National FFA Week: A time for reflection

Friends for Life: The 2005-2006 Wyoming State FFA Officer Team (Back Row: Eli Lilley, Lander Nicodemus, Laura Nelson, Kassi Bauman. Front Row: Liz LeSatz (Lauck), Jessie Berry (Dafoe), Kalee Craig (, Amy Tullis (Houser), Kindra Rader.
Friends for Life: The 2005-2006 Wyoming State FFA Officer Team. Back Row: Eli Lilley, Lander Nicodemus, Laura Nelson and Kassi Bauman. Front Row: Liz LeSatz (Lauck), Jessie Berry (Dafoe), Kalee Craig (Goolsbey), Amy Tullis (Houser) and Kindra Rader.

The nation has been celebrating National FFA Week this week and it has brought back a flood of memories of the people, places, experiences and blue corduroy that FFA exposed me to!

National FFA Emblem
National FFA Emblem

Most of you are probably familiar with FFA, but just in case, here’s an explanation of the organization taken from http://www.FFA.org:

“‘Future Farmers of America’ was founded by a group of young farmers back in 1928. Their mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They taught us that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting– it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too.”

There are 557,318 FFA members, aged 12‒21, in 7,498 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

My High School FFA Chapter always hosted workshops and a petting zoo for the local elementary school kids during National FFA Week. Here I am talking about where food comes from. (hint: it's not just the grocery store)
My high school FFA Chapter hosted workshops and a petting zoo for the local elementary school students during National FFA Week. Here I am talking about where food comes from. (hint: it’s not just the grocery store)

I am a former member of the Wheatland (Wyoming) FFA Chapter and a proud former Wyoming State FFA Officer (05-06). I have lots of friends who are also proud FFA members and alumni and they’ve been posting lots of fun photos of their time in FFA on Facebook this week. There may, or may not, be a picture of me in the trunk of a car. Don’t ask me why.

My State Officer Team and I had so much fun together (still do, actually!)
My State Officer Team and I had so much fun together (still do, actually!)

The point is, National FFA Week is a great time for members and alumni to reflect on the lessons, experiences and fun FFA provides. I was a shy kid and FFA helped me break out of my shell. I wanted to make a positive impact on the ag industry and FFA helped me start. I wanted to make great connections and FFA provided me with lifelong friends.

A visit to the Buffalo FFA Chapter during my State Officer year.
A visit to the Buffalo FFA Chapter during my State Officer year.
A fun time at the annual FIRE Conference (a Wyoming FFA leadership conference).
A fun time at the annual FIRE Conference (a Wyoming FFA leadership conference).

So share the love! Tell us your FFA memories, stories and share your photos here in our comments section or on the RealRanchers.com Facebook Page. We’d love to hear how being a Future Farmer of America changed and shaped your lives.

Giving my Retiring Address at the 2006 Wyoming FFA Convention
Giving my Retiring Address at the 2006 Wyoming FFA Convention

And remember, just because you’re a “has-been” doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of FFA. Mentor a local FFA member, help with a local FFA Career Development Event team (judging, marketing, speaking, etc.), help with fundraisers for local chapters,  join an alumni association or give to your state FFA Foundation.

Here are links to Wyoming FFA groups:

Wyoming FFA Association – http://www.wyomingffa.org/

Wyoming FFA Foundation – http://www.wyoffafoundation.com/

Wyoming FFA Alumni – http://www.wyoffafoundation.com/alumni.asp

Wyoming FFA Chapter List – http://www.wyomingffa.org/chapters.asp

From RealFarmer Liz Lauck – Wheatland, Wyo.

While we celebrate National FFA Week, we also mourn the loss of Wyoming State FFA Officer Teddy Weekly. Teddy was killed in a car accident on Feb. 18. In true FFA Family fashion, there has been an outpouring of prayers, love and support for Teddy’s friends, family and teammates. If you’d like to share your thoughts and memories about Teddy or learn more about the memorial service, go to the Wyoming FFA Association Facebook Page.

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