Collegiate chapters give back

Collegiate FFA chapters help students pursue career pathways once they enter college. In addition, collegiate members are devoted to community service, much like they were during their traditional FFA involvement. All across the country, Collegiate FFA chapters are finding different ways to practice service and philanthropy.

The University of Wyoming Collegiate FFA Chapter gave back to their community by building a playground at the Albany County Fairgrounds in Laramie. The playground project was a memorial for a 9-year-old who passed away after an accident on the family’s ranch. “Cowboy” Rowdy Smallwood’s story moved many people in Wyoming, including this collegiate chapter’s members. The chapter was provided with the Cameco Cowboy State Challenge grant through the Wyoming FFA Foundation.

The chapter’s inspiration was reflected in the final paragraph of the FFA Creed, “I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.” The FFA Creed inspires students and chapters as a whole to give back to their communities.

The Murray State University Collegiate FFA Chapter was another good example of living the Creed with their Extreme Yard Makeover public service project. Since 2008, the project has been a combined effort with MSU’S Collegiate FFA Chapter, the Horticulture Club and generous donations from Murray area businesses.

The Extreme Yard Makeover has helped improve the Murray, Kentucky, community, adding landscaping at the Weaks Community Center and the Girl Scout cabin. In 2009, Collegiate FFA members helped to clean debris from a severe ice storm that caused extensive property damage in the area. The chapter hopes that the Extreme Yard Makeover will continue to provide assistance for the community for years to come.

One key component that helped these two chapters serve their communities was contributions from outside resources. Every individual, club and chapter can volunteer, but projects like these cannot happen without financial support. Community service requires many helping hands to come together with donations of both time and money. The continuum of service allows collegiate members to donate time and volunteer throughout their college career. Once collegiate members enter their professional careers, the continuum of service remains with the hope of their support through financial donations.

Collegiate FFA wants to learn about other chapters’ community service efforts. Send information and pictures to Lindsay Calhoun, lcalhoun@ffa.org.