Throughout my years of the FFA, there has not only been my Ag advisors and friends with me through the whole experience, but we have all formed one large family. As part of an FFA family or FFAmily, you met many other FFA members not only in your local area or state, but throughout the entire country.
From getting help on your first project within the FFA, to performing at a State Career Development Event (CDE), to having to speak in front of family and friends at your school’s annual FFA banquet, to making friendships with the new members of your FFA, or simply talking to someone from your state or across the country who is also in the FFA. I have had the opportunity to compete in the Floriculture CDE at the Pennsylvania State convention for the past two years, and hopefully, also these next two coming. I have been able to meet some great members, not only through the Floriculture CDE, but by just being at the convention, walking around the Penn State campus, and going to the dance that is held.
A State Convention or any of FFA gathering is not only a great time to meet other members, but also reunite with the ones that you have met in the past and having some time to talk and catch up. For me, it is hard to believe that the only guy that was in the Floriculture CDE my first year is now one of Pennsylvania’s State FFA Officers. I was also able to meet another member of our current State Officer team last spring. Being able to get to know the people from just being a member to hearing their names get called and them running up on the stage as a new officer at the State Convention and becoming an officer is a wonderful experience. It is great being able to say that I have known one of the current officers since my first year in the FFA. But being a member is not just about the large events such as conferences or conventions, but also about the local events. Even those that we compete against, or have yet to meet are still part of the family within the FFA.
A great new friend of mine, Kiley Keisler, from Earlville Illinois, had just recent shared a wonderful story about one of her FFAmily experiences. “At Illinois State Leadership Camp, last summer, me and my group became a family and we learned so much about each other in just the first day, and were able to bond throughout the rest of the camp. On the third day of the camp was the talent show and I had decided to sing for it. I was so nervous and was practicing in my cabin whenever we weren’t doing anything, but I was still scared when the time came for the talent show. I was sitting next to one of the kids from my group who was also in the talent show, while we were waiting to perform, he was telling me to calm down and that he would be the one cheering the loudest while I am up on the stage. Right before we went up on stage, he told me that I had an amazing voice and that I would do fine. When he was done, the entire group gave him a big hug when he came back to the seats, I then went to the side of the stage to wait for my turn. When I went up on stage and started singing, my group started cheering instantly saying ‘Go, Kiley you got this!’ Over all of them, I could hear him yelling ‘You go girl!’ My nerves went away after hearing that my entire group was there for me. When I finished, I got off the stage and was barely able to walk back to my seat when I got tackled with hugs and compliments from my group. I never knew I could have a family in a matter of just three days!”
Another new friend of mine, Jarrett Calton, from Grovespring Missouri, had shared an amazing experience at National Convention just this past year “I was given the privilege of meeting a few FFA members that live just three hours away from him. They had invited him to their room the first night and they had bonded a lot. I have kept in touch with them since the convention and some of them have become family to me. All of them have been there for the kid they had only known for three days.”
Both Kiley’s and Jarrett’s story had really inspired me and had made me think. Not everyone is able to make new friends, let alone a family in just a few days, but being a part of the FFA automatically puts you as a part of the family. A little something that we like to call FFAmily!
Everything Agriculture Writer