The Living to Serve Chapter Challenge — a nationwide initiative to complete 930,000 collective service hours before the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo in 2020 — kicked off at the 2019 National FFA Convention & Expo with an Are You Ready? workshop.
To start, four teams of two people played “Dizzy Mummy.” With blue and yellow rolls of streamers, the FFA member pairs had to wrap one person with the streamer like a mummy; whoever finished the roll fastest earned a small prize. This activity encouraged initiative and volunteerism, a catalyzing force for any service project.
FFA members then engaged in interactive games that promoted the challenge’s three steps: See It, Solve It and Share It. For See It, they played “Heads Up,” in which a member held up a card in front of their forehead and, with hints from teammates, had to guess the community issue on the front. The goal was to build awareness for community needs.
Next, groups raced to assemble a puzzle together for Solve It. The puzzles represented the different elements of a service project — community partners, funding, event planning, staffing and distribution — and how it takes a team to bring everything together.
For Share It, FFA members could share what they learned about the Living to Serve Chapter Challenge on social media to earn a T-shirt. And to wrap up, members brainstormed service projects for their chapters by tracing their hands and coming up with one idea for each finger. They shared service activities their chapters had previously done and what they could do over the next year for the challenge.
Mikaela Miller of the Pine Grove FFA Chapter in Ripley, Miss., said she attended the workshop because her chapter is interested in reaching out to its local community. Through the hand-tracing brainstorming session, Miller found an idea for its service project.
“I came up with what our chapter personally needed, and we decided it was food security,” Miller said. “There are a lot of low-income families in our community.”
Chapters looking for help coming up with their own service projects can find resources online. Some ideas: host a blood drive or coat drive, collect food for local pantries or host a 5K race to benefit a local charity.
“We also have grants that we give out … if money is a barrier,” says Stefonie Sebastian, an FFA education specialist. “[The grants] can help [chapters] facilitate these projects in their communities.”
Any active chapter can report volunteer hours and service project impacts from November 2019 until September 2020 to contribute to the nationwide goal of 930,000 hours of service.