I wasn’t an FFA member in high school.
While I knew about the organization and saw their signature blue jackets proudly worn by my classmates, I never sought out a jacket of my own. As a rural farm kid, I understood the importance of agriculture; yet, there are no ag classes listed on my transcript. Active in many student organizations, I embraced the call to leadership but never was trained in parliamentary procedures. I competed in several oratorical contests; however I never experienced the challenge of extemporaneous public speaking. Balancing school and work was always a priority, although never with the extensive recordkeeping of a supervised ag experience.
I wasn’t an FFA member in high school…but I should’ve been!
My husband introduced our family to the FFA when he answered the call to teach an ag class at our small Christian school. The students wanted an elective other than art or drama, and, for the farm kids of our community, Introduction to Agriculture was the perfect choice. As the student interest grew, so did the school’s program. Not only was FFA embraced in the high school, but our daughter was in 6th grade when the middle school FFA chapter was established. It wasn’t until I became an FFA Mom that I finally started to understand the value of The Blue Jacket.
As an FFA Mom, I saw firsthand the transformation that comes with just a simple zipper. When my daughter put on her jacket, she became a part of something much larger than herself…an organization embedded with history and entrenched in leadership. She built lifelong friendships within her chapter, explored new opportunities within her association, learned to network within our state…but most importantly, our daughter found herself in the FFA.
The passion that my daughter felt was contagious within our family. Suddenly, it was no longer enough that our family embraced the values of FFA…we wanted to share those same passions with others. It was then that we became aware of the FFA Alumni Association, an extension of FFA designed to provide support and assistance to local and state chapters. Thankfully, the Alumni Association wasn’t restricted to just former FFA members…it was open to anyone with a passion for The Blue and Gold…and I definitely qualified!
While I may not have been an FFA member in high school, thanks to the work of the FFA Alumni Association, I realized it is never too late to join!
As a current Alumni member, I consider myself a cheerleader for all things FFA. I support the students, the teachers, the state leaders, and the national organization any way possible. While monetary donations are nice, I have found there are so many other ways to give to this worthy cause. I have shared everything from lunch to pantyhose tips…time spent practicing for a career development event to chaperoning a trip to a symposium…all through my tenure as an Alumni member. These brief exchanges have inspired me and challenged me…molded me into a better leader and helped me to be a better person.
I may not have worn the blue jacket in high school, but I am proud to say that I do now!
*Visit https://www.ffa.org/support/alumni to learn how you, too, become an FFA Alumni member!