Stan Ocheskey, Jenny Packer take ag leadership roles

Meet them at Saturday’s FFA steak feed, auction

The FFA chapter at Hood River Valley High School is an active bunch, as you will learn Saturday if you attend the fifth-annual Steak Feed and Silent Auction, 6 p.m. at HRVHS.

The busiest of the local FFA chapter members are Stan Ocheskey and Jenny Packer, who serve as president and vice president of the Mt. Hood District FFA, in addition to raising animals and tending to fruit trees among other jobs at their homes, and helping manage the FFA’s extensive greenhouse and livestock operation, known as the Land Lab.

It’s the first time any school in the district has had two of its members serve in the two top board jobs in the same year, according to advisor Don Schmidt.

“It’s an awesome opportunity,” said Packer, who raises livestock and manages her own 10-row peach orchard on the family’s Odell farm.

“It will lead to some great leadership experiences,” said Ocheskey, who raises pigs, sheep and goats.

Ocheskey and Packer and their peers will be on hand Saturday for the fundraiser benefitting the FFA chapter events and activities. It starts at 6 p.m. in the HRVHS cafeteria. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at the door or from advisor Nita Bozarth, 541-386-4500, ext. 4562.

The students lead the officer team for the Mt. Hood District, which also comprises chapters in Colton, Canby, Sandy, North Clackamas and Molalla. Their main duties are planning leadership events and competitions, where students engage in demonstrations and public speaking pertaining to what they have learned about agriculture, business management, and community involvement.

Packer and Ocheskey will also help organize career development experiences — CDEs — for Mt. Hood District members, involving public speaking, ag sales, demonstrations and job interviews.

“Our biggest thing is District Leadership Camp, cooperating with Lower Willamette and Willamette district,” Ocheskey said. “We’ll be planning camp, organizing everything.” It puts them into close contact with student advisors from the other communities.

“That’s the really cool thing about it; it’s not just within our town, it’s within our whole district, and we get to know so many other people,” Packer said.

Getting to the district board was an involved, and somewhat unpredictable, process. Both submitted applications stating their activities and accomplishments at home, school, and county fair, and wrote essays about their goals as district leaders. They explained their FFA Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SSE), which is what chapter members do to build toward state FFA degrees, which is an FFA degree above chapter and below American:

“SSE is anything you do for farm, or as a project to make money,” Ocheskey explained.

Next, an interview committee reviewed the applicants and then presented a slate of officers, subject to change. Ocheskey was slated vice president and Packer treasurer, but to their surprise, they were moved up to president and vice president ballots on the election slate, and delegates voted based on candidates’ FFA record and on their speeches.

“It was pretty cool; pretty exciting,” Packer said.

“Our district is really heavy in leadership and very competitive in state; most of district competitors make top in state, so it’s pretty impressive they got elected president and vice president against some pretty impressive kids,” Schmidt said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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