National FFA Convention is right around the corner! I attended all four years of high school, once to receive the American Degree and a couple times as a chaperone/driver. I’m a big fan of this convention! And I’m a big proponent that all members who want the experience are able to have it.
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Not that you probably need a lot of convincing to go to an amazing event like this, but in case anyone is waffling on the idea, here are 10 great reasons that you should attend this year’s National FFA Convention!
10. Getting out of school
Hear me out before writing me off. There are a large number of kids that don’t do their best learning in a school atmosphere. There will be more than 65,000 attending the National FFA Convention. You can absolutely bet that there will be learning that take place outside of the school walls while on this trip.
Getting the opportunity to compete at the national level is something very few can say they did during their high school career. If you are attending to compete in a contest, huge props to you! Regardless of your final placing, you worked hard to get there. You learned valuable life skills that you will use throughout your life.
The awards given out at National FFA Convention are not participation trophies. These awards are for your hard work and determination. They put so many life skills together and tie them together in the form of an award. If you are receiving an award of any sort, go walk across the stage and get it! You deserve it!
7. Trade show
Referring back to number 10, not everybody loves school. Walk around the trade show. See how many businesses and companies are eager to work with and for you. So many of these don’t require a college degree. Talk to CEOs, presidents, employees of companies that you might want to work for or with. These companies know what FFA teaches and they absolute love being able to employ hard working FFA members and alumni.
6. Concerts and entertainment
Tens of thousands of people are going to converge on Indianapolis. Watch the city roll out the red carpet for these members. There are concerts, events and entertainment for the enjoyment of all. Take it all in. Go see the sights. Not sure what to see: Check out these ideas. Most of all, experience the city!
There is a workshop for every interest. Attend them. They are put on by people who know what they’re doing. Go learn from the best. Take note of what others are doing that you can take back to your chapter.
The general sessions are works of art in and of themselves. Not only the National Officers, but the speakers and industry leaders they bring in are of top notch quality. Maybe this is the first time experiencing a keynote address. These speakers are professionals and motivational. Take the momentum you feel in these sessions and take them back with you!
3. The whole experience
So many members don’t have the opportunity to experience traveling other than with FFA. The production and scope it takes to put on an event like the National FFA Convention & Expo is something everyone needs to see. Experience what it’s like for advisors to meet year after year at the convention. Experience traveling and new food and new places.
It sounds so corny to say, but you really can meet amazing friends that your path may otherwise not have crossed. Don’t be afraid to talk to other people while waiting in hallways or waiting for sessions to start. Take pictures, exchange info, talk about where you’re from. You never know if the person you’re walking next to could be your lifelong friend. Don’t be afraid to say hi!
1. Getting out of your state
Unless you’re from Indiana, you’re going to be getting out of your state. It may be the first time you’ve had an opportunity to travel. Sometime the world feels small and is centered around your community. Go see what’s out there. Experience an amazing event put on just for you, the FFA members! Regardless of talent for contests, your background or anything else, you can attend the National FFA Convention and be welcomed there. The National FFA Convention is for any and all FFA members. Go! Experience it!
With that said, I’m a strong proponent that all FFA members who want to attend convention have that opportunity. If you want to go, but can’t make it work this year, start planning how you can fundraise for next year. If you’re the only one from your school, see if you can go with another chapter. Think outside the box.
If you are completely out of ideas and can’t come up with any ideas and still want to go, send me a message and I will figure out a way to get you there. It is worth it! Go experience it and have fun!
Kelsey Pagel is a Kansas farmer. She grew up on a cow/calf and row crop operation and married into another. Kelsey and her Forever (Matt) farm and ranch with his family where they are living their dream and loving most of the moments.