Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Membership has its privileges

National FFA Week is celebrated from February 19-26, 2011. Some of the greatest joys of my life have come from the experiences I have had as both an FFA member and now an FFA advisor. Although many people assume FFA is just for farmers, its mission is “to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.” I did not grow up on a farm yet I joined FFA as a middle school student at Tri-Valley High School. As I became actively involved in the organization, I saw the plethora of leadership and life skills FFA could provide me with if I took advantage of the opportunities presented. I had an advisor who challenged me to set high goals for myself and once I achieved them, set even higher ones.
1990 National FFA Convention with my FFA Advisor and two friends

One of the greatest rewards of being an FFA member was making new friends around New York and around the United States. As an FFA member, I had the opportunity to travel. Our chapter took road trip to Kansas City, MO for the National FFA Convention. As a Made For Excellence Conference staff member I got to explore many other states from Maine to Texas and in between while presenting leadership workshops for members. I was able to present those conferences because of the public speaking skills I gained. The memories of my FFA experiences shape who I am today.
A cupcake created by one of my 7th graders for our Fall Fest
In some ways, my life has come full circle. I am now an advisor to a middle school FFA chapter. I watch young members try their hand at Floral Design, engage in community service, and make memories of their own. I could go on for pages writing about the benefits of being an FFA member, but I’ll stop here and challenge you to connect to a local FFA chapter and find out for yourself. Many chapters have alumni affiliates that adults can become involved in to support the youth who will be tomorrow’s leaders.

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