State President sparks interest in FFAWritten by Liz LeSatz
McNamee, 19, has much to look forward to as he and his 2008-2009 Wyoming FFA State Officer team face the end of their year together. But, as the Wyoming FFA State Convention wraps up today in Cheyenne, McNamee will take time to look back over his year leading Wyoming FFA members as the Wyoming FFA Association President.
Ty McNamee’s journey began growing up just over the Wyoming border in Nebraska and attending school in Pine Bluffs, Wyo. His childhood was somewhat out of the ordinary because he grew up with a stunt double, his twin brother, Chase.
“I always had someone to play with,” Ty says. “Chase and I are a lot different, but we compliment each other. We had so much fun being weird little kids together.”
The twins’ mom, Nancy, had her hands full raising two active, spirited boys. Ty says they were good kids, but were mischievous and loved playing pranks. Luckily, the boys’ grandpa, Stan McNamee came to the rescue. He was a big influence in the boys’ lives until his passing in 2008.
“When my mom was a single parent, he was my father figure,” Ty says. “I looked up to him so much because he was always there for us and he made me a tougher person.”
Ty also credits his mom for molding him into the person he is today.
“People always say ‘your mom never does anything but love you guys,’” Ty says. “She’s super mom.”
When Nancy, married Lee Cady, the family moved to Shoshoni. Along with stepsister, Amber, they formed a family.
The move across the state was the first step toward Ty’s FFA career. He was raised on farms and ranches, but as his freshman year of high school grew close, Ty wasn’t sure he wanted to join FFA. With a little nudge from his parents, Ty jumped head first into the organization he has grown to love.
“I love FFA as a leadership organization,” Ty says. “It’s not like any other organization where you have to fit a certain stereotype. I love the fact that it can impact a million different kids.”
Ty’s first year with the Shoshoni FFA Chapter was also Advisor Crystal Woehleke’s first year. He credits Woehlecke for encouraging him to get more involved in FFA, which has been life changing.
“I wasn’t a shy kid, but I never really found my niche,” Ty says. FFA made me so much more confident, and it gave me a chance to succeed.”
Woehlecke says she misses having Ty in her chapter. After being hesitant his freshman year, she saw the young man blossom.
“He is outgoing and is a great leader,” she says. “He always encouraged our younger members. He’s a great kid.”
While a member, Ty’s chapter had major successes in several Career Development Events (CDEs). He qualified for National FFA Convention in Agriculture Communications, Extemporaneous Speaking and Agriculture Issues. His team won the National Agriculture Issues CDE contest last year.
“For two years we got knocked down at State Convention and finally won state and went on to win nationals,” Ty says.
Ty was looking for the next way to make an impact in his organization. So, he ran for a State FFA Office and became the 2008-2009 Wyoming FFA Association President. He and his eight team members have spent the past year traveling the state, conducting workshops and conferences, impacting FFA members’ lives and growing as a team and as individuals.
Ty says aside from planning the many events the State Association hosts each year, his biggest stress has been the fact that all eyes are on him and his team.
“I need to make sure I’m on my best behavior and make sure I’m being a role model,” he says. “It’s made me a better person.”
Ty says the past year has helped him to better manage and filter those stresses. By taking it step-by-step and planning ahead, he says he can deal with almost anything. He says it was a challenge to try to maintain scholarships and grades during his state officer year, and after missing so much class he has learned to balance his hectic schedule.
Even with the stresses associated with being a state officer, Ty says he will take away a countless number of memories and lessons learned. From the Powell Chapter’s Officer Retreat where he first got one-on-one time with members, to National Convention where he sat on the delegation floor, to FFA camp where his “core group” taught him how to work with FFA members, Ty has made incredible memories.
These memories wouldn’t be complete without adding the time spent with his FFA “family,” as he calls his fellow state officers.
“We have grown very close, it’s so much fun when we get together,” Ty says. “We have the roles we play and we have honestly become a family.”
Vice President Oaklee Anderson, has been a member of Ty’s “family” for a lot longer. She and Ty became fast friends in Shoshoni and Anderson can’t say enough good things about her team member and friend. From his comic relief skills to his drive and dedication, Anderson says Ty has made their state officer team what it is.
“We’re all really good friends and that wouldn’t have happened without Ty,” she says.
As most teams do, the 2008-2009 State Officer team started out with small conflicts. Ty says they all came to the team as great individual leaders, but they had to learn how to become a cohesive unit. Those initial clashes quickly wore off and Ty says the team has a strong bond.
This bond has brought them through a challenging year and ended up at the 2009 Wyoming FFA State Convention where they have celebrated their accomplishments and looked back over their year together. With a theme of “Sparking Interest, Igniting Futures,” the team has worked hard to make this year’s convention upbeat and all about the members.
“We want it to be about them learning, having fun and growing,” Ty says.
And growing is exactly what Ty is talking about in is retiring address during the 8 a.m. session of state convention today in the Cheyenne Civic Center. Entitled “In My Life,” his final address to the Wyoming FFA members is about the changes in his life. He says his message to members is not just about going through changes, but growing from those change. Ty uses the quote, “change is inevitable, growth is optional,” and says this statement sums up the message he wants to convey.
“When I had to move, I was so mad,” Ty says. “But, it was the best thing I have ever gone through. If I hadn’t moved, my life would have been completely different. It was tough, but it shaped me.”
The message in his retiring address is clear, but Ty has more advice for FFA members. He urges members to stay true to what they believe in, and not to let negativity bring them down.
“Take the positive experiences and forget about the negative,” he says. “If you dwell on them, it won’t help. It’s only going to make you feel worse.”
Ty also urges all students to get involved in FFA, saying it will boost their confidence.
“FFA teaches skills you didn’t know you had,” he says. “If you’re not involved, you don’t get those opportunities to test your limits and see how much you can do.”
Now, as his year as Wyoming FFA Association President draws to a close, Ty will once again be looking into the future. As a freshman at the University of Wyoming in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education, Ty says he will work toward his degree and try to get more involved on campus. He even is considering running for a National FFA Office.
“I will consider whatever opportunities are thrown at me,” Ty says. “I’ll pray about it and if it is something I feel I should do, I’ll do it.”
Until then, Ty McNamee will celebrate his growing experiences, relish the present, and continue looking into his very bright future.