As FFA Chapters have settled back into a groove after the National FFA Convention, many have a rejuvenated spirit and brought back new excitement to their chapter. A lot of times that excitement can carry over to the members, advisors, and even alumni. As alumni’s Facebook feeds were flooded with pictures from National FFA Convention, a sentimental feeling probably washed over them. Many thought back to their own national convention experience, the bus ride to the competitions, and all of the activities. This excitement brings a great opportunity for alumni to get involved and volunteer their time, talents, and resources.
As alumni, there are many ways to get involved. Being involved will not only bring back memories for you, but also help create new and lasting memories for current members. Many times, chapters need help without even realizing where to start asking. There are many resources and advantages for alumni to be involved and here are just a few.
1. Local Love
Many local chapters are constantly needing help in addition to their advisors. As an alum, you can get involved in many ways with your local chapter. Reaching out can seem intimidating at first, but it will help the chapter and, potentially, you. There are many opportunities to use your time, talents, and resources. For example, during competitions judges are needed to help evaluate and assist with scoring.
2. FFA Alumni membership
Being an official National FFA Alumni member comes with many benefits. As an FFA Alumni member, you would receive resources and monthly communications from the National FFA Organization, including their magazine, FFA New Horizons. The membership comes with additional benefits; check out the FFA website to learn more.
3. Continuous learning experiences
Volunteering with your local chapter is a two-way learning street. When you volunteer as an alum, you receive the benefit of staying up-to-date with all of the industry’s news. At the same time, you are shaping the future, planting the seeds of curiosity and knowledge within the organization and the students. The students will learn from you and your expertise, while in return you will learn from the students.
4. Networking opportunities
Alumni have the accessibility to many networks within the industry through the National FFA Organization. In today’s society, a lot of job opportunities begin with who you know. FFA has connections with many of the major agricultural companies across the country. Having these kinds of connections can make a difference in what opportunities are available for you.
5. FUTURE Farmers of America
As stated before, the young minds today decide what direction the industry takes in the future. Being involved as alumni gives you the opportunity to assist the future leaders of our industry. FFA instills hard work and dedication in each of its members that doesn’t just shut off after graduation or after completion of duties. They will one day lead the industry and the best way to be involved in that mold, is to be there for them on a day-to-day basis. Today’s young minds are the future of agriculture.
As alumni, you can help with not only the chapter’s current needs, but also the needs in the future. While students currently benefit from having a volunteer, you could potentially be serving in an even bigger capacity. Some alumni are even seen as role models in the students’ life. When you lead by example, that is making an impact on the students’ lives in more ways than one. As they see you volunteering and making personal connections, they are more likely to see that and one day want to give back in the same way.
Joshua Rusk, Executive Director – National FFA Alumni & Supporters said, “We believe that FFA alumni and supporters impact their local chapters thru gifts of their time, talents, and financial resources. Whether it is being a content expert within the classroom, a judge, a coach or mentor, providing a location for a student to complete an SAE project, sharing with the community and school board the impact the program is making on the future or providing financial assistance the opportunities are endless.”
Being an alum supports students at the local, state, and national level. If you are like me, and always admired and respected the FFA organization, but were unable to participate at a young age there is good news. The FFA Alumni membership is open to anyone who is interested in supporting the youth of agriculture. Alumni play a big role in helping with the actives and agricultural education of the future. We should take every opportunity we have to help the future of the agriculture industry and pass down what we have learned, while also being ready to adapt to what the future holds.