FFA

What your FFA jacket best says about you

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When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember receiving my first FFA jacket. The jacket was wrapped in thick plastic, an unimaginable amount of duct tape, and nestled in a big brown box. Even though it was difficult to uncover, it immediately instilled the idea in me that this FFA jacket was something special and wearing one made me a part of something bigger than myself.

But I won’t lie to you, my OG jacket has been through some things. NOT. PRETTY.

Sauces from lunches at a CDE contest have been painted on the collar. Caca from turkeys have dusted on its sleeves. Makeup stains and tears have created etchings on the corduroy lining for every success and failure endured while wearing the blue and gold. And nevermind the dry cleaners — my jacket has been spin washed more times than I can count, leaving a permanent purple hue to it. I’m sure there are folks out there who can relate, maybe even have their own unique stories about their time in the FFA jacket.

The jacket tells every story imaginable through our time in the National FFA Organization.

What does an FFA jacket say about you? Take a good look at your jacket, read the following descriptions, and check out what your jacket says about you. And upvote the one that hits closest to home!

What your FFA jacket best says about you?

There’s no doubt that whatever FFA jacket you’ve worn, there are some memories attached to it.

In 2018, during the 91st National FFA Convention just before the last general session, I zipped up my jacket for one of the last times. I was in my hotel room, practicing my retiring National FFA officer address over and over in the mirror.

After about the third time saying it, I was about ready to hit the door when I caught a glimpse in the mirror of me in my jacket. I got a bit emotional as flashbacks of little old sophomore in high school Bre came flickering back into view. I could see her zipping up her jacket for the first time, and I smiled to myself thinking, “Oh girl, you have no idea what’s coming next. Lean into it, girl. And wish me luck.” That evening, I hung my jacket up for the last time.

Today, I get to see students zip up their FFA jackets every week for FFA meetings and activities in my career as an agricultural educator. And I can’t help but recite the same little speech I gave sophomore Bre in my head to my students: “Oh honey, you have no idea what is coming next. Lean into it. I wish you luck.”

Whether that moment of hanging up the jacket has come and gone, or we are still living the radically influential life that FFA has for us within the corduroy, the moments that truly defined us in FFA and life were the moments in between the beginning and end of wearing the jacket.

Take a moment after this article and reflect on those formative moments in the jacket that truly set your heart a flame. These moments that may come flashing back into our minds of the good, bad, successful, and challenging moments have and still will define a lot of who and how we are as people.

And maybe you are like me, and those moments influence your why. It’s crazy to think, regardless of how long we wore the blue and gold, how big of an influence it has made on all of our lives. An influence that will always carry on long after we unzip and hang up our jacket for the very last time.

 

Bre Holbert is a past National FFA President and studies agriculture science and education at California State-Chico. “Two ears to listen is better than one mouth to speak. Two ears allow us to affirm more people, rather than letting our mouth loose to damage people’s story by speaking on behalf of others.”

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