I am FFA Proud: 25 Truths about Being Involved in FFA

By- Alison Bos Graduate Student, William H. Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State University. Alumni of Billings FFA Chapter, Missouri FFA Association

Attention: This is not directly affiliated with the National FFA Organization. This post simply reflects my own personal experiences while I was a member in this wonderful organization. This post was created to show the world just how awesome FFA is, and how many opportunities it provides for students. Facebook continues to block this post, so I just wanted to write a disclaimer showing that this is my own beliefs and personal experiences. Thank you!

FFA. So many thoughts and memories come to mind whenever I hear those three letters said together. Since it is FFA week, Facebook and Twitter have been full of posts about FFA which has really caused me to take a trip down memory lane. I asked myself the question, “What has FFA done for me?”

Best friends enjoying convention!  Photo Courtesy of- Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Best friends enjoying convention!
Photo Courtesy of- Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Just like farm kids, I believe those involved in FFA are truly lucky individuals. Being a part of an organization that is agriculture-based is a blessing in itself. You are learning more about the industry that we rely on to survive, while growing as a person and learning skills that will benefit you your entire life. FFA becomes truly becomes your passion and inspires you to be better. You want to be involved. You want to be successful. You want to grow as a person. You want to learn more. FFA inspires you to want to do more. The FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” really holds true.

“Today, there are 579,678 members aged 12-21, in 7,570 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands” (www.ffa.org).

Wow, almost 580,000 members!!!! Does that make you excited or what? I look at it as agriculture’s future; therefore knowing there are that many young members makes me extremely happy. This does not even include alumni, so just think of how many people FFA has influenced since its beginning in 1928. It also serves as proof that this really is a special organization that is doing remarkable things. (I can go on and on about how great this organization is, but I think you all get the point.) FFA_17
After thinking about how remarkable the National FFA Organization is, I came up with a list of truths about being an FFA member. This list could easily went on and on; however I picked out 25 truths that really display the lives of FFA members. For several of you, be ready to take a trip down memory lane, nod your head and smile as you read this list. For others who may not be familiar with FFA, be ready to learn more about it, as well as be inspired to become involved in some way.

Learning teamwork at Area Officer Institute at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri!

Learning teamwork at Area Officer Institute at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri!

25 Truths about FFA Members

1. One of the highlights of entering high school was finally getting to become involved in FFA. You have been chomping the bit to finally get to participate in contests, go on trips, etc. You were sooooo ready! imagesCAJ0LRTU
2. Becoming a new FFA member meant 1) ordering your very own FFA jacket; 2) beginning your record book; 3) learning the FFA Creed; and 4) learning FFA knowledge.

FFA members serve on Courtesy Corps at Convention.  Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA members serve on Courtesy Corps at Convention.
Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

3. Ordering your very own FFA jacket was a huge deal. (Who would have thought a blue corduroy could make a kid feel so giddy?) For many of us, it was the first official jacket that had our name on it. At the time, little did you know, some of the best memories were to be made while you wore that jacket. These memories are those that you will cherish the rest of your life.

Cheyenne Estep with her sister Shelby at the 2009 National FFA Convention.  Photo Courtesy of- Cheyenne Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

Cheyenne Estep with her sister Shelby at the 2009 National FFA Convention.
Photo Courtesy of- Cheyenne Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

4. The FFA manual became your best friend. Learning about history, the meaning of the emblem, parliamentary procedure, official dress and much more became knowledge that you never really forget.

Missouri FFA Convention 2013 Photo Courtesy of- Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Missouri FFA Convention 2013
Photo Courtesy of- Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

5. The FFA Creed. I am sure all of us freaked out when we discovered we had to memorize and recite it. Guess what? Even when we did not think we could, most of us did memorize it and recite it. Yes, those third and fourth paragraphs were tough to get through; however you ended up getting through it. What is really crazy? I almost guarantee that most of us can recite at least the first paragraph if we were asked to right now. “I believe….”

Photo Courtesy of- Fastline

Photo Courtesy of- Fastline

6. Beginning your record book usually meant utter confusion and chaos. You also asked the question, “Why do I have to do this?” at least once. Despite the stress and confusion, this book ended up being a vital part of your FFA career.

Goats can be used as part of FFA members' SAE projects.

Goats can be used as part of FFA members’ SAE projects.

7. You are told to choose something for your SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience). Little did you know that your SAE would teach you so many life skills. Record-keeping, organization, management, finance and responsibility were just a few skills you learned. Plus, you had documentation of how your hard work really pays off.

SAE Project---Dairy Placement Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, son of Jason and Becky Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project—Dairy Placement
Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, son of Jason and Becky Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

8. Let’s talk more about those FFA jackets and official dress. Yes, official dress sometimes got annoying; however you always ended up wearing it with pride. Ladies: official dress gave you the excuse of having to purchase pantyhose before the age of 18. Gentleman: official dress allowed you to learn how to properly tie and wear a tie before you got out of high school.

FFA Official Dress

FFA Official Dress

9. You had to memorize yet another phrase. (FFA really builds your memorization skills!) You learned that when a president says, “FFA members, why are we here?” to say the FFA mission. You also quickly grasped the concept that the last sentence should be said loud and proud. “…THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!”

"...THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!!!!!!"

“…THAT EVERY FFA MEMBER SHOULD POSSESS!!!!!!”

10. Being an FFA member meant the opportunity to travel. A lot. Conventions, WLC (Washington Leadership Conference) held in Washington D.C., workshops, contests, the list goes on and on. How many other organizations can offer opportunities like this?

FFA= Endless Opportunity.  Photo Courtesy of: Shelby Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA= Endless Opportunity.
Photo Courtesy of: Shelby Estep, Marionville FFA Chapter- Missouri

11. Being involved in your FFA chapter meant participating in a variety of events and activities. Food for America, FFA Week (where many had the excuse to drive their tractor to school), barnwarmings, fruit sales, etc.

Teaching elementary students about agriuclture.  Photo Courtesy of: Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Teaching elementary students about agriuclture.
Photo Courtesy of: Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

12. You were beyond excited to participate in CDE’s (Career Development Events). Yes, you were excited to travel and let’s be honest, have a reason to get out of school. However, CDE’s benefited you in more ways than you realize. To be successful, you had to put the time in. They also allowed you to conqueror any fear you may have had about public speaking.

Equine Judging is an example of a CDE in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Cassie O'Hara, Missouri State University

Equine Judging is an example of a CDE in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Cassie O’Hara, Missouri State University

13. CDE’s often meant spending many early Saturday mornings at workshops. Even though Saturdays were your day to sleep in, you still would wake up to go because you knew that you needed the practice.

SAE Project- Beekeeping Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project- Beekeeping
Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

14. While we are on the subject of CDE’s, let’s talk about having to give reasons. Reasons literally scared you to death. (To this day, I do not know what was so intimidating about walking up to a person and give them your reasons…it literally made me shake like a leaf.) However, reasons allowed you to work on your speaking abilities while using the knowledge you have about whatever it is you are judging. “I place this class of ….”

Hard work does pay off! Photo Courtesy of: Jessica Verch. Billings FFA Chapter

Hard work does pay off! Photo Courtesy of: Jessica Verch. Billings FFA Chapter

15. As you progress through high school, you begin realizing how lucky you are to be involved in FFA. Highlights of the school year almost always include FFA. You begin building friendships that are destined to last a lifetime. You begin realizing how much opportunity you have to succeed, as well as discover what talents you have been blessed with.

Chapter Banquet!  Photo Courtesy of: Haleigh Bruce, Fair Play FFA Chapter- Missouri

Chapter Banquet!
Photo Courtesy of: Haleigh Bruce, Fair Play FFA Chapter- Missouri

16. Your FFA advisor turns into one of your mentors. Most of us can honestly say that our FFA advisors were different than other teachers. It is hard to explain, but you really do not see them as teachers. They become your role model. Plus, how many people can deal with a group of high school kids on long trips without completely blowing a gasket? Yes, our FFA advisors are truly one of a kind.

My dad was my FFA Advisor!

My dad was my FFA Advisor!

17. FFA members spend a lot of time in those big, yellow school buses traveling to activities. This means even more opportunity to make memories with your friends. (And in some cases, see how far you can push the patience of your advisor.) You make some great memories and share a lot of laughs while on these buses. Plus, your bus becomes a country music jam session when a good song comes on the radio.

Many memories are made in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Many memories are made in FFA. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

18. Being able to go to the National FFA Convention was a HUGE deal. Many do not realize how big these conventions are. Plus, you make memories with friends that you will never forget. Most of the time, convention also meant traveling to other neat places. In Louisville- Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger; and in Indianapolis: Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Home of the Indianapolis Colts and the American FFA Degree Ceremony when National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis.

Lucas Oil Stadium, Home of the Indianapolis Colts and the American FFA Degree Ceremony when National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis.

19. When you hear the phrase “sea of blue,” you do not think of an ocean or body of water. You think about all the blue jackets you see at national convention.

"Sea of Blue Jackets" Indianapolis, Indiana  2009 National FFA Convention

“Sea of Blue Jackets”
Indianapolis, Indiana
2009 National FFA Convention

20. National conventions equal the opportunity to go to HUGE trade shows. These trade shows allow you to learn about various agricultural schools, companies and organizations, as well as allow you to get a lot of “free stuff” and even meet celebrities. They are so fun!

Eli Young Band visits trade show at 2009 National FFA Convention

Eli Young Band visits trade show at 2009 National FFA Convention

21. As you get closer to graduating high school, you begin striving to win a proficiency award for your SAE. You have worked hard and when your proficiency wins area and goes on to state, you realize that hard work does pay off. For the few who win state and go on to nationals, the feeling of accomplishment is beyond compare.

Brittany Groves, state proficiency winner in dairy with Stephanie Bos, State FFA Degree Recipient Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

Brittany Groves, state proficiency winner in dairy with Stephanie Bos, State FFA Degree Recipient
Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Bos, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

22. Finding out you will be receiving your State FFA Degree is sort of like winning state in an athletic event. (Okay, maybe that was not the best analogy to use, but it is a big deal!) You have that “I did it” feeling and are beyond excited to walk across the stage at your state convention to receive your degree.

State FFA Degree Ceremony at the 2013 Missouri FFA Convention

State FFA Degree Ceremony at the 2013 Missouri FFA Convention

23. The American FFA Degree is the highest achievement an FFA member can receive. Receiving this is seriously one of the greatest feelings ever. You know you made your chapter proud, your parents proud and your community proud. Walking across that national stage hearing the screams of your parents, friends and members of your FFA chapter is something you will never forget.

American FFA Degree Ceremony. Congrats Erin!  Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

American FFA Degree Ceremony. Congrats Erin!
Photo Courtesy of- Erin Mullins, West Nodaway FFA Chapter- Missouri

24. The last time you wear your FFA jacket is a bittersweet moment. You realize just how much you will miss everything about FFA. (Do not be surprised if you shed a few tears.) You realize just how much FFA did for you and molded you into the person you are today. You think about the memories, the friendships and the accomplishments you have experienced during your FFA career. Even though you are sad it is over, you realize that those memories will stay with you forever, your friendships will continue and those accomplishments will benefit you the rest of your life. Plus, you know there is still opportunity for you to remain involved!

Honorary FFA Degree is awarded to Joyce Cutright.  Photo Courtesy of- Joyce Cutright, Director of Missouri FFA Convention Media Room and Per Course Agricultural Communications Instructor at Missouri State University

Honorary FFA Degree is awarded to Joyce Cutright.
Photo Courtesy of- Joyce Cutright, Director of Missouri FFA Convention Media Room and Per Course Agricultural Communications Instructor at Missouri State University

25. FFA provided you with much more than you could have ever imagined. You have an understanding about the importance of agriculture, you have acquired skills – leadership, knowledge, teamwork and dedication – that will positively affect your future endeavors, and you are inspired to make a difference. FFA is a big deal and a true blessing, there is no doubt.

FFA makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!  Photo Courtesy of Kerstine Whittaker, Republic FFA Chapter- Missouri

FFA makes me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!
Photo Courtesy of Kerstine Whittaker, Republic FFA Chapter- Missouri

As you can see, FFA is a special organization that has impacted and influenced thousands. The opportunities within FFA are abundant. You can travel. You can gain life skills. You can learn. You can grow.
What has FFA done for you? What are some of your fondest memories? I hope this serves as a way for you to reflect on your personal experiences within the FFA. I also hope this makes you realize just how lucky we are to have an organization like this available for students across the nation to be involved in.

Community Service Photo Courtesy of- Jessica Verch, Billings FFA Chapter

Community Service
Photo Courtesy of- Jessica Verch, Billings FFA Chapter

In honor of FFA week, I just want to take a moment to thank the National FFA Organization. Thank you FFA for providing me with some of the best memories of my high school career. Thank you FFA for the opportunities. Thank you FFA for the good times. Thank you for the laughs.

I am FFA proud. Are you? Share this if you are!

Until next time, and God Bless You All!
~Ali~

My parents were my inspiration to be so involved in FFA.

My parents were my inspiration to be so involved in FFA.

– I am a proud FFA alumnus from the Billings, Missouri FFA Chapter and the daughter of Alby and Angela Bos. My dad is the current FFA advisor at Billings High School and was an active FFA member during his high school career. My mom was also an active FFA member in high school and was even the first woman to win the National Dairy Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award. In addition, I have one cousin and several good friends who teach agriculture. So, FFA means more to me than many realize!

Shelby Lea Estep. Wonderful young lady who loved FFA. She is greatly missed by many <3  Photo Courtesy of- Shawna Estep, Marionville, Mo.

Shelby Lea Estep. Wonderful young lady who loved FFA. She is greatly missed by many ❤
Photo Courtesy of- Shawna Estep, Marionville, Mo.

This post is dedicated to a very special young lady who was taken from this Earth way too early. Shelby Lea Estep was someone who was truly passionate about FFA and wore that blue jacket with pride wherever she went. I was fortunate to go on a few trips with this girl, as well as see her at fairs in the area. FFA meant so much to her, and I am truly honored to be able to write something to dedicate to her memory.

I looked through all of our pictures trying to find the best one and seeing them all brought back so many emotions. FFA taught me so many things that I will carry with me forever.. and I’m so blessed and beyond thankful to have experienced three years with this girl (Shelby) by my side, and one with her in my heart. – Anna Brown, Marionville FFA Chapter, Missouri

Other Photos of FFA Members in Action!

SAE Project Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri

SAE Project
Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter-  Missouri

"Walking across that National FFA Convention stage is something I will never forget.."  -Alison Bos

“Walking across that National FFA Convention stage is something I will never forget..” -Alison Bos

Washington Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C. Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Washington Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C.
Photo Courtesy of- Kristy Sivils, Pierce City FFA Chapter- Missouri

Being in FFA meant having the opportunity to travel to national convention. You usually get to go visit attractions while you are there. While in Louisville, my chapter visited Churchill Downs!

Being in FFA meant having the opportunity to travel to national convention. You usually get to go visit attractions while you are there. While in Louisville, my chapter visited Churchill Downs!

FFA_14

2007-2008 Area 12 Officers at Camp Rising Sun in Missouri

Trips to places like the National Ag Hall of Fame are example of field trips FFA chapters take.

Trips to places like the National Ag Hall of Fame are example of field trips FFA chapters take.

Comments

  1. Awesome article, Alison. It brought back many, many fond memories of my years in FFA — trips to State and National Convention, contests, judging — and reasons!!! Yikes! Thank you for the trip down memory lane — and thank you, FFA, for giving me a great head-start in life!

  2. I think you covered it all! Great job! You would of loved National Convention in KC. Feel very fortunate that I got to attend while it was there, but also enjoyed attending in Louisville. Keep up the great work you are doing Agvocating!

  3. Cindy Bonnet says:

    I am Shelby’s cousin from IL. My husband, I and our three children were all in FFA. It taught us so much and we loved learning and being with our friends. We all were officers too. It is a great organization that we are proud to be a part of. We still have our jackets. Thank you for remembering Shelby in such a nice way. God bless!

  4. Shelby Estep ❤️

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