Guest Column: FFA organization is devoted to preparing students for the future
Published 8:06 pm Friday, February 21, 2020
Guest Column by Shayna Skaar
The national FFA organization allows students to become involved in their community by learning about leadership and ag opportunities with hands-on experiences.
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There is a common misconception that FFA members are all farmers, but anyone is welcome to join! The ag community is so diverse that anyone could find an interest in agriculture.
Along with the focus on ag topics, FFA is devoted to preparing students for the future with leadership opportunities. The organization offers an effective program for students to grow their life skills by engaging in their community and making connections. To practice leadership responsibilities, there are officer positions offered on the chapter, region, state and national level.
There are also competitions held to demonstrate skills in public speaking, job interviews, parliamentary procedure, etc. These events are called LDEs — leadership development events — and are available for any FFA member. Comparatively, there are also CDEs — career development events — including ag mechanics, livestock evaluation, forestry, small animal care, etc. One final goal is to give back to our society through hard work and dedication.
As a chapter, we encourage our members to become involved in the many career and leadership development events as well as serve as an officer for our chapter. Officers are expected to represent ag positively in our chapter, school and community. They have participated in FFA events and have contributed as active members. We are thankful that our membership continues to grow with new members every year to potentially step up as officer.
Many of our members have participated in CDEs and LDEs and placed very well. As a chapter we have also organized events throughout the year. In the summer, our biggest project was managing our food stand at the Freeborn County Fair. This is a very prosperous fundraiser for us, and it gives us the chance to connect with the public while representing FFA. We also tend to a piece of land near our school, and this year a group of members cultivated hay for resale with help from our sponsors.
In the fall we showed our support for our local farmers by delivering lunches during harvest. We were also able to take members down to Indianapolis for the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo, where they interacted with over 70,000 FFA members. Lastly, we had a couple fundraisers during the school year, including fruit sales and a burger basket.
We are looking forward to our upcoming events as well. From Feb. 22 to 29, we will be celebrating National FFA Week at our school with dress up days, daily trivia questions and a teacher breakfast served by members. We also will be doing second-grade animal visits to local elementary schools in April, and to conclude our year there will be a banquet for our chapter.
We are thankful for all we have been able to accomplish this year and what is to come in the future! Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us throughout the years!
Shayna Skaar is a student at Albert Lea High School and is president of the Albert Lea FFA chapter.