- $10,000
Mrs. Victoria Gregory $6,500
Retired Agricultural Educators of NY $3,560
In Memory of Robert Fritz $2,500
Sidney FFA Alumni Chapter $2,500
There remain three ways to contribute to this project.
1. A gift in honor of Richard and Audrey Strangeway
The Owls Nest, which is the name reserved for the second floor of Foster Lodge, has received a matching gift opportunity for up to $10,000 from Bruce & Kathleen Erath. This donation is being made in honor of Richard and Audrey Strangeway. We are currently seeking financial support from those who wish to make a gift in honor of Richard and Audrey. Those who give a contribution to this cause will have their name inscribed on the plaque dedicating the room. The best part, your contribution will be matched. The goal is to raise $20,000.
The Owls Nest will be a multi-purpose space. One third of the floor will be reserved for sleeping accommodations for up to 8 persons. The other two thirds will be a common space for those renting the Foster Lodge. This space will have the capacity to host meetings, chapter officer retreats, and serve as much needed program space for both summer and year round users of Oswegatchie. The second floor will be highlighted by a deck that will overlook Long Pond.
2. Earmark Donor
The other way the individuals and FFA Chapters can get involved is by giving an earmarked donation of money to help us outfit the building. You will be able to go to the Oswegatchie website to see a complete list of the items we still need to buy and the amount required to buy them. Refer to the list and let us know if you want to make a general contribution or if you would like to earmark funds for a specific item. This is a great way for all of our chapters and supporters to get involved in bringing this project to completion.
All contributions made to the completion of Foster Lodge will be recognized on a plaque which will hang in the building. We will also acknowledge each donor with a letter of thanks and tax receipt for tax purposes.
3. Weekend Warriors needed
In an effort to complete this project within our budget, we are still seeking volunteers to come up on the weekends to assist in a variety of final tasks. We are accepting volunteers any weekends through the fall. Call the Oswegatchie staff and let us know what skill you can bring to camp to help us finish this project.
Click here to check our support page on www.oswegatchie.org
The goal for opening Foster Lodge is January 1st, 2014. After that date, the lodge will be rented on a per night basis. The addition of this building will allow us to host more than 1 group on site during the winter time or for our extra large groups to spread out into two buildings. With its kitchen and two common spaces, groups should find a comfortable arrangement in the building. We can not wait to see our FFA Advisors and chaperones sitting on the front deck while students are heading out for experiences with Oswegatchie staff!
All I ever wanted to be was a farmer.
I grew up on a farm, and that’s not just a cliché.
I was born in 1968 and my dad started running the Pitts Farm in 1969.
It was all I ever knew.
Dad ran the farm like it was his own, the whole thing looked like a park and they were the best apples and cherries and peaches. He was a great farmer and a smart businessman, not much of salesmen, but amazing for a guy who stopped going to school in the 8th grade. He was the business manager and HR department and public relations officer and shipping clerk, all those things that farmers have to be that no one ever thinks about. And it was so cool, that’s what I wanted to do.
I remember driving my little toy tractor, pulling a little toy plow around a radish patch I had in the front yard.
I remember being a little bigger and riding my John Deere pedal tractor around the yard pulling a wagon that I had laid a garbage can in to make it my spray rig. Back and forth, across the yard, just like dad with his big tractor in the orchard.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table with dad as he went over his spray records in a big binder. I made my own note book, where I drew pictures of plows and discs and drags and explained how you used them in that order to get ready to plant apple trees. I was trying to show my dad that I was ready to work on the farm.
I remember being there when they planted apple orchards and what an exciting time it was. My dad and his brothers where there along with my grandfather and some other old timers. The rows had to be perfect, “so you could shoot the whole row with a rifle at once”
I remember riding on my dad’s lap on the old Ford Major as he pushed brush or pulled a sprayer putting Etherol on the Wealthys and Early Macs. I remember how he could split an apple in half with his hands.
I remember picking up rocks, lots of rocks.
I remember my dad's best friend seemed to be a man who brought his family to pick apples every fall, he didn't work for my dad, he worked with my dad. And even though his family had darker skin than mine and lived in Florida or on the road following crops, they became our family too.
When I got older, I learned how to drive tractor myself. I learned how to mow an orchard, and weed spray and cultivate. I learned how pick apples and cherries and thin peaches and load trucks. Learned how to drive a stick shift on a dump truck and plow a field almost straight. I didn't learn how to trim apple trees; I just knew how to do it. It’s something you can’t learn that, you either know it or you don’t. I think it’s a recessive trait, like blue eyes.
And then when I was in high school I learned something real important.
A good thing doesn't last forever.
I got home from school one day, and my dad didn't have a job anymore. For some reason, Mr. Pitts decided he didn't want to farm with my dad anymore. The only job I’d ever know for my dad and the place I’d grown up on wasn't there anymore. At 59 years old, my dad was out of a job. My brother and he signed up for unemployment. The people at the office couldn't believe that my dad hadn’t been unemployed since 1945.
Dad wasn’t out of work long, another farm owner knew a good thing when he saw it and hired my dad to work for him on his farm. And summers and after school, he hired me too, and I learned some more.
But dad had learned too. He’d learned he worked too hard for too long to make money for other people and to make their farms look good. He didn't want that for me. I had forgot a little of that little boy on dad's lap steering the Major, and thought I wanted to be a school teacher. I went to college, dad paid my way, and I tried teaching a little, and then got a great job at a company that helps teachers. I got to learn more, and see the country and even work with Ag teachers.
Dad finally retired a few years ago, now he’s 87. He has 8 acres of apples and peaches that someone else takes care of, while he takes care of mom. And we still talk about farming. We go for drives to look at orchards and see what’s new, and what’s getting old.
I have a good job that pays well and I have a nice cubical, with a nice computer monitor and no windows and no fresh air. I send e-mails and text messages and voice mails and talk on the phone. I'm stuck indoors, but I do get to help teachers daily, some of them Ag teachers with dreams of farming themselves.
I’ll be 45 this May, 3 years older than my dad when he started farming. I wish I was as brave as him. But there’s not too many apple farmers hiring desk jockeys and I can’t afford to buy my own. Maybe I could start my own business, and do something in the Ag industry and build it up so I could afford a farm.
Or maybe I’ll just man my desk for another 30 years and get a nice send off some day, but right now, I’ve got kids to get into college and a mortgage and bills to pay.
I’ll plant a nice garden this spring, and grow some radishes, and do what I can to help Ag teachers and farmers whenever I can, and dream about fresh dirt and straight rows, and diesel fumes and fresh off the tree apples.
It’s the best I can do for now, and it’s a pretty nice dream.
All I ever wanted to be was a farmer.
Professional and Technical Services Manager
Tim Montondo has been with Ward's Science/VWR for over 22 years. With a bachelor's degree in Biology and Secondary Education from SUNY Oswego, Tim's talents and contributions have ranged from growing bugs and managing Ward's Live Materials and Assembly Departments, to sourcing and evaluating new products and managing Biology product lines in our science education catalogs. Tim is currently the Professional & Technical Support Manager and uses his many talents, experience, and interpersonal skills to help teachers find answers to all types of questions concerning our products and services. He also oversees Ag Science products and does workshops for Ag Teachers every chance he can.
Ward's Science is a Career Development Event (CDE) sponsor for the New York FFA Foundation. The funds they contribute help agricultural students get closer to experience agriculture as a possible profession and career.
To All Partners in Agricultural Education,
Attached is a newsletter from the State Officer Team. This is being done as an added value activity from what used to be simply district newsletters. Not only can students see content from their district but they can see what students across the state are doing.
Please print out a copy of this newsletter for sharing. It includes information about upcoming events and past successes. If you have information you’d like included in future issues you can contact your district president or email the line officers directly at email@example.com. They’d be thrilled to feature your students and events.
Thanks for helping to distribute this to your students and supporters!
New York FFA Executive Secretary
Youth Program Specialist
FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
The New York FFA Foundation
The NYSFFALTF, Inc., chartered in 1946 by the New York State Board of Regents, is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides businesses, associations, other foundations, and individuals the opportunity to contribute to the growth and success of our New York youth. Our mission is to build and maintain a financial base that will allow the New York FFA to generate well-educated and career focused productive citizens. Email our Director at firstname.lastname@example.org .