The spacious, mute auditorium is suddenly turned into a buzzing social center as the large double doors are swung open by thousands of enthusiastic young members of the National FFA Organization. Although the topics of their conversations may range from discussions on recent use of Global Positioning Satellites in tractors, to arguments over the greatest country singer of all time, these young people all have one thing in common. They are all wearing the blue corduroy jacket of the FFA, proudly displaying the FFA emblem on the back, embroidered with blue and gold thread. These members are standing in the center of Freedom Hall; the main auditorium used to hold the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. They are anxiously awaiting the first session of the first National Convention to be held in Kentucky.
Amidst the sea of blue and gold, one member stands silently in awe of the multitude of people. The sleeves of his blue jacket hang stiffly at his side and the copper zipper shines brightly; both signs of a brand new jacket-- a brand new FFA member. His face looks passive as if he really doesn't know how to react, but the sparkle in his eyes betrays his excitement. This is the first FFA activity he has attended as a high school freshman. To the average person, the boy looks quiet and shy. However, a seed of strength is beginning to take root inside this young man. Through being involved in this convention as well as many more FFA activities in the young man's career in FFA, a world of possibilities is opening up for his future.
The National Future Farmers of America program was started in 1929 by a group of young people desiring an organization in which they could take agricultural education classes, practice their livestock, meats, dairy, and equine judging skills and spend time with other young people interested in agriculture and related issues. They also desired to learn practical life skills as well as leadership and personal growth.
FFA Members; Why Are We Here? 3
The first national convention of the Future Farmers of America was held in the old Baltimore Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. There were more than 1,500 vocational agriculture students in attendance at this convention. This organization of young people was "destined to become one of the nation's great forces toward the development of citizenship, leadership, the improvement of agriculture, community service, the development of pride in agricultural occupations and the utilization of groups of students through the FFA to work for the improvement of rural communities and the nation." (Tenney).
Even at the early stages of its development, the organization set its standards high- higher than just simple classes which taught about agriculture. They had the vision of changing young people's lives through teaching leadership classes, providing opportunities to attend leadership conferences and promoting individual and team involvement in the chapter's community and...