I find it interesting to learn about how activities and
groups people become involved in changes the path of their lives. That’s what
happened to Mindy Bunselmeyer after joining the FFA chapter at Lincolnwood High
Bunselmeyer lived on a small grain and livestock farm and
decided to take agricultural classes because she wanted to become a
“I probably knew about one-tenth of what FFA had to offer,”
Being involved in an active FFA program gave Bunselmeyer a
“My ag teacher impressed me because he could hook kids into
FFA that had various talents and abilities,” she explained. “FFA was
life-changing for me because this organization has something to offer every
student that walks in the door.”
Bunselmeyer became quite active in the FFA organization,
serving as a section president and the Illinois FFA reporter in 1989-1990. The
following year, she was elected by the FFA members as the president of the state
By the time she began her studies at the University of
Illinois, Bunselmeyer said, the idea to become a veterinarian had left her mind.
She decided to study agricultural education because she wanted to have the same
impact on students that she saw her agriculture teacher, as well as many others
across the state, have.
After completing both a bachelor’s of science degree and a
master’s degree in agricultural education, Bunselmeyer taught agriculture and
led the FFA chapter at Monticello High School. For the past 10 years, she was
the District 4 program adviser for Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural
On March 1, Bunselmeyer began her position as associate
executive secretary of the Illinois Association FFA. Working at the Illinois FFA
Center has been a longtime goal for Bunselmeyer.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was a section FFA
president,” she said. “I was touched by the people there, and I thought it would
be a wonderful way to give back to an organization that gave so much to me.”
Now Bunselmeyer’s goal is to be a booster shot for ag
“I want the events we offer to FFA members to be high
quality and realistic to their future,” she stressed. “That means we have to
constantly look at what’s going on in the industry to make sure our events
reflect that and provide the best opportunity for the kids.”
The agriculture industry is “screaming” to hire young people
that have an agricultural background, Bunselmeyer noted.
Another important aspect of her position, she said, is to
empower ag teachers, celebrate their successes and give them the support they
need to do their jobs.
“What makes or breaks a FFA program is the teacher,” she
added. “Sometimes we are so busy doing what we do that we forget to recognize
that teachers are doing great things.”
After recently attending the 85th Illinois FFA State
Convention, with more than 4,000 FFA members, advisers and guests, I’m wondering
how many of these students may have experienced life-changing moments by being
involved in this outstanding organization.
Some of them may not even realize it yet. It might take a
few years before it becomes apparent to them.