Next week is the Clay County Agricultural Fair – it is a highlight of our county and it is something everyone looks forward to visiting each year. While you are there, you might run into some of my favorite young people….FFA and 4H members. I posted a while back about my experience in 4H. Now, here are a few thoughts I posted on social media several years back during National FFA Week:
This week is National FFA week – such a fun and exciting time for agricultural education! I’m not sure why I’m so sentimental about National FFA Week this year but, I’ve thought about it a lot this weekend. As I think about National FFA week I think about the FFA members who wore their blue corduroy jacket with pride even through they probably got made fun of …… who, when they joined FFA in 7th grade wouldn’t look you in the face but, now as 20-year olds are going to college to become ag. teachers. I think of the 8th grader at her first State FFA Convention who said “I’m gonna be a State FFA Officer one day” and she did. I think of the 7th grade girls that sat in the middle school parade of champions session during their first State FFA Convention and watched the top 5 teams go on stage when they got 6th place but decided right then they would be on stage next year and they did!
I think about the parents who will run to Walmart to find off-black panty-hose at 10pm or sling coleslaw for chicken dinners for hours on end. I think about school administrators who will “kiss pigs” or attend after-school events, FFA banquets, and state convention to support their students. I think about CTE Directors, school board members, and superintendents who have vision for agriculture education and don’t put it in the box that it has been in years past. I think about Alumni members, community members, and advisory committee members who give of their time, talent, and treasure because they too “believe in the future of agriculture”. They write checks, judge contests, host field trips, serve as guest speakers, fund scholarships, offer internships and that’s just the beginning!
Finally, I think of FFA Advisors who even though they are off work on President’s Day will be at school preparing for a long week to inspire students to be all they can be. The FFA Advisors who have to be parents, counselors, tutors, banks, chefs, chauffeurs, vets, and more. The FFA Advisors who fix busted pipes on Christmas Day, spend the first Saturday in January tagging in pigs, who never have a clean vehicle because of hay and soil, and who hear the FFA Creed or OCC in their sleep.
So this week when you get frustrated with the state of our country, find a FFA member and thank them for visiting a nursing home, working in a food pantry, having a productive SAE or delivering a speech instead of being a nuisance to society. Find a FFA parent who supports their FFA member and is raising them right instead of expecting the school to do it. Find a business or community member who has supported these students and buy their product or vote for them! Find a principal or other administrator and thank them for showing up to events to show their support for kids doing the right thing. Find an Ag teacher who believes that teaching Ag is “the hardest job you will ever love” and ask them what you can do to support their program because you too “can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task”