Past WLC Participants | National FFA Organization
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​Past WLC Participants​​​

Past WLC Participants

Through the years, thousands of students have benefited in many ways from their time spent at the Washington Leadership Conference. But, don't just take our word for it! Read what past participants have said about their experiences:

Alanna Perry:

The activity that changed my life at the conference was the 3 class dinner where three groups were given 3 different meals. High 3 courses, middle class meal you served yourself and then lower class where they were given only rice out of a bowl which they had to eat with their hands. I felt terrible seeing that this and knowing that it happens EVERYDAY even in America. Poverty stricken people suffer without food, water and even shelter. This is one of the things that the conference has helped me to see.

Kayla Smith:

WLC taught me that every little bit counts to someone in the world. I learned to value people and that there are many needs around the world and many people to help. I thoroughly enjoyed WLC and would encourage everyone to go it next year.

Brandon Laidig:

At WLC helping the homeless when they couldn’t help themselves will always stick with me because it taught me a valuable lesson that if you put a little effort into something for a little bit of time, you can get a lot accomplished. With only 240 people picking the corn field for 45 minutes we picked a truckload full of corn. With that being said, imagine how much more we could’ve picked with more people or more time. Once again, this experience will stick with me forever and I will always be happy to have gone and been a part of the conference.

Ian McCleish:

WLC showed us that there is more in the world than what happens in my state of Iowa. Kids are starving in other countries while we waste food and spend money on stuff we don’t need. It also made me find appreciate the fun things in life no matter how bad it may be.

Dillon Thiner:

The Washington Leadership Conference had a major impact on me. Through the activities, meeting new people, and the community service project my leadership capabilities grew tremendously. With the big groups and the smaller community groups and the things I saw, it gave me ideas about I can do to change things. I especially liked the service project that we did, which was picking corn to feed the homeless. I brought this idea back to my chapter because sweet corn grows good in Iowa. The conference gave me other ideas for service projects in my community both on a small and worldly scale. WLC taught me to appreciate what I have in life because I have so much more than the majority of the people in the world. Most people don’t even get one meal a day while I get three or four. It also taught me that America has a need for food for our homeless and poor, not just in other countries but hunger is all around us. We just don’t know or see it.

The memorials also taught me to have a greater respect for those who fought so hard for each and every one of us.

Phillip Schmitt:

WLC was an eye opener for me. It helped me to learn more about how we could take some of the things we would do and implement them into my community. I also learned about the many people who are starving in the world and how much one person can be an influence and make a difference. I also learned that city life was not for me. I will stay in my rural area. City life is just too big a hassle. I made many new friends that I still talk to today.

Kim Kenobbie:

WLC helped me to be more confident in myself so that I can achieve my goals in life. It also helped me to see how people not like me actually live. It has made me want to make a difference in the world so fewer people will have to eat off of the floor and they can afford to eat a decent meal as least once a day. Learning about all of the issues in the world made me want to make a difference. For example people with cancer need all of the support that we can give them. Even if it seems we can’t do a lot it will make a difference for the one with cancer. Thinking about the people around the world that are suffering right at this moment made me want to help in any way I can. I found out that even just a little help can mean the world to those in need.

Lindsay Kestner

WLC may have benefitted my chapter but mostly me. The thing I learned was how to set goals, meet new people and to not take things for granted. We were asked to set goals and mine was to help others out more and to take care of others in need. I have been following through with helping others. If it were not for goal setting, it would not be getting accomplished right now. The leaders really pushed how world hunger is happening and we need to do something about it. It really opened my eyes when I had to eat rice and red beans while other had a fancy meal .I learned to appreciate the food that we are given and not to waste. Third world countries are being taken for granted about their food supply and that makes me want to help them out. I learned taking hunger for granted is not the answer. Everyone needs to help everyone in life.

Krista Schealler:

The impact that WLC had on me was overwhelming. They took us out of our comfort zone every moment they could, training us to be leaders. They showed us we weren’t the only ones needing help, that there was a bigger picture and that we could do something about it. During one of the group talks we entered a room and we were surrounded by images of needs. We saw world hunger, drugs, child abuse, recycling. Images were plastered all over the walls. We walked around the room and took a close look at each one, some of us started to cry. This was the moment where we all got to know each other on a deeper level and hear each other’s stories. We started out as a bunch of FFA kids from different states, and grew into a close knit family.

Kizzie Johnson:

Washington Leadership Conference was quite an experience! This was my first time on an airplane and it was really exciting to me. When we arrived in Washington I was nervous and apprehensive. Growing up in the country is very different from the city. In the country you can basically do anything you want, and you can see for miles with nothing in your view. Washington was a culture shock to me. I worried about being so far from home. It took me awhile to get used to being around people that I have never met before. I’m somewhat of a shy person but after the first few days and working and socializing with different groups I became more comfortable. What I dislike was being busy the entire time. I love being kept busy but all of the walking and meetings tired me out!

My favorite part of WLC was going to see all of the monuments. I had seen them on TV but to see them in person was an unbelievable experience.

Allison Ackerman:

The impact that the conference had on me was to make a difference in the world. To realize that we are lucky to have and we should be thankful for it. We should help out our communities and make them a better place to live. I realized that when things get worse for us we need to take a look at a different country and know that we still won’t have it as bad as the people in other countries.

I had a hard time having a good time at the meetings because my grandparent passed away while I was on the trip. The meetings were a little long and I wanted to learn how to help our own communities but we mostly discussed how to help people in other countries. In the end, it was a very good learning experience and I learned things that I didn’t know. I had fun meeting and making new friends.

Sarah Van Der Berg:

The purpose of the conference was to help FFA members become more active in their chapter and community and open our eyes to a different side of the world that we were not normally accustomed to. Being able to know that there are people in the world suffering motivated me to make a difference in the community. They gave us tools and tips on how to make a difference in our communities. This included small things such as donating one hour a week to a charity. I also changed, I was shy and not outgoing but meeting new people helped me discover who I truly am. I meet new people and gained confidence I needed to change the world and become a better leader.