October 11, 2017
By Claire Baney
Fall brings so much joy for lots of people. It’s the feeling of crisp autumn air, the sight of colorful leaves falling or the thought of Thanksgiving. For FFA members around the country, the thrill of autumn reaches its pinnacle at National FFA Convention.
The National FFA Convention and Expo is marked by an explosion of thousands of blue jackets that flood the streets of Indianapolis in celebration of agricultural education, premier youth development and the accomplishments of all FFA members. During the week, members expand their knowledge base at the career expo, increase their skills through leadership workshops, take in general sessions and develop friendships with members from across the country.
Behind the scenes
National Convention also creates an opportunity for the National FFA delegate process, a vital part of promoting progress in the National FFA. Representatives from each state association engage in discussing and analyzing National FFA guidelines and programs.
A total of 475 delegates are divided among the states, based on each association’s FFA membership. Indiana FFA Association has 12,506 members and nine national delegates. Hoosier delegates include the Indiana FFA state officer team and two members of the Indiana FFA Executive Committee.
The nine delegates split up among six national delegate committees. Our goal is to be the voice of Indiana FFA members on our respective committees while working to evaluate and improve National FFA opportunities for all members. After days of discussion, as well as public and private testimony hearings, each committee submits a report to be sent to the National FFA board of directors. Before being seen by the board, the recommendations must be approved by the entire delegate body. This ensures each delegate has an equal part in the decision-making process.
Every outcome of this process may not carry the weight of the 1969 landmark decision to allow female FFA members, or last year’s recommendation to change the words “Puerto Rico” to “the Virgin Islands” in the reporter’s part of the official FFA Opening Ceremonies. However, each recommendation is made with determination to create a positive and lasting impact that benefits the whole.
This is why each year 475 national FFA delegates live to serve by working to leave their proactive mark on the FFA. It’s one that can and will affect all FFA members for generations to come.
Baney is the 2017-18 Indiana FFA state president.
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