Lisa Chaudion is proud of everyone who worked the Country Market at the FFA Pavilion during the Indiana State Fair. And why not? They were FFA members from everywhere in Indiana learning to take responsibility and represent agriculture to the public.
Chaudion, Indiana FFA Foundation director, says the Country Market employed about 60 FFA members during the course of the fair. Each worked various shifts. Members came from everywhere.
For example, in one shift she introduced us to four members who gave up lunch time to talk to us. Pulled at random, they represented FFA chapters and communities from all over the state. The group included Sean Harrington, Tri- County, in White County; Morgan Winder, South Newton in Newton County; Allison Dragstrem, Maconaquah High School in Miami County and Caitlin Myers, Owen Valley High School in Owen County.
The students receive minimal compensation for working, but get the experience of interacting with the public. They do various tasks from helping restock items to serving ice cream or selling popcorn to sometimes helping run the registers for people making purchases.
The unique thing about the Country Market is that it features items grown or produced in Indiana by Indiana companies. Some of the companies are small, but some are as large as Ball Corporation at Muncie. The idea is to promote locally-produced items and raise money for FFA.
The money raised for FFA in the past through this effort has helped fund scholarships and other projects for the Foundation.
FFA chapters and members help in other ways, too. The selling stand where the cash registers are located was damaged by a state fair worker with a forklift during the off-season for the fair. Chaudion called on Doug Walker, Delphi FFA, and his students to rebuild the stand in time for the fair. Walker says it's good training for his students. They have also built several other displays and structures inside the FFA Pavilion.