National convention ‘shaped my ... experience'
Move over, flamingoes; it's time for geese in these here parts.
The flock of bright pink plastic flamingoes, spotted in or around Willows the past month, have finished their migration.
The flamingoes, which were last seen Monday about 5 miles east of Willows, appear every other year to help Willows High School FFA members raise money for the National FFA Convention.
JB Renfro, Dominic Femino, Garrett Enos, Taylor Femino, Natalie Massa, Amanda Alves, Christine van Tol, Eduardo Briones, Lexy Weber, Alyssa Beatty, Jake Martin, Jospeh Martin and Morgan Cundiff are headed to the convention Oct. 24-27 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.
Willows High School seniors Massa and Briones have previously attended the National Convention.
"What I look forward to the most about this trip is the career show," said Briones, a fourth year FFA member. "Attending the national convention shaped my FFA experience, because it helped me realize how big an organization FFA is."
The Willows High chapter has been actively raising money to travel to Indianapolis on Oct. 22.
The cost to attend is about $1,500 per student, which includes all expenses, such as flights, rental cars, hotel, tours, conference registration and meals, said FFA adviser Amanda Samons, who will also attend.
For the first time, the students organized a corn drive this year to raise money where farmers donate a portion of their harvested corn.
The corn is then purchased from the FFA by Artois Feed.
Last week, the students held a bake sale and pizza night at Round Table.
The annual — and much anticipated — tri-tip sandwich sale will be Oct. 19.
Because of the high volume of orders, making delivery difficult during the lunch hour, residents should order the sandwich in advance from the Willows High School Agriculture Department and plan to pick their lunch up.
The National FFA Organization is the largest US youth organization, which is known as a career and technical student organization that promotes and supports agricultural education.
The organization was founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America, but the name was changed in 1988 to the National FFA Organization, now commonly referred to as FFA.
"FFA to me is an opportunity to advance myself in leadership skills while giving back to the community that supports us so much," said Chapter President JB Renfro. "I believe being involved in FFA allows you to express yourself in many ways while learning skills that will help you farther down the road."
Renfro plans to attend Chico State or Cal Poly next year to major in agriculture business.
Some FFA students say their fondest experiences with the organization has been the state convention, taking an animal to the fair, making new friends and playing pranks on their adviser.
Freshmen Paige Holzapfel and Lainie Alves attended the Greenhand Conference for new members this year and learned a lot about the organization.
"I think the most important thing about being involved in FFA is personal growth, because you learn to come out of your comfort zone and become the person you are," Alves said. "You also learn many leaderships and responsibility skills, and gain lifelong friendships and memories."
For those students attending the national convention, one day will be set aside to spend in Louisville, Ky., where they will tour Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger museum and factory.
They will also visit the Indianapolis Speedway and the National FFA Center.
Convention activities include general sessions with motivational speakers such as Scott Hamilton, a career and college fair that highlights the agriculture opportunities available to students, a concert and a rodeo.
Students will also participate in the National FFA Rally to fight hunger by helping to prepare packages of food for those in need.
"I'm lucky to have great students and work in a community that believes agriculture education is important — and supports it," Samons said.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.