***UPDATE 11/26/13: New article added to completed articles from convention. See bottom of post.
Just like a large portion of youth involved in agriculture, FFA played a large role in my leadership development and passion for the industry. This past week was the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo and as I was recollecting on the fun I have had in the FFA, I discovered that for the past six years, I have attending national convention. And in each of those years, I have had a different role as to why I was there!
2008 – First National Convention Experience
This was my first time traveling to Indianapolis with some members of the Otsego FFA Chapter.
2009 – Competing in general livestock evaluation contest
Through high school, I was active in livestock evaluation and our team won the state FFA contest to advance to the national contest held at convention! This was an amazing experience and even though we were 11th overall (and I was 22nd individually), we learned a lot and had a fun time judging.
2010 – National FFA Band
After graduating high school, I wanted to find a way to make it back to convention. I played in the state FFA band for two years and auditioning for the national band once before. I was determined to play in the National FFA Band that year. Thankfully, I was selected for playing my oboe! I made many new friends that year and was blessed with a new convention experience once more. I even auditioned and was selected to announce the band on stage during one of the sessions. Per usual, I represented Ohio by sharing an O-H on stage.
2011 – Delegate as a state FFA officer and American Degree recipient
The next year was one describe as my most memorable national conventions. Serving as a national delegate through my role as an Ohio FFA State Officer was one where I not only served in a leadership capacity to develop proposals for the organization, but I also made many more friends across the country who were also leaders from their prospective states! Even to this day, I keep in touch with many of them. In addition, me and my fellow officers made it into the national theme video
launched at convention! I may have injured myself in the process, but it was totally worth it. 🙂
What was more memorable than all the friends and fun was the moment I received my American FFA Degree. Holding that coveted American Degree key was a beautiful moment with the presence of my parents, who have supported me along the way.
2012 – Exhibitor for the Ohio State CFAES Booth
2013 – Newsroom Intern
This convention, I was in a behind-the-scenes role. I served as a reporter for the newsroom. Now, I can certainly say I love to write, but perhaps journalism isn’t the career for me. 🙂 Me and eight other interns worked behind the scenes to share the news of convention.
I like to think I had the most unique stories – keynote speakers, delegates sessions and more! Not only did I have the stressful, rewarding opportunity to interview University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, but I captured some photographs and share the stories that attendees and other FFA advocates may be interested in. I highly encourage you to look into the internship opportunities if you are of age and experience. It gave me a greater appreciation for all the goes into putting on a successful convention! Here are the stories I wrote during convention:
National FFA Delegates Have a Dynamic Experience
Rick Pitino Commits FFA Members to a Life of Leadership
Speed Painter Dan Dunn Thrills FFA Members at Convention
New Competition Showcases FFA Members’ Talent
9/11 Survivor Joe Torrillo Shares Life Lessons with Members
Case IH FFA Stage Paintings Sell for $1,000 Each
Get Back Up: Josh Sundquist Tells FFA Members to Buck Adversity
FFA Launches Give Blue Program During FFA Jacket’s 80th Anniversary
***NEW Katie Pratt Tells FFA Members to Lead in Agricultural Advocacy
2014 – ?
It is yet to be determined how I will be involved with the 2014 National FFA Convention & Expo. But, I do know that I am going to try my best to make it back and contribute yet another amazing event for an organization I know and love.