National FFA Week makes an impact and showcases Colorado FFA members
The blue corduroy jackets stand out, and the emblem is unmistakable. FFA members wear this jacket proudly, and from Feb. 18-25, the members will be celebrating FFA week with their schools and communities.
“The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday, and encompasses February 22, Washington’s birthday,” according to the National FFA.
“This year the theme for Colorado FFA is “Envision Your Impact.”
We, as the State Officer Team, are utilizing National FFA Week to encourage Colorado FFA Members to start thinking about how they can leave an impact on those around them and push them to take action and leave an impact in the agricultural industry,” said Shelby Cochran, Colorado FFA State Reporter.
She added, “Agriculture is playing a strong role in leading Colorado and the U.S. out of the economic down turn. We need to support what is already here, and do our best to help support the rest of the world. Next year Colorado will be exporting to 160 countries. No matter how you support agriculture, big or small, it’s important and appreciated.”
During FFA week, members educate the public about agriculture, and their local chapter. Members usually hold a teacher appreciate breakfast, have “Ag Olympics” games for students to participate in, speak to the public about ag, hold fundraisers and perform community service.
For the Durango FFA chapter, FFA week is a chance for the students to show the school and their community what they do.
“FFA Week is the highlight of the winter trimester for the Ag students at DHS! It is an awesome opportunity to expose our community and school to the value of the FFA and Agricultural Education. My students also love having the chance to show off their accomplishments and celebrate their chapter,” said KayDe Naylon, Durango FFA adviser.
The Durango chapter has events every day. Their events included an Official Dress Day, where all students wear their official dress to school and then have a chapter meeting. They also had a Tough Enough to Wear Pink day, where all students wear pink and have a lunch for all of the Special Education Students.
For Staff Appreciation Day, students wore their chapter t-shirts, made breakfast for all of the DHS staff and the District Office staff, and sent out FFA “MVP” gifts to nominated teachers. On Greenhand day, new members were celebrated and received their Greenhand Degree. On Blue and Gold day, members wore blue and gold, served lunch at the senior center, and passed out rootbeer floats and cookies to the student body after school.
Throughout the week, the chapter also held a canned food drive, sent out agricultural facts to the staff, and promoted FFA through the other campus clubs.
“My favorite part of Durango’s FFA week is the community service events and outreach programming. One event we always put on is a large staff appreciation breakfast, the kids have an incredible time serving and thanking our staff. We also put on a luncheon that brings together our FFA students and our Special Education students. They share lunch and then participate in some fun Ag-themed activities. Another great event is our community service project, serving lunch at the Durango Senior Center,” said Naylon.
The Durango FFA chapter was established in 1975, and has 95 FFA members, which is an all time high. Over 300 students are enrolled in agricultural education classes.
The chapter in Cedaredge, Colo., has also been very involved. During FFA week they held an all school barbeque, went to the elementary school for Ag in the Classroom, had a teacher appreciate breakfast, had a middle school barbeque, had a Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry and Member Auction, offered a mechanical bull for the high school students to ride and held a chapter trap shoot.
“FFA Week is a chance to celebrate and showcase our organization and members while also educating the public and other schools about FFA and agriculture. The members enjoy the week because they get to highlight the organization that they have a passion for, and also work with each other and younger students,” said Katie Johnson, adviser for the Cedaredge FFA chapter.
She continued, “FFA week is important to the community to continue generating awareness of agriculture and our organization. We host a huge community event that also allows fellowship for the community members while supporting our program.”
The member auction is a tradition in many FFA chapters, and members are auctioned off for a day of labor. “This evening is one of pride for our members. We serve a huge feast of oysters, chicken, beans, potatoes, and all the sides you could imagine. Following dinner, our members are auctioned off for a day of labor. To see the excitement in the members and the support of the community is awesome,” said Johnson.
Another chapter that holds a member auction is the Brush FFA chapter. This year, all 69 members of the chapter were sold, as well as the adviser, Mikayla Johnson.
Brush also held several other events, including tractor day, where students drove their tractors to school instead of their cars. They also offered a petting zoo, daily Ag Olympics at lunch, Greenhand Initiation Day, and a Western Wear day. They also had penny wars, and the teacher who losses will be dressing up as Dolly Parton for a day.
FFA Week is important to the members of the chapter, as well as the community in Brush. “In our community, we do have big ag supporters. A lot of our students are inner city kids though. They don’t understand what FFA can do for them. FFA is neat. We have a lot going on and can help you with your future, even if you don’t want to go into ag,” said Mikayla Johnson.
Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to more than 523,000 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,487 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st U.S. Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture.
Dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education, the National FFA Organization’s motto gives members 12 short words to live by as they experience the opportunities in the organization – Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
“I think FFA is by far the most incredible student organization in the nation. What other group brings together students from all walks of life and teaches them to value tradition, morals and ethics. FFA students are constantly the cream of the crop on American high school campuses. I also feel that it is so important to keep youth involved in the ever changing Agriculture industry, Agriculture is the backbone of our country and we need to best leaders for tomorrow,” said Naylon.
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