Ah, summer time! We all know what that means — summer jobs, summer nights, and summer camps! For many FFA members, they have the opportunity to attend FFA camp. Every state is a little different, but most include multiple chances to attend and learn new skills that will help them achieve success throughout the year.
For example, the FFA Leadership Camp program in Missouri is filled with education, recreation, and entertainment. The educational portion consists of FFA Leadership training designed to meet the needs of all members, greenhands, chapter FFA degrees, chapter officers, and area officers. State FFA officers assist with all leadership training sessions. Recreation time may be spent with swimming, boating, fishing, badminton, trap shooting, shuffleboard, horseshoes, archery, and volleyball.
Justin Mauss has been to Missouri’s FFA camp once as a student, three times as a college volunteer, and now goes every other year as an advisor. Mauss’ first rule of advice for any new members attending camp: “Remember that FFA camp is more than just laying by the lake for a week. Go to the leadership sessions, compete in the tournaments, and make as many new friends as you can. You’re only there for a week, and it will go by quickly. Make the most of it.”
The beautiful thing about FFA camp is the fact there is something for every member!
“There are some great leadership sessions for the members who want to enhance their own leadership abilities,” Mauss said. “There are different sports such as volleyball, basketball, softball, archery and trapshooting. You also can’t forget about all of the waterfront activities that go on at camp. If you want to learn how to waterski, disk, etc., camp can be the place to do that. Finally, if you’re missing contest season, there are several speaking contests and rituals contests to compete in while you are there.”
Another benefit of attending FFA camp is the result of the ideas and connections you make throughout the week. Mauss said, “There are other chapters in the state that are doing great things and your own chapter does its own great things too. Camp provides a place for those members to discuss those ideas and to make those connections which last forever. I’m still friends with several people I met at FFA camp ten years ago when I attended as a high school student.”
Mauss emphasized the importance of FFA camp and the opportunities it provides the members. “FFA Camp is an important experience that FFA members should do their best to attend. It’s one of the best opportunities during the summer to network with other members and chapters from across the state. Camp provides the opportunity for members to enhance their own leadership skills and pushes people out of their comfort zones. Lastly, camp is has all kinds of fun activities that FFA members may never get to experience anywhere else.”
Like most things in FFA, it takes amazing leaders and volunteers for a successful event. Mauss attributes many experiences to the volunteers who make the FFA camp possible.
“Most of the volunteers that work at camp are responsible for lifeguarding and are kitchen staff,” he said. “These volunteers are incredibly vital because without them, campers wouldn’t be able to go on the lake and would go hungry. There are also volunteers from the different commodity groups that come in and put on different leadership sessions. Those volunteers are important because they are the ones who will provide a lot of the leadership skills that members will learn at camp.”
Mauss has one last word of advice for all those contemplating going to FFA camp: “It will be worth your time and money. Take the chance and go. I’ve never had a student regret going to camp.”