On Oct. 25-28, nine Urbana FFA students had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the 90th National FFA Convention. The 90th National FFA Convention consisted of over 66,000 FFA members and guests from all over the country coming together to celebrate agriculture. They did this by going to sessions, workshops, the FFA shopping mall and the career and college expo. The Urbana FFA travelled on a charter bus along with Ridgedale, Mechanicsburg and West Liberty Salem’s FFA chapters. The Urbana students who attended were Mackenzie Bean, Zack Collins, Jesse Craig, Nick Crumley, Ashlyn Dunn, Kirstin Lewis, Olivia Maurice, Connor Trawick, and Janie Wallace.
The four days the chapter spent in Indiana were packed to the brim with agricultural experiences. On Wednesday the chapter toured the Indy Speedway. At the Speedway members had the opportunity to “kiss the bricks” as well as walk through the museum. That night the chapter attended the opening session of the convention. At the session the students listened to United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and key-note speaker Laila Ali. Many students said Laila’s speech was inspiring because it showed them that “women can do what men can do.”
Thursday morning we toured Conners Prairie. Members had many opportunities at the prairie like going on a hot air balloon ride, walking through a corn maze, and on a nature walk. Members also experienced life in an 1836 Prairie town, a town during the civil war, and life in a Lenape Indian Camp. Conner Trawick said that his favorite part about convention was visiting the prairie because he “enjoys learning about history” and he thought that the prairie “had the most history of any place we visited [during convention].” After departing from the prairie we headed to the convention center to walk around the career and college expo. Kirstin Lewis said that these expos were her favorite part of convention because she had the opportunity to “meet new people.” On this trip the Urbana FFA members met people from Indiana, Utah, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Alaska, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and other parts of Ohio! Thursday evening the chapter attended the Buckeye Bash. The Buckeye Bash is a dance at convention with FFA members from all over Ohio. Ohio is the only state to have an activity like this! Members reunited with old friends from FFA Camp, 212/360 Conference, and State Convention and danced the night away.
Friday morning we attended the 4th general session. At the session members listened to Ashley Willits, Eastern Region Vice President and Mick Ebeling from Not Impossible Lab. This was many members favorite session. Mackenzie Bean was inspired by Mick Ebeling because she learned that you “do not need a degree to help those around you.” The rest of the afternoon was spent at the career and college expo and attending student workshops. I attended the #SpeakAg workshop. The workshop gave me “the opportunity to hear from Jeremy Brown and Jared Luhman about the conventional and organic practices on their farms.” After diner the members returned to convention for a hypnotist show. At the show Mr.Wilhelm, Urbana FFA chapter advisor, was hypnotized. Later that evening the Urbana, Ridgedale, Mechanicsburg, and West Liberty Salem FFA chapters gathered in a meeting room at their hotel to have reflections on the week. Every FFA member and advisor who attended from those 4 schools shared someone they met that week, their favorite part of convention, and their ah-ha moment with the group.
Saturday morning the chapter attended the final session of the 90th National FFA Convention. At this session American Degrees were awarded. There are many requirements you must meet to receive your American Degree. Some of these requirements are to have received the State FFA Degree, have been an active member for the past three years,have a record of satisfactory participation in the activities on the chapter and state level, have participated in at least 50 hours of community service within at least three different community service activities, and have graduated from high school at least 12 months prior to the national convention at which the degree is to be granted. This year the Urbana FFA had one American Degree Recipient. That member to receive the highest honor the National FFA Organization bestows is Maile Moyer.
Ashlyn Dunn is the Urbana FFA secretary.