In the energizing wake of National FFA Week, many FFA members and chapters found a new found zeal for the organization. The love and donations they received throughout the week have made a great impact on their passion, but also their experience. With donations gathered throughout the week, the local, state, and national FFA levels are able to give their members a better experience. One of the major tokens of the FFA experience is the FFA jacket. A portion of the donations received this past week will go toward buying students their very own FFA jacket.
Every FFA member remembers the first time they put on that blue corduroy jacket. Although a bit stiff at first, after a few uses it becomes your pride and joy. The FFA jacket is more than a piece of clothing — it is a lifestyle. The jacket represents a lifestyle of new opportunities, tradition, leadership, agriculture, commitment, pride, community service, social responsibility, a sense of belonging, and so much more. When an FFA member is wearing official dress, they are held to a higher standard — they are held to the FFA standard.
The blue corduroy jacket also represents the future and past of agriculture. For many FFA members their parents or grandparents might have been involved in FFA. They are upholding those family traditions by continuing that legacy. However, for members without those family ties, they get to create their own legacy — the future of possibilities in endless is in FFA and it all begins with the FFA jacket.
You never know what you will accomplish or who you might meet in that jacket. For example, this past week on Instagram, thegratefulfarmwife said, “Don’t worry America, these blue jackets have you covered. FFA provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world.” She goes on to tell the story of how she met her husband through FFA and how they plan to raise both of their kids with the lesson that the FFA motto taught them: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
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One of the best ways I have heard the FFA jacket phenomenon explained is to think of it in a modern way. In the business industry, people wear suits to stand out and show leadership. In the agriculture setting, the future leaders wear the blue corduroy jacket with pride. FFA members wear their jacket with an added confidence knowing they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
However, the journey to get to that journey is not one that should be taken for granted. There is a lot of work and dedication that goes into making that blue corduroy jacket. Cory Hoops, General Manager at Universal Letting Company said, “One of the unique things I think is how important that coat and that tradition hasn’t changed since 1933 when we helped design that first FFA jacket. That is just a very special icon of that organization.”
Hoops takes us through the journey of creating one FFA jacket. Hoops says that one of his favorite parts of having FFA members visit their company is to watch the excitement and find out how much their jacket means to them. Did you know there are actually 35 separate sewing operations involved in making every blue corduroy FFA jacket?
While we can never imagine what the blue jacket has in store for us, it can be perfectly be summarized by one of the most well known quotes in FFA: “You might grow out of the jacket, but not the experience.”