From whence a career is founded one can never be sure. Incidents that seem insignificant today can loom large in the future.
At the start of this school year Kristi Takasaki, a freshman in the Brainerd School District, joined Future Farmers of America upon the recommendation of Denise Reeser, her horseback riding instructor and a school counselor. FFA seemed a natural fit for Takasaki, who likes birds, fish and animals and who enjoys visits to her grandmother's vineyard near Madera, Calif.
Little did Takasaki or Reeser know at the time that the decision to join FFA would result in a first-place finish in the individual competition of the Fish and Wildlife Management event at the FFA State Convention on April 25 in Minneapolis. Takasaki correctly identified 48 different species in each of four groups: insects, birds, mammals and fish. In addition, she aced a test of 15 questions about the species' life history, habitat, food preferences, etc.
All of this might someday come in handy if Takasaki follows her dream to one day open a pet hotel. Even today the knowledge comes in handy around Takasaki's home on Gull Lake.
The team on which Takasaki competed at the FFA Convention included Alice Craig-Stevens, Tyler Gilson and Brent Labs and they finished third overall.
Much of the credit for the team's strong finish goes to Lori Takasaki, Kristi's mother, who helped the students by creating informational booklets about the various critters they would be tested on. The kids made a game of it. They would ask each other questions and advanced one spot if answered right, or stayed put if wrong.
"It's actually pretty fun," Lori said. "A company might develop it for a teaching tool."
In the meantime, Kristi and her teammates are learning parliamentary procedure, another component in the education provided by FFA. They learn how meetings are run, the hierarchy of officers, how to make and second motions and amendments and how to table motions.
"It's intended to teach us how to run things in a business-like fashion," Kristi said. "Then if someday we're at a town meeting we'll know how they're organized and how to participate."
Kristi will serve as secretary of the FFA group beginning next school year. She said her team again will compete in the Fish and Wildlife Management event at the FFA convention and that its goal is to win first place.
Before then, however, Kristi and some of her teammates will spend the summer as helpers at the Camp Confidence Nature Center. Kristi has some ideas for displays and said she might adopt a deer.
All of which points back to that propitious moment last fall when she decided to join FFA.
"I've had a lot of fun," Kristi said. "I'm excited about being an officer. I've met a lot of people and I'm glad I got involved."
If she fulfills her dream of opening a pet hotel, its clients will be glad, too.
VINCE MEYER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5862.
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