If you’ve been waiting for your moment to shine in FFA, there’s no time like the present. It’s a new year, so why not make a resolution to take your FFA experience to a whole new level in 2019? The rewards of putting in the extra effort will likely surprise you.
Cody Sanders, an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Sugar-Salem High School in Sugar City, Idaho, shares six ways to make this your best-ever year in FFA.
- Serve on a chapter committee.
“Contrary to what many people think, an FFA chapter does not belong to the advisor or the officers; it belongs to the members,” Sanders says. “Getting involved by serving on a committee allows you to give input, meet people and gain experience that will serve you later in your high school career. It also gives you teamwork skills you’ll need outside of FFA, both in high school and your future career.”
- Build an awesome SAE project.
It doesn’t matter if you’re raising animals or doing a research project, building an SAE project teaches you responsibility and opens up avenues for you to receive recognition at local, state and national levels.
“One student from my hometown chapter thought outside the box and raised frogs for a local wildlife refuge for his SAE,” Sanders says. “Because of that experience, he decided to pursue a career in natural resources.”
- Apply for an award – or several.
When you’ve put in hours of hard work to reach a goal, it feels great when others recognize it. FFA’s extensive awards program has awards at all levels, and you can learn more about them at FFA.org/awards.
- Get involved in a service project.
“In FFA, we talk a lot about the FFA model, living to serve and how important it is to give back to our local communities,” Sanders says. “Serving others makes you more grateful. Our school does a project called Operation Merry Christmasto provide gifts for kids who otherwise wouldn’t receive one. Last year, our school raised over $19,000, and our high school seniors got to go buy the gifts, wrap and deliver them.”
- Compete in a CDE or LDE.
Career Development Events (CDEs) will give you a boost with job skills in everything from communications to mechanics, while Leadership Development Events (LDEs) create situations for you to demonstrate your abilities in public speaking, decision making, communication and your knowledge of agriculture and FFA.
“CDEs and LDEs teach you study skills and help you understand how you learn best, which will help you be successful in college later on,” Sanders says.
- Volunteer for the Courtesy Corps at your state FFA convention.
As a volunteer, you’ll make friends while helping with various tasks, such as doing guest registration and helping convention attendees find their seats on the arena floor.
“You get to work with students from other chapters around your state, which is great for the social and networking aspects,” Sanders says. “You’ll make friends with people you otherwise may never have met.”