For the Waupaca FFA in east-central Wisconsin, serving others and building a stronger community isn’t just a concept – it’s a way of life.
One way the chapter accom- plishes its goal of living to serve is by organizing and presenting free community events each year, including Farm Fest and Day on the Farm, both of which are designed to engage, educate and entertain residents of all ages.
Taking place during the fall, Farm Fest is a daylong event that draws more than 1,000 people from across the Waupaca community. The 2019 event was held at Turners Fresh Market, where guests enjoyed autumn activities such as hayrides, pumpkin picking, corn maze exploration and gourd decorating. A shuttle took attendees to the nearby Riley Crest Farms, a working dairy farm that offers opportunities for milking cows and goats, and features a petting zoo and educational booths.
“Along with planning Farm Fest with both Turners Fresh Market and Riley Crest Farms and collabo- rating with them to put it together and make it successful, our chapter promoted the event and did our best to draw as many community members as possible,” says Everlah Riley, president of the Waupaca FFA and chair of the 2019 Farm Fest. “We see this event as a great way to share agriculture with Waupaca, and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Held in the spring and promoting agricultural literacy, the Day on the Farm event gives approximately 180 fourth-graders from the school district of Waupaca the chance to get hands-on farm experience.
According to Waupaca FFA advisor Hannah Waldron, the chapter has organized a Day on the Farm outing for 20 years, with the goal of providing a way for the community’s elementary school students to connect with production agriculture in new ways.
“Farm Fest and Day on the Farm are our chapter’s biggest community service events each year, and they require our members to put in a significant amount of work,” Waldron says. “Our members are passionate about giving back, because they love this community and want to do their part to make sure everyone – no matter what age, background or income level – has access to something fun that will enrich his or her life.”
In addition to organizing Farm Fest and Day on the Farm, the Waupaca FFA has helped tend to a community garden that supplied produce to an area food pantry and local senior care facilities, and the chapter plans to continue finding opportunities to give back to the community going forward.
“I continue to be amazed and impressed by our members’ selflessness and willingness to volunteer their time and energy for the benefit of others,” Waldron says.
Living to Serve
Join FFA chapters across the country in our challenge to complete 930,000 volunteer hours by the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo. Visit FFA.org to participate.