FFA Teaches Lifelong Skills

FFA Teaches Lifelong Skills
Posted on 08/31/2022

FFA Builds Life-Long Skills
By: Christine Harper

            When my kiddo was little, I pushed him to play sports.  Mainly, because I love sports.  I encouraged him to try other activities, like being in the youth choir at church, but I didn’t push him like I did with sports.  And it was like this throughout his elementary, middle school, and high school run.  I made a mistake in doing that. There are so many clubs, organizations, and groups for students to be a part of and highly engaged in.  One organization that I wish I would have pushed my son harder in is FFA.  The life skills young people learn though FFA are amazing.

            Our Mexico FFA is an extremely active organization.  I asked Kendra Smith, FFA Advisor, to send me a list of some of the stuff they did over the summer.  I was shocked!  This is the list she sent me:  Members attended HYMAX (Top 100 Freshmen in MO), State Leadership Camp, and Officer Retreat and planning meeting.  In July, FFA members attended many local fairs to exhibit their livestock and building projects. Members also participated in the NE District Expo and MO State Fair. Ag teachers completed many Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) visits over the summer checking in on student projects. FFA members helped package 150,000 meals at the MO State Fair as a part of the Drive to Feed Kids campaign. They volunteered their time to mulch all of the trees at the 4H Fair Grounds with the help of funding from FCS Financial grant program.  And that was just this summer!

            I asked Kendra if she had a list of activities for this upcoming school year and was again shocked at how much these students and FFA advisor give of their time.  I was also impressed by the skills these students will learn that will go far beyond their high school years.  Presentation skills by showing at the State Fair; Setting goals, making plans to reach those goals, and implementing one of the biggest fundraisers (fruit sales) I have seen in my career; SAE projects that teach organizational skills and entrepreneurship; Contests where students can compete in Leadership, Public Speaking, Horticulture, and many more; But, I think, the biggest life skill they walk away with is Community; They learn to work with other people, communicate with other people, compromise with people, and learn to be contributing members of society.

            With all of these things the FFA students do year-round, it takes a dedicated advisor to lead them.  So, it comes as no surprise that our very own FFA Advisor, Kendra Smith, was the recipient of the Missouri NAAE (National Association of Agricultural Educators) Outstanding Teacher 2022.  This award is sponsored by Sydenstricker-Nobbe Partners. In early spring while students are completing their award applications, there is an award program for Agricultural Educators. Kendra completed the online application, submitted photos of herself teaching and facilitating agriculture education activities, and requested a reference letter from Mr. Chris Denham. A group of judges selected the best application from the state, and she was presented the award at the MO MVATA Conference in July. The award is based on classroom experiences, experiential learning opportunities for students, and FFA advising -- the three circles of Agriculture Education.  Our students are very fortunate to have Kendra Smith teaching and facilitating their growth in the FFA organization and in life.

            To all of the students in our Bulldog Nation: you have so many choices of things you can participate in, become a leader in, gain a second family in.  Find your family and make some great memories while learning some very valuable skills.