By: Kelly Fager, 86th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Intern
The sea of blue jackets unites members from across the country at the Kentucky Exposition Center for the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo. Inside the expo students recognize more similarities than just the blue jacket. Sponsored by Farm Credit Services, the interactive room, “We Are FFA,” promotes inclusiveness and similarities among FFA member.
“We Are FFA” is a socially connected area that all FFA members can hang out and network while meeting fellow FFA members during convention. A roomful of activities is just part of the fun with bean bag chairs, a photo booth and phone charging station.
FFA members are able to write on big sheets of paper hung on the wall with the prompt “We Are FFA Because…..” The wall is filled with individual’s stories and what FFA means to them.
Laura Ely, a member of the Dora FFA Chapter in Missouri wrote on the wall, “The front of your jacket says who you are; the back says where you are from. But nowhere on the jacket says who you will be or where you will go.”
Within the room all 50 states are represented on the wall. FFA members have an opportunity to get their picture taken and place the photos beneath their home state. “‘We Are FFA’ room is a welcoming and diverse place but seeing the thousands of photos represented on the wall makes FFA what it is,” said Ely.
Josh Sundquist, a motivational speaker at convention, had the opportunity to spend an hour meeting FFA members in the room. Sundquist said it was gratifying to have FFA members remember speeches he has given before. “[The] message of room is great. The idea of embracing FFA as our identity and diversity within FFA,” said Sundquist. He finds identity important having a disability himself.
“Students have most powerful voices and this is the time where they can make their voices heard,” said Ambra Tennery, an education specialist at National FFA Organization. She also said, hearing the members thoughts helps motivate what is being done at the National FFA Center.
Twitter is active all throughout convention and this interactive room is no exception, check out #WeAreFFA to view what members are sharing about their experiences.
“WE ARE FFA – Honest & Fair in the game of life” can be seen on wristbands given out in the room and this phrase represents FFA members by defining who they are through FFA.
“We Are FFA” is more than just a statement, it is a way of defining oneself.
Kelly Fager is an agricultural communication major at The Ohio State University. Originally from Wauseon, Ohio, Kelly was a member of the Wauseon FFA Chapter and American degree recipient in 2012.