The short month of February always seems to fly by. This year is no different and fortunately the weather has helped by being more mild and less snowy than in some recent years. February packs in a lot of special days and events. One particular event coming up next week is National FFA Week, Feb. 22-29.
My family has been active in FFA my entire life. My father changed schools his senior year of high school so he could take what was then vocational agriculture. His previous school did not offer that relatively new program back in 1937, so he attended a neighboring school that had just started the class.
My older brothers were all members of FFA, as was I. At the time, the full name was Future Farmers of America. In 1988 the name was changed to simply FFA, in order to reflect the more diverse membership and focus on leadership, personal growth and career success. My two oldest brothers taught ag education for the first years of their working careers and my other two brothers went on to serve as Nebraska State FFA officers.
As our children started high school, FFA was a good fit for each of them, even though they would not all pursue careers in agriculture. Being involved in the leadership experiences helped them develop skills they will use for a lifetime. Career and leadership development events ranging from public speaking to floriculture and ag sales gave each of them the chance to analyze, brainstorm, and find solutions. Each of our children met lifelong friends through their involvement in FFA. Our youngest daughter, Anna, has friends across the country that she has met at the National FFA Convention. Another benefit of FFA was parliamentary procedure training. If any of you have ever been at a meeting where there is a lack of this skill you know how frustrating it can be to get business done during the meeting.
Perhaps the most important lesson of FFA revolves around the motto: “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” That is a powerful statement and sums up most, if not all goals in life. For me, it is a good reminder of how I need to approach each and every day. If you have a local FFA chapter I hope you can offer your support as they celebrate FFA week. — Ruth Ready