Another successful FFA Week has come and gone. Social media was buzzing with stories, memories and highlights from current and past FFA members last week about what membership in this organization has meant to people all over the country.
FFA plays an important role in agriculture, says Charlene Finck, Farm Journal Division President of Producer Media and trustee of the National FFA Foundation.
“It’s a catalyst to educate, engage and inspire students as leaders to pursue ag-related careers that advance the awareness and understanding of ag’s importance here and abroad—as a key contributor to sustainability and the quality of our lives,” Finck says.
Farm Journal editors joined in on the fun and shared 12 Reasons We Need FFA More Than Ever, but we’re excited to report back what our readers had to say about FFA has changed their lives. Here’s a few.
1. FFA jackets don’t go in yard sales – they hang in your closet forever.
“My FFA experience shaped my entire life, as a man, as a teacher and as a mentor. I have been greatly blessed to have had the opportunity to impact young lives. I truly believe that the FFA jacket is worn over a member’s shoulder, but more importantly over their heart. For that reason, we seldom see an FFA jacket for sale at a yard sale, but more often it lives in the back of a closet and holds years of FFA memories. I have three in my closet in my 73rd year of life. My son has two. My office wall is covered with life’s memories – most are FFA, including an Honorary American Degree, education awards and people of my memories.” – John, former Michigan FFA member, state officer and advisor
2. FFA becomes a family passion.
“I was the chapter president, raised mostly steers and was on the livestock judging team. We shared a bus with another chapter to go to a state judging competition. I met a guy at lunch, among hundreds, from our bus, we sat together and talked on the way back. He was there for the tractor driving competition and got 2nd place. I was 16 and he was 18. I invited him to my first steer show of the season, so most of the steers were still semi-wild. Mine got spooked and ran him over, ruining his clothes and boots. But he hung in there. Six months after we met, we got engaged. We got married two years later and have been married 42 years now. We had two daughters, both went through FFA and 4-H. Now I have a 7-year-old grandson that is in our AZ FFA PALS (5-8) group. We have three generations of FFA’ers in our family, that started by my husband and I meeting at a state FFA function!” – Lynn, former Arizona FFA member
3. FFA opens your eyes to true leadership.
“The best experience I have earned through FFA, was learning how to be a leader without a title. I ran for chapter president my senior year. I had a great interview and everyone knew I had a burning passion for it. But the selection committee knew I was more than just an officer, and I needed some humbling. It was decided that I would not return as an officer. I was devastated. That mindset quickly changed when my advisor said something that I will never forget. ‘The best leaders are the ones without a title.’ I have tried my best to live by that my senior year, whether it was teaching young students about CDEs and SAEs or showing fellow members how to present themselves in a professional way. I did a lot of growing my senior year and it is all thanks to my advisor. FFA taught me how to lead but more importantly how to be a part of a team.” – Mikaela, current Ohio FFA member
4. FFA teaches you to try again tomorrow.
“My first creed speaking contest was the most terrifying moment of my life standing at the podium before a crowd of maybe 15-20 peers and other ag teachers. I remember being frozen solid and I could not get a single word out. I had to walk off stage. My advisor, Mr. Brock, met me at the foot of the steps and shook my hand and said, “Next time, don’t worry about today.” That event and support changed my life. Over the balance of my high school tenure, my abilities and skills continued to develop and my successes today I attribute directly to the experiences and lessons I learned while serving in the FFA.” – Stephen, former Arkansas FFA member, officer and advisor
5. FFA inspires new dreams.
“My favorite memory in the FFA is my first time at Tennessee FFA State Convention. I remember walking in the convention hall and being so overwhelmed by the people and excitement that room held. I remember watching opening ceremonies and being so inspired to be a state officer. I remember not wanting to leave because I wanted to hear more and more stories about these people’s lives and how FFA had changed theirs.” – Paige, current Tennessee FFA member
6. FFA creates opportunities to give back.
“When I think about my favorite FFA memory I think of River Day. River Day is a day where our teacher takes a few students to help out the local River Wranglers to help them teach local elementary school students about our watershed. I really enjoyed River Day because I love to hang out with little kids. We helped them make water cycle bracelets, we took them on a walk and helped them place towns and locations on a giant river map. The kids had so much fun and we talked and hung out all day. Later in the school year, the elementary students sent us a letter. I love reading my letter and knowing I helped the kids learn new things.” – Evelyn, current Nevada FFA member