Pauls Valley Democrat
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
Putting a description to the world of the Future Farmers of America or the 4H Club has often been limited to kids who are interested in agriculture, though for those involved it can reach out far beyond it’s beginnings.
Hoping to show how FFA can help students grow in everything they do from learning problem solving skills to managing a career as an adult is Scott Stevens, who has taken on leadership of Pauls Valley’s programs. After spending four years as one of the agriculture teachers in Lindsay, he has taken on and hopes to improve following the legacy left by former educator Jim Parks.
“Having my own program was intriguing to me,” said Stevens, who shared the ag teacher duties with different teachers before taking things on himself here. “It just seemed like an easy transition.”
Originally from Mustang and like others who teach in the profession throughout Garvin County, Stevens brings with him a passion rooted from growing up with influences from what he teaches. Along with his wife Kristy, who was in both FFA as well as 4H, he looks back fondly on showing animals in competitions and knows the value of seeing through efforts from start to finish.
Stevens hasn’t always been in the profession, at one point working in the construction business, but he found he could not stay away from FFA with his own kids now involved in similar interests. This profession now allows him to be with his children as they grow up and make sure they do better in areas where he learned things the hard way.
It must be paying off for Stevens, who has seen success already in his daughter Paige, a sophomore and vice president for the school’s FFA. This is followed by two 4-H leaders in his other kids; seventh grade Nicole, a secretary and fifth grade son Tanner, a recreational leader.
“There’s the pride of being able to take an animal and getting to what you want to do,” said Stevens, who said one area which would have helped him when he judged in college through FFA is speaking in front of people. “It’s one thing I’ve pushed a lot with my kids.”
Another thing Stevens hopes encourages more kids to become involved is students don’t have to do anything involved with the farm scene to participate. One example is one of his students who has developed rather impressive skills in welding by helping build things like fire escapes and trailers.
With help from supporters like the booster club, Stevens will also add more activities before competitions like the local show on Feb. 18 along the lines of a Farmhand Olympics and a breakfast. Then there are treats like trips to non show locations like the state capitol where they can meet with elected leaders and learn about how government works.
“There’s so many opportunities for what we do in FFA that we can’t do them all, but we hope to do a variety,” said Stevens. “There’s other things the kids can get involved in if they want to.”
Of course, no matter what one does, it takes a lot of hours invested to be successful, both at school and when they go home. For those who show animals, the work is not limited to set hours and can include feeding the animals before they go to the campus, cleaning pens when they go home and going to smaller competitions every weekend in between the much larger shows.
One of the biggest deals each year is the county junior livestock show returning February 27-March 3, where about 30 of the 106 PV FFA students will choose the best from their 95 hogs, 12 goats, 27 head of cattle and five sheep. It’s not uncommon in preparation to start before Christmas with the hefty schedule ahead.
“It’s just like sports... if you’re going to be successful you’ve got to put in the time to do it,” said Stevens. “We’ve got groups going quite a bit... it takes up quite a bit of time.”