Bringing the Goat Home From National Convention


Natasha Mortenson, Morris Area FFA Advisor


Morris Area FFA Members returned to Minnesota after convention with inspiration, pride, new ideas AND a goat.  Each year I attend national convention I feel the same way I did in 1994, attending my first convention in Kansas City.  My hope for my students is that the “inspiration” seed, planted in me in 1994, is planted in them, and they are able to recall those feelings as they have new experiences in life.  But, what about the students who stay home when we travel?  How can they experience national convention, and perhaps have that “inspiration” seed planted in them too?


Josh Shipp, the keynote speaker at opening session, made an impression on my students attending convention.  Our “& a Goat” t-shirts were ordered as we returned!  They have made quite the conversation piece with students and staff!  When I saw Josh Shipp’s message was uploaded to SchoolTube, I immediately decided to show my students!  They were able to experience some of what the students attending convention experienced and receive some level of “inspiration.”  Technology has made it possible to give all our students, parents and community members a taste of convention during the festivities and after our return!      


This year our alumni president also attended national convention with us.  He was never able to attend as a member in high school, and he was amazed at his first convention experience.  The national officer retiring addresses were his favorite piece of convention.  His “inspiration” came from these heartfelt messages.  These can be shared with students as they watch RFD-TV, as well as when we return.  These messages can lead students to find some level of inspiration in their lives, as these messages are so easy to relate to for many students.  Why not share them!


Technology and RFD-TV has made national convention open to others that are not in attendance.   I had parents and past graduates texting me while I was at convention saying they saw Morris Area FFA members on television.  When I returned home, I had teachers and community members talking about the national convention as they had also saw it on RFD-TV.  What a great tool to use to get support for our FFA chapters and attendance at convention.  I can’t say I have come home any other year and with teachers in our district talking about how excited they were to see students on TV from our school receiving awards!  Next year I will make sure to leave a schedule with parents, teachers and students at home with times to “tune” in to the convention!  Building support isn’t any easier than that!


As I began to brainstorm for next year I decided to make a list to put in my national convention file.  Maybe you could use this list or make your own!  Let’s all make national convention an experience for everyone!


  1. Create a media schedule for parents, supporters and teachers of when to tune into radio interviews locally, RFD-TV, Twitter, Facebook and FFA Nation.
  2. Either tape speakers during the sessions (to use for classroom use only—no posting online) or find speakers on,, YouTube, etc. for students to listen to upon return.  (Recording could be a great job for students attending!)
  3. Print the transcripts of national officer retiring addresses and make a great leadership assignment.
  4. Collect college brochures (again…have students do it) and create a college scavenger hunt for all classes.  Students can also be introduced to opportunities across the country!
  5. Collect fundraising brochures (students can help here too) and have students work to find the “best” money makers!  Great math incorporation.  Super project for an accounting/business class!
  6. Collect info on careers and use in a Intro to Ag class!