Shortly after getting home from college I got the chance to go to my former high school’s FFA Spring Banquet which my brother and several cousins were involved in. Sitting there with my family watching students be recognized for their achievements in agriculture-related projects, activities, and competitions made me proud to be able to say I was once an FFA member.
Although my time in FFA was short in comparison to most in the program, it still had a huge impact on who I am and what issues I care about. Sitting there, I realized that I did not cherish my time in FFA enough while I was in it. So here is my charge to current FFA students, cherish your time in that blue jacket, it will be gone before you know it and the experiences you have in that jacket you will not find anywhere else.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with FFA, it is a youth organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership. It is officially known as the National FFA Organization and was previously known as Future Farmers of America. Their official dress is the blue corduroy jacket and their motto is Learning to do, Doing to learn, Earning to live, Living to serve.
The national page explains the work of the organization well when it states “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.” Through FFA, students are given the opportunity to compete and participate in many agricultural activities as well as develop leadership and communication skills.
I miss my time in the blue jacket for several reasons. Although I am not currently pursuing a career related to agriculture, FFA gave me many skills to use in agriculture and beyond. From participating in public speaking competitions to making a marketing plan for a local business, FFA prepared me for many challenges and projects. Even though I was only in it my senior year of high school, I still learned a great deal from my involvement. I will always be thankful for the opportunities that participating in FFA gave me.
One reason I miss FFA is the leadership training that I received through the organization. While part of the chapter, I participated in several leadership training opportunities not only in my state but also nationally. While there, I got to interact with other individuals who were passionate about leadership and the opportunity to affect positive change. It was really inspiring to meet so many high school students who want to make the world a better place.
That brings me to the next reason why I miss FFA. Being a part of the organization gave me a sense of belonging and purpose. When I was given the chance to attend the National convention in Indianapolis, I never imagined how amazing the experience would be.
There are no words to describe how amazing it felt to be in a stadium filled with thousands of other people your age who care about the same thing you do. We were united in our passion for and commitment to agriculture. It was beautiful to see that sea of blue corduroy.
The memories I made while in FFA are also things that I am extremely grateful for. Drives to and from competitions and conferences were always interesting and a ton of fun. And my experiences at National Convention are something I will always cherish. Exploring the city and the convention with a bunch of high school boys and my Ag advisor ended up being an amazing experience. My time in the FFA gave me some of the greatest opportunities and experiences.
I could go on for a very long time on why I am thankful for my time in the FFA and why I miss it, but I will have to save that for another time. But for now, I just want to say that some of my fondest memories were in the blue corduroy jacket.
For those currently in FFA, it will be over before you know it and you will be wishing you could go back, so cherish it now. The memories you make while in FFA will stick with you for a long time.