Troendle stops in Minnesota to attend state convention
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 05/14/2012 3:44 PM
MINNEAPOLIS — It's been just over two months since Jason Troendle stepped into his house in St. Charles.
He's lived out of a suitcase for six months, boarding a plane every week to 10 days to visit a new location and meet new people.
He stays in a location for anywhere from a day or two to a week. He figures he's been to about 15 states thus far.
It's all part of his adventure as a national FFA officer. Troendle, 20, is the 2011-12 National FFA secretary.
Troendle was in Minnesota last week for the 83rd Minnesota FFA Convention at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He was the state FFA president in 2010-11.
During convention, he delivered speeches, caught up with old friends, gave interviews and offered encouragement. After the convention ended, he consoled those who ran for state office and weren't selected. The announcement of the new officer team is the last order of business before the convention closes.
The last session is hard, Troendle said. Officer candidates have two days of interviews before convention begins and must wait until the very end of the last session to see if their name will be called as an officer. The session seems to drag on for an eternity, when in reality it's over in less than three hours.
The waiting is an emotional roller coaster, Troendle said. He offers hugs, handshakes and encouragement.
He fulfills that role of elder statesman at conventions across the country, fitting in to the emotion of the time and doing what he can to support his fellow FFA members.
Troendle isn't a farm kid, but a Boundary Waters activity offered through the St. Charles chapter hooked him in FFA. From there, he became more involved. Troendle competed on the Fish and Wildlife Career Development Event team from St. Charles for four years. The team was the first in the chapter's 70-year-plus history to compete at the National FFA Convention.
Now, he's a national spokesman for the leadership development organization. He visits chapters, individual donors and FFA conventions across the country. Most often, he makes those visits by himself, but national officers go in pairs to visit business and industry supporters, Troendle said.
His farm visits have varied from a 10 acre specialty crop operation in New Jersey to a 6,000 acre ranch in Texas.
Formerly an economics and environmental studies double major at Bethel University, Troendle said the experience of being a national officer has shifted his career trajectory. He's been forced to think about messages and is reflecting on that during this year off of college. He still wants to teach in some capacity, and he's sure he'll figure out a career once he comes back to college after his national officer tenure.
It's like he said during his state officer retirement address last spring:
"The key is finding the right balance.
Slow down, see what it is that you want.
Your balance will shift and adjust as you try new things, but don't let it balance on one side for too long.
Don't be afraid to ask others for help, he said.
The key is that you are in charge."