Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy FFA Week!!!


Today marks the first official day of FFA week throughout the country. During this week chapters do special activities at school and in their communities to promote FFA and Agriculture. When I was still in high school our FFA chapter would do fun things like have tractor day, let the greenhands paint their hands green, dress like a farmer day, and have a petting zoo for the elementary. We would also do special activities in our community. On the Sunday at the beginning of FFA week we would go to one of the local churches in our town and have church service with them. Then on the Sunday ending FFA week we held a free will donation breakfast for the community. My freshman year communality people said they liked the breakfasts so much that we decided to continue them every month. So on the last Sunday of every month we open up the local café in town and hold a breakfast. Along with FFA week I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite memories. I will try to keep this as short as possible but there are so many wonderful memories associated with this amazing organization.

Throughout the 4 years of FFA I had the opportunity to go on several different trips. I was lucky enough to go to the state convention in Columbia, MO all 4 years. The first year was the only year that I competed. Me and the same 3 other girls were on 2 teams, livestock judging and knowledge, that qualified for state. The other years I went as a delegate, earn my state degree, and sing in the choir. In order for your team to qualify for state you had to compete at districts which we were lucky enough to have it in our county so we didn’t have to drive. Before districts you got to go to practice competitions all over the state to practice up on your skills. That meant getting up early, long bus rides, and most importantly missing lots of school.
Me recieving my State Degree in Columbia
We went and saw this on one of our practice Livestock Judging Trips

My sophomore and senior years in high school I got to go to Indianapolis to the National Convention. It is an amazing experience to be walking through the career fair or down the street from one building to another and seeing hundreds of blue corduroy jackets from all different states. A lot of the time I cussed wearing the official dress (jacket, skirt, the dreaded panty hose, and black heels or flats) but on one occasion myself and a couple of other students were stopped at a fast food restaurant, in our official dress, when the lady taking our order commented on how nice we were dressed.  She said that it was so great to see us kids respecting our organization by dressing respectably. After that moment I really took pride in wearing the official dress.
One of my two FFA Jackets

 Back to the National Convention… when we go to National Convention we spend about 3-4 days in Indianapolis. On the first night your there you go to a big concert in Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts). I got to see Toby Keith, the Eli Young Band, Little Big Town, and Blake Shelton. The next day you get to go to the opening ceremony of the convention. That is usually when they have a special keynote speaker. My sophomore year the speaker was Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. He was an awesome speaker. One of the things I remember him telling us was that “In order to make the green you have to get down with brown”. What he meant by that was that in order for you to make money you have to get a little dirty. Then the rest of the time you are there you spend at different workshops, the career fair and special tours your advisor sets up. The places we got to go extra were the NCAA Hall of Fame, Indianapolis Speedway, this cool little popcorn factory,  and a mini zoo. Then on the final day you’re out there you get to watch the kids get their American Degree (which is televised on RFD-TV). A little boasting time…. Missouri has had the most number of students each year to receive their American degree for I don’t know how many years and hopefully this year I will be one of those lucky students.  
Mike Rowe!!!!!!
We got to go on the Race track and "Kiss the Bricks" on the finish line at the Indy Speedway
Yes My favorite partwas meeting the Cowboy's ;) I got to meet Ty Atchison (PRCA Saddle Bronc Rider)- From Missouri Luke Snyder (PBR Bull Rider) and Coby Yates (PBR Bull Rider)
Colby Yates :)
 Luke Snyder :)

Probably the biggest and to date the best and most life changing trips I’ve ever been on was when I went to Washington DC 2 summers ago for the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). It is a week-long conference that builds your leadership skills. When I went my Ag teacher couldn’t go so my parents offered to chaperon since they had lived out in Baltimore when they were first married. We actually flew into Baltimore when we went out there so that we could do some sight-seeing there. We went to the Inner Harbor and ate lunch and walked around looking at the cool boats. Then we went to Fort McHenry (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner). For the actual conference we had small group activities and large group activities to build our leadership skills. We also had one day where we got to do a community service project. I got to go to a habitat for humanity Re-store and work. Along with the conference we had several opportunities to do sight-seeing in DC too. We went to Mt Vernon (George Washington’s Home), the National Mall during the day and at night, the Smithsonian Museums of American and Natural History, Ford’s theater, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Capitol. We saw the White House but only from a distance. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history to go to Washington DC because it is chalked full of it.
The Backside of Mt. Vernon overlooking the Potomac
Fort McHenry (the inside of the fort)
Lincoln Memorial- Fun fact from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument is 1 mile!! It doesn't look that far on TV but when your standing at one or the other it looks really far away!

Of the 4 years that I while I was still in high school I was an officer 3 of them. I have held the positions of junior reporter, Vice President and President for my chapter and then during my junior year I was also the Area 1 Sentinel. This meant that we got to lead the meetings and banquets by doing the official ceremonies and plan activities for our chapters. While I was an Area officer I got to go down to the Lake of the Ozarks to an officer retreat to develop our team building skills. We also had the awesome opportunity to charter in a new chapter. I did apply and interview for a state office my senior year but didn’t get it. It was something that I really wanted but was ok with that I didn’t receive. The boy who got the position has done an amazing job and has represented our Area well.
Me and my Area Officer Team at Area Banquet
My chapter officer team one year.

 Over the years I competed in several different Career Development Events or as we call them CDE’s. My favorite one would probably be livestock judging. This is where you have 6 classes of 4 animals in each class to place first, second, third, and fourth. Each animal will have a number on its back. After some of the classes you have to give a set of “reasons” to a judge. This is basically telling them why you placed what animal the way you did. Basically “I place this class of cross bread heifers 3,4,2,1. In my initial pair I placed the number 3 heifer over the number 4 heifer because…..” and you describe their positive and negative qualities. Not to brag but I was rather good at that contest. I qualified for state my freshman year doing it. I competed in livestock three times at a fall contest that the university about 10 min from where I live puts on. The first year was when I was first getting started and wasn’t that good yet. Then the second year I placed 4th place individually out of about 250 kids, then my senior year I placed 7th place out of about 300 kids. If I had it my way that would have been the only contest I would have ever done because I really enjoyed it. Some of the other contests I did that were similar to livestock were poultry judging and dairy cattle judging. I also did parliamentary procedure (how to run a meeting), knowledge, soils, and several speeches.

Through FFA I have won several awards. I won the star greenhand and star chapter farmer awards. I received my leadership and scholarship pins all 4 years. I lettered in FFA. I earned my greenhand, chapter, and state degrees.
State Degree Pin

Like I’ve said before FFA was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. FFA has brought me many friendships, bettered me as a person, increased my appreciation and love of agriculture, and brought me many joys. I’m a little sad to know that this will be my last official year as an FFA member. The night I gave my retiring address as a president I cried while giving my speech because it was so hard to say good bye and know that it was going to be over. I was blessed to have such an amazing Advisor, Mr. Wilmes, who not only was my favorite teacher but a role model and most importantly someone who believed more in me than I ever believed in myself. There were many times when I was writing a speech, filling out an application, or contemplating running for an office where he kept me from quitting, giving up, or not even trying. He kept pushing me and because of that I achieved so much.

I know some of you weren’t in FFA but I would like for you, if the opportunity ever arises, to support the FFA. It is a great organization that is creating better leaders for tomorrow. Kids who are in FFA not only will be the future people who feed America but could be the next president or person to cure cancer.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Thomas Jefferson.
“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”

Please go Check out The Midwest Farm Girls blog she will be posting about her experiences in FFA!

 

 

 

7 comments:

  1. This is awesome! I am so jealous, I've always wanted to go on the Washington D.C. trip, but never got the chance too so thank you for sharing as I was living vicariously through those photos!!

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    1. It was pretty awesome!! I took almost 600 pictures :)

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  2. And thanks for the link :) I'll be sure to link to you as well when I post.

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  3. and of course I like this! Aunt Marie

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  4. A fellow ag supporter-love it! My husband was in FFA in high school, and was a state officer...he earned all of those degrees, as well as his national one too. I didn't have FFA at my school, but we're both involved with our local alumni chapter now. Happy FFA week!

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    1. Thanks for checking out my blog Nicole!! Happy FFA week to you too!

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