September 2017
Youth Matters

FFA Sentinel: Leading with Passion and Purpose

   

Cameron Catrett runs onstage after Sierra Goodwin, 2016-17 State President, opens the sealed envelope to announce the new state president.

 

Cameron Catrett – State FFA President

Hard work is no stranger to Cameron Catrett, the newly elected Alabama FFA State President. The Crenshaw County native has served in FFA for six years in officer roles to become the first South District president since 1995, all while maintaining honor roll grades and showing and selling show cattle across the country.

Catrett began her term as state president on June 9, 2017, at the 89th Annual State FFA Convention in Montgomery. At the convention, Catrett was also named State Star Farmer for her Beef Production Supervised Agricultural Experience, awarded the State FFA degree and received the M.K. Heath Animal Health Award from the Alabama Veterinary Association.

Catrett, who aspires to become a veterinarian, said FFA has given her countless opportunities.

"There’s something rewarding for everyone in FFA. It’s not really a club so much as it’s a family," Catrett said.

The values of FFA and the creed speak to that."

Catrett has learned from FFA valuable life lessons that molded her into the leader she is today.

"Time management, dependability and accountability are all things FFA taught me," Catrett said. "When you have so many extracurricular activities going on, you have to be organized."

According to Catrett, she has made lifelong friends in her FFA family as she’s moved up officer ranks. Catrett began her journey in FFA as a chapter officer before becoming South District president.

"One of the greatest memories I have is right before they announced state officer president and everyone who was up for the title all hugged before we went onstage and said that no matter what happened it had been a great experience," Catrett recalled.

 

Cameron was presented the M.K. Heath Animal Health award by Dr. Tony Frazier, Alabama State Veterinarian. This award is designed to recognize the FFA member who carries out the best health and sanitation program in the state each year. The winner is selected based on an essay concerning the health and sanitation practices the member carries out on the farm.

Although it’s not required for an FFA member to serve as a district officer before serving at state level, Catrett said the progression helped mold her into a better leader.

According to Catrett, her experience has been defined by her ability to work with others.

"Everyone is different, but you should appreciate what everyone has to offer even if they’re different from you," Catrett explained.

Catrett has also been elected as the Alabama Junior Cattlemen’s Association President and is exhibiting four calves at over 20 shows this show season.

The Catrett family shares a passion for shorthorn cattle that began when Cameron fell in love with a shorthorn steer at a show cattle sale. Though the Catretts didn’t purchase the calf, the spark had been lit for the building of a shorthorn herd.

The family started raising their own shorthorn show cattle and had such success with them that other showmen started wanting to buy their cattle from the Catretts.

"We were at a show and I remember looking around and realizing every calf in the shorthorn competition had been raised and sold by us," Catrett said. "It’s probably my favorite show memory."

The cattle raised by the Catrett family have won national titles, including National Junior Shorthorn Champion Prospect Steer. The family has traveled from Iowa to Kentucky and on to Nebraska showing cattle, and they have sold their stock nationally as well.

Catrett’s love for cattle was a good pairing for FFA livestock judging competitions. Catrett won the state competition and is also an awarded public speaker.

"I never really saw myself as shy but I never thought I was a great public speaker either," Catrett said. "I just do my best."

As State FFA President, Catrett hopes to make progress in the lives of Alabama FFA members before her term ends.

2017-18 FFA State Officers are, from left, Bryce Hendricks, Enterprise, sentinel; Will Jordan, Central of Clay County, reporter; Jasey Black, Clements, treasurer; Gracen Sims, Marbury, secretary; John Crawford, A.P. Brewer, vice president; and Cameron, Brantley, president.

Catrett will travel to Washington to meet with other State FFA Presidents to discuss policies and select committee members before the end of summer.

It is her mission to involve FFA members in their chapters to ignite a purpose-driven attitude in their FFA careers.

"I hope to inspire as many FFA members as possible to find their passion," Catrett stated.

 

Rebecca Oliver is a freelance writer from Auburn.