FFA members Emily Peters, Logan Lyons, Erika Conrad, Brooke Luck, Claire Zehler, Larissa Hyman and Beau Hyman navigate the low ropes Mowhawk Trail course at the Oswegatchie Educational Center in Croghan, NY. Members took their annual trip to Oswegatchie from Sept. 17 to 19.

Attica’s Future Farmers of America chapter went on its annual leadership retreat to the Oswegatchie Educational Center in Croghan, NY, in September.

“We were able to bring 13 students to camp where they engaged in various leadership and team building events throughout the weekend,” said Michelle Barber, an agriculture teacher at Attica who serves as FFA advisor. “Students spent time kayaking, hiking, navigating the low ropes course as well as the high ropes course.”

Oswegatchie follows a “Challenge By Choice” philosophy, explained FFA Advisor Michelle Barber, where students are encouraged to push the limits of their comfort zones, knowing that it is entirely their choice how far they want to go – on the giant rope swing, the climbing wall or the challenging vertical playground. They’re also responsible for cooking all of the meals, cleaning up afterwards and organizing their free time activities as a team, said Barber. 

The recent trip was junior Larissa Hyman’s third to Oswegatchie. When she and her fellow FFA members weren’t playing cards or board games, they were outside hiking or kayaking, said Hyman.  

“The most memorable part of the trip was kayaking on Saturday night. Some of us had gone down a stream we had never been down before. We went out after dinner so it was already getting dark, and there was a storm rolling in,” recalled Hyman, who serves as vice president of Attica’s FFA chapter. “Getting back was harder than we had thought because we had to go against the current so most of us just ended up waking back upstream. It was a little stressful in the moment but it was definitely the most fun part of the trip!”

While the night kayaking was also memorable for Chapter President Ty Baker, he also enjoyed some of the team-bonding activities he and his fellow FFA members engaged in. 

“Some of the team bonding activities showed how comfortable people were with different things and some people surprised me with their responses,” said Baker, who was on his sixth trip to Oswegatchie. “We had a great time on the trip and if you ever get a chance to go you should take advantage and go.” 

Barber said she was proud of her FFA members and their willingness to challenge themselves. 

“It is always amazing to watch these students grow and change over the years and to see them push themselves more than they thought was possible,” she said. 

In addition to Baker and Hyman, Attica’s FFA chapter is led by Madelyn King (treasurer), Beau Hyman (secretary), Jenison Wright (sentinel) and Brooke Luck (reporter).