If you follow any ag blog, have a friend who is of the agricultural persuasion, or have a person in your life who was ever in FFA, you already know that it's National FFA Week.
If you don't have any of those, your life probably has marched on without knowing that it's FFA week, but you should be aware, because, in my 36 years of life, a large portion of friends and acquaintances who have been involved in FFA sing its praises.
From their good jobs.
With eloquent words.
Seriously. I scoffed at FFA in high school...and my dad was a college ag teacher, and a former FFA advisor.
Pfft...why would I need to be in FFA? It's just the ag kids. I don't have time. I don't need it, and I don't think navy and black go well together.
Did that sound ridiculous?
Now navy and black are ALL OVER THE PLACE.
Seriously, not having any experience in FFA, and then coming into my marriage with Mr. FFA leads me to a different relationship with this organization.
No longer do I view it as a hick club. No longer do I consider the time spent in FFA activities as less important than sports or music or whatever. No longer do I p-shaw at navy and black paired together. Bless their hearts, it WAS 1928...the folks probably didn't have but one pair of pants anyway.
National FFA Week is a big week here for my family, as Mr. Webel is "celebrating" it with his students by pizza parties, contest practices, workshops, etc. In other words, I'm a single mom. However, that's okay. This organization is time consuming, on both sides of the coin. The teachers spend countless hours prepping their students, attending trainings, contests, and planning lessons for class as well. The kids, however, is what has amazed me in my new relationship with FFA. "Kids" is a relative term, too. These high school students are some of the most mature, well spoken, focused kids I have met. They balance work, school, and duties in a club that's not just another club to be put on their resume. It's a club that's prepping them for a career path.
I'm not joking. Some of my best friends, professionals I look up to, and just great people are FFA alumni. The training and time management and people skills these students receive by participating in FFA are beyond what you'd learn being a part of a team or on a stage. Now, I'm not discounting other extra curricular activities, as I am a believer in athletics and music and art, but FFA is more career prep oriented by nature. Grounded in agriculture, it began as the Future Farmers of America, but has morphed into a club that prepares students for business management, public speaking, defending their choices and beliefs by prepared and extemporaneous responses. Joe's Parliamentary Procedure team is not just preparing to win a contest, their prepping to be board members and know how to follow the correct procedure a meeting should follow.
It's pretty amazing, really.
So, while I'm not an FFA alumni, I have a house full of former and future FFA-ers. Long ago, I thought it was just the ag crowd that needed to be a part of this group. I was absolutely incorrect. Tractor driving and cattle and crops are a part of FFA and its tenets, but, as my friend Katie so eloquently put it in her blog, "Cows are not required."
Happy National FFA Week, friends. If you're not celebrating yourself, find a friend who was impacted by FFA and ask them about their experience. I assure you, it will be more about the friends, relationships, and skills acquired than the surface, snap judgement I once made.
However, I am going to ask about maybe getting a nice caramel color to replace the black pants.