In the coming week, FFA chapters across Wyoming will celebrate National FFA Week with a unified national theme of “I Believe.” It’s a fitting choice plucked directly from the National FFA Creed that begins with the words, “I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds, achievements won by present and past generations of agriculturalists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggle of former years.”
The National FFA Board of Directors designated National FFA Week in 1947. The week always runs Saturday through Saturday, encompassing Feb. 22, George Washington’s birthday. FFA chapters across the nation are encouraged to celebrate the week by educating the public about agriculture, hosting teacher appreciation breakfasts, holding events like “ag Olympics” and volunteering for community service projects in their area. Plans for celebrating the week are as numerous as the FFA chapters that carry them out.
As I think about FFA Week 2012 from a Wyoming FFA Foundation standpoint, we, too, have much reason to celebrate. FFA’s presence in Wyoming is growing. In my mind, that equates to a growing ability to positively influence young leaders and encourage them to reach new heights. Casper recently added CY FFA, the state’s newest chapter. We’re proud to see other relatively recent additions in Evanston and Upton and an additional chapter, bringing the total to three, in Cheyenne. I recently had the chance to see the Upton FFA Chapter in action and was quite impressed with these young people and their advisor, Mr. Shane Bucholz.
Growth in FFA expands the number of Wyoming students positioned to gain a better understanding of agriculture, consider career goals before heading off to college and develop skills that will prove beneficial lifelong. Among FFA’s numerous strong points is the ability to mold the program to an individual student and his or her goals. FFA members have access to countless opportunities and numerous resources to help them reach them get where they want to go.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet several individuals who’ve benefitted from Wyoming FFA’s offerings. Among them are mechanics, welders, bankers, businesspeople, attorneys, college educators, ranchers, medical doctors, teachers, writers and more. Without exception, those with whom I’ve visited have been thankful for the experiences gained through FFA. Whether it was participating in the Agricultural Mechanics competition or researching ag-related topics for Extemporaneous Public Speaking, the skills they developed proved beneficial lifelong.
If you have the opportunity to attend an FFA event in your community in the coming week, I encourage you to take a minute to visit with the agricultural educator in your community. Beyond challenging our students in the classroom, these dedicated professionals encourage our young people toward self-improvement. The FFA advisors I know have a special ability when it comes to seeing a student’s potential and presenting beneficial opportunities.
Also, don’t miss a chance to visit with Wyoming’s FFA members. Whether you hear about their projects, the upcoming Wyoming FFA Convention or their chapter’s latest community service project, they have some really great stories to share. In just the past year I’ve seen Wyoming FFA members launch businesses, master career skills, grow gardens to help with the school lunch program, build memorial playgrounds, add learning opportunities to their agricultural education classrooms, help community members in need and so much more. They’re some of the most driven people I know!
Jennifer Vineyard Wo-mack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at Womack@Wyoming.com or at 307-351-0730.