By Michele F. Mihaljevich
INDIANAPOLIS – During National FFA Week, Feb. 18-25, the organization’s members will have a chance to honor their teachers and advisers, and explain how their chapter is serving the community.
They will also be able to share information about the benefits of joining FFA, connect with an FFA alum who inspires them, and complete service projects.
“FFA week is an opportunity for our members to share what FFA is within the school and community, as well as thanking their supporters,” explained Kristy Meyer, communications manager for the National FFA Organization. “In some cases, that’s alumni or just those in the community who offer financial support or serve as mentors. The members may host a pancake breakfast for the community or do an in-school recruitment drive.”
National FFA offers suggestions for activities each day of the week. On the 20th, for example, members are encouraged to participate in service projects.
“It’s a chance to give back to the community through service,” Meyer stated. “It’s Presidents Day, so some schools may be closed. FFA members can take the day to do a service project, such as work in a food bank.”
On the 22nd, members are asked to share how an ag teacher or adviser has impacted their lives. “Our ag advisers are so important to our members,” she noted. “They serve as mentors, coaches, leaders. Without those advisers we wouldn’t have a program.”
FFA suggests members wear blue on the 24th, and on the 25th, they’re asked to share photos from the week’s celebration. Members are encouraged to post on social media and to use hashtags such as #FFAWeek.
“In addition to sharing whatever they do on social media, they’re learning how to share with the community, to work with local media to cover or promote the events,” Meyer said.
Individual schools may opt to do other activities instead of some of the events suggested by National FFA, she said. “The main thing is we want them to celebrate FFA and let the community know what it is,” Meyer noted.
FFA’s six national officers will visit with members in 12 states next week. They will deliver speeches and participate in workshops, according to the organization.
During the week, Tractor Supply customers may help fund the organization’s Grants for Growing program by purchasing an FFA paper emblem at a store. The emblems will be available in any denomination.
Under the program, chapters can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to be used in one of three areas: Grow Your Classroom, Grow Your FFA Chapter or Grow Your Ag Awareness. Tractor Supply sponsors the program.
The first National FFA Week was in 1948.
“FFA is an opportunity to grow leadership skills, explore different career paths, an opportunity to give back to the community, and allows members to explore leadership opportunities while making new friends along the way,” Meyer said.
At more than 850,000 members in the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, FFA membership is at an all-time high, she said. The organization has nearly 9,000 chapters.
To be eligible, students must attend an ag education class in their middle or high schools. “The definition of an ag education class depends on the school district,” Meyer pointed out. “The subject matter is pretty diverse.”
For more information on National FFA Week, visit www.ffa.org/national-ffa-week/.