Kristy Meyer, a member of the National FFA Organization’s communications team, is in Florida this week with National FFA Vice President Jason Wetzler as he makes visits during National FFA Week. These are stories from his visits in the state.
Monday, February 17, 2014
FFA members from the Chipola FFA Federation spent their Presidents Day giving back to the community. Comprised of schools within the Chipola College district, the Chipola FFA Federation strives to support all FFA members through a variety of activities.
On Monday, members lived out the Living to Serve portion of the motto when they worked on completing the Covenant Hospice Yard Angel Project.
“Getting to help someone is really a wonderful experience,” said Faith Downthit, of the Grand Ridge FFA Chapter. The eighth grader said that she would absolutely recommend the opportunity to someone else if they wanted to lend a helping hand.
“I’ve participated in community service projects before, and it is so rewarding to see the difference that you make.”
FFA members spent time on Monday pruning back bushes, raking pine needles, and making sure that a local home was ready for spring. It was the perfect way for the federation to kick off FFA Week.
“We worked at this house a couple of months ago,” said Heather Yoder, a Blountstown FFA member. “It’s nice to see how it has progressed from then.”
The junior added that she is always happy to give back, even on those days when there is no school. An added perk, however, was knowing that a national FFA officer was going to be on hand during the event.
“Along with being able to hear from a national officer, it’s also nice to spend time with fellow FFA members in a friendly environment when we’re not competing.”
Following a morning of service, Chipola members enjoyed spending time at a lunch, and listening to Jason talk about service.
“The ability to serve,” Wetzler said, “is one that will follow you, long after you take off this blue jacket.”
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014
Agriculture has a sweet sound to the members of the Suwanee Jr. and Sr. FFA chapter. And with nearly 100 members, this chapters knows the hard work that goes into agricultural products.
Nestled in a county that produces more than $198 million worth of agricultural products each year, the Suwanee FFA Chapter is part of an agricultural education program considered an “agritechnology academy” that offers students the opportunity to become a Florida Certified Agricultural Technician.
Sugar cane plays a key role in the chapter’s activities even though it is just one of many crops that is grown on the 40-acre land lab. Once grown, the sugar cane is ground using the mill to make the chapter’s signature “Suwanee FFA Sugarcane Syrup.”
This syrup is then cooked in the syrup kitchen at the land lab and sold in local businesses. Along with being the chapter’s primary fundraiser, the syrup also carries on a tradition.
“Today, many people tend to buy syrup, rather than find out how to make it,” said FFA member Laura Beth Baker. “This allows us to learn about the entire process, and appreciate the work that goes into it.”
Fellow FFA member Mallory Morgan agrees.
“It’s great that students can learn about the process first-hand,” Morgan said.
The senior then went on to explain, that once harvest occurs in November, chapter members are busy with all aspects of the syrup — from harvesting the cane, to processing and even down to the bottling and the labeling.
For members of the Suwannee FFA chapter, learning about agriculture is sweet indeed.
Stay tuned for more from Florida!