|By JANE HOUIN
MILLERSBURG, Ohio — FFA chapters across Ohio have made their plans and packed their bags. Along with thousands of other FFA members from across the country, they are heading to Indianapolis for the city’s first hosting of the National FFA Convention.
“We’re making history again, as the convention is moving for only the second time in almost 80 years,” said Jaime Chenevey, West Holmes FFA advisor in Millersburg, Ohio. “I really enjoyed Louisville and had gotten used to the area surrounding the convention hall. Seeing new places and visiting a new state is cool, but I will be surprised if we like it as much as Louisville.”
Though Chenevey herself was a fan of the Louisville convention site and is a bit tentative about the move to Indianapolis, her students are excited about the opportunity for new experiences.
“I really liked Louisville, but Indianapolis will be a change of scenery,” said Nikole Hanna, a West Holmes FFA junior from Shreve, Ohio. “Also, I hope that we do some touring in Indianapolis, because I have never been there before.”
So what kinds of touring will this Ohio chapter be doing on their first trip to Indianapolis?
“We’re going to be traveling to a large dairy outside of Celina, Ohio, visiting Purdue University - which will be a brand-new experience for the kids, and going horseback riding on the trip, as well as seeing many great speakers and convention sessions,” Chenevey said.
But no matter how exciting the tours and sightseeing area, the highlight of National FFA Convention seems to remain the sessions for the students.
“The most exciting thing about convention is seeing how many FFA members there really are and seeing the top CDE (Career Development Event) teams compete,” said Ella Waltman, a West Holmes FFA senior, who has been in the program for two years. This will be the Millersburg, Ohio student’s second trip to the National FFA Convention.
Hanna, who will be making her third trip to the National FFA Convention this year, agrees.
“I really enjoy the sessions during the convention,” said Hanna, who participates in parliamentary procedure and general livestock judging in her chapter. “I get to see all of the other chapters from around the United States, and it makes me proud to be one of them wearing that FFA jacket. I am very lucky to be involved in such an awesome organization.”
The excitement the National FFA Conven-tion fosters can be contagious and helps build stronger FFA chapters long after the students return home.
“Taking students to the convention allows them to travel and experience agriculture in other parts of the United States,” Chenevey said. “And it exposes them to the excitement of the National FFA Organization.”
“I gained knowledge on self-confidence and how we are the future,” said Waltman of her first trip to the National FFA Convention in Louisville. “It has allowed me to open up and be more outgoing.”
Those changes and enthusiasm can result in stronger involvement and more growth in the FFA program for members, which results in stronger individuals long after their FFA days are over.
“A future goal that I have is to become a state officer,” said Hanna, who plans to attend The Ohio State University and major in agriculture. “FFA has taught me responsibility and how to be a leader. I feel that it will help me in my future - whatever career path I choose.”
This farm news was published in the Oct. 18, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.