National FFA Convention
As I write this column, FFA members are gathering in Indianapolis, Ind. for the National FFA Convention. 50,000 members wearing blue corduroy and corn gold will join Wyoming’s strong contingency at the event. Those of us back in Wyoming are waiting anxiously to hear the news and results! I’m also anxious to hear from my niece Allison, who’s attending her first National FFA Convention as part of the Lander FFA!
While in Indy, Wyoming’s FFA members will have a chance to attend an agricultural expo featuring 2,400 displays. Now that’s a learning opportunity! They’ll also have the chance to see FFA members from across the nation and representing all walks of agriculture. My favorite is always the motivational speakers who share outstanding stories and inspire the crowd to do and be better in whatever they do.
While they’re several states away and out of earshot, I’m going to take a minute to brag on some of the young people representing the Cowboy State at the event.
Cheyenne’s Frontier FFA is competing in the Agricultural Issues competition. According to Frontier FFA Advisor Joe Allen, the team will be discussing, “What considerations should be made when determining critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act?” Cheyenne attorney Karen Budd-Falen has been helping the team and will travel with them to National Convention. Allen says the team has been practicing at least twice a week and delivered their presentation to the Wyoming Legislature’s Agriculture Committee when they met in Hulett this fall. The Frontier FFA members have been working on their presentation for at least 10 months now!
“We are very excited that the U.S. Natural Resources Committee for the U.S. Senate is coming out with their newest report and recommendations for this important topic on Oct. 22,” says Allen. “This means we will be studying the new report on Tuesday so we can have the most recent information for our presentation and questions on Wednesday.”
I don’t know about you, but I never studied a congressional report while on a school trip. This is just one example of the outstanding learning that’s taking place among Wyoming FFA members.
Over a dozen other teams and individuals will represent Wyoming in a whole host of events collectively called “Career Development Events.” They carry that title because of the important role they play in allowing FFA members to explore career fields and develop job skills while still in high school. The events open their ideas to new career opportunities and important lessons about business, natural resources and agriculture. I believe the competitions provide Wyoming FFA members with the opportunity to enter college with a more clear vision of their college and career goals. They also allow FFA members to enter adulthood as better-informed citizens.
Chaney Peterson from the Sheridan FFA Chapter is representing Wyoming in the Creed Speaking competition. I had the opportunity to hear Chaney give the Creed at the state convention last spring. I was convinced she truly does “believe in the future of agriculture,” as stated in the Creed and will be anxious to hear how her trip to nationals goes.
Odessa Oldham of the Lander FFA Chapter and a past Wyoming State FFA Officer is serving as Wyoming’s National Officer Candidate this week. She’s an outstanding spokesperson for Wyoming and FFA.
Wyoming has a tradition of top-placing teams and individuals at the national convention and we’re sure to have some this year. I suspect we’ll even have a national champion or two. But regardless of the awards won, the experience gained and the lessons learned at this event will provide lifelong benefits. An FFA parent once told me that they appreciate the vigor with which their kids approach projects upon returning from FFA events. The program does a wonderful job of inspiring and motivating young people. As Wyoming’s FFA members return to the state, they’ll undoubtedly be accompanied by a bundle of energy and enthusiasm!
To see how Wyoming FFA did at National FFA Convention, visit ffa.org. Jennifer Vineyard Womack 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.