|The Hand of Service|
Sunday, February 19, 2012
FFA Week Challenge: I Believe in Service
The FFA motto includes the line “Living to Serve.” As an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor, I try to promote service to the students I teach and the FFA members I work with. Since the first year the New Jersey FFA Association encouraged members to get connected to service through the “8000 Hour Challenge,” my middle school members have been striving to contribute hours to that challenge. Often, we engage in service activities, including highway clean-ups and helping serve at a local fire department’s chicken barbeque, with the high school chapter. This allows the younger members to see the service examples modeled by the older members. Four years ago, we began our own service commitment by conducting a pet food and pet supply drive for the county animal shelter. Along with chapter community service projects, members engage in service on their own through church activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, or other venues and share their experiences with the rest of the chapter. I am proud to advise young leaders who believe in giving back to others.
As an advisor, I have to think of how I model service to my members. Outside of the chapter activities I do with my students, my personal community service involvement is not as great as it could be. However, when I look at the definition of service as Merriam-Webster does and consider how I “contribute to the welfare of others” or am “helpful,” I come to the realization, that I serve as a mentor to some young agricultural educators and strive to promote agricultural literacy thereby providing a service to the agricultural community at large. By lending a listening ear to a friend, trying to assist others when I can, contributing to online teaching communities, and sharing my experiences to help others grow, I am engaging in the ideas of “living to serve.”