FFA Washington Leadership Conference in DC


June 27, 2017

Washington DC will be covered in blue corduroy over the next several weeks as thousands of FFA members from across the country travel to the capital for the Washington Leadership Conference.

High school students travel for up to 30 hours by bus to attend the week-long FFA Leadership Conference in Washington. The conference focuses on skill-building and personal growth, challenging students to reflect.

“You can go your whole life without ever knowing your purpose if you don’t actually sit down and think about it. We were able to sit down and reflect at one point about ‘Okay, what is your purpose?’ And your purpose doesn’t have to be ‘What are you going to do with your life?’ It can be a ‘What are you supposed to be doing now?’ kind of thing, so I really loved it,” said Porum, Oklahoma Chapter President Samantha Pearce.

Taking action is a major theme for the week, and students are encouraged not only to make concrete plans for their chapters, but also to learn about priorities.

Alex Slaughter, Lake Hamilton, Arkansas Chapter President explained, “There’s so many things that you can do, and in my opinion, you have to focus on one thing. If you try to do a whole bunch of different things at once, nothing’s going to get done and you’re just going to be in a hectic mess. If you focus on one thing you’ll be able to achieve more than if you focus on five different things at a time.”

Being in Washington DC, the students can’t avoid exposure to politics, but what they learn from the experience is pretty unexpected.

“Being here,” said Pearce, “it’s very respectful to see how people are able to talk about their opinions but also able to listen to other people’s opinions, and a lot of this has been a learning experience on listening as well. So I’m excited to go home and be able to share my opinion but listen. Now I’m able to see that people actually do listen to opinions. I’m excited to go home and get involved in that too.”

“Now I’m definitely more like ‘I should really get more educated on this. This is the world I’m living in.’ To advance the world that I’m living in, in the way that I think would be best, would be to know what’s happening in the world I’m in. So I think it’s great now to be more educated on what’s going on in society.”

Over the week-long conference, students travel to Capitol Hill to meet with law makers, visit historic sites, and interact and reflect with each other in sessions with themes like “purpose” and “diversity.” All of these activities give them a chance to grow while building lasting friendships with their fellow members.

This Saturday, FFA members at WLC will pack 60,000 sack lunches to be distributed to the homeless and needy around DC.

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