Georgia FFA Members Gather for Annual Convention

Macon, GA |

There’s was no shortage of corduroy around Macon, as more than six thousand members of Georgia FFA were on hand for the ninety-sixth annual state convention. And with every corner of the state being represented, it was rare opportunity for those in attendance to make friends from all walks of life.

“We’re really fortunate. We have almost four hundred FFA chapters in our state from the very southern tip to the very northern tip and in between. We have little places, little chapters, big chapters. We’re in Fulton County, we’re in the smallest, most rural county. So, it’s cool for those students to come here and get to see what their peers are doing. Some of them know each other. It’s a reunion when they come here. Others get to know new people. They’ll come and, some of them have created their own game with their chapters and if they can find three new chapters that they haven’t heard of or meet ten new people, it’s cool to watch them interact in between the social time of convention,” says Ben Lastly with Georgia FFA.

While there were numerous award ceremonies and informational sessions to attend, hearing from national officers like Emily Gossett and her inspirational message of “Failing Forward” was equally as important.

“I hope that they understand that failure is not something that makes them less than or unqualified, but that it’s something that they can use to project themselves to do something better, to learn from their mistakes, to learn from their past and to be able to go forward and do something with that. I believe that we all have an opportunity to change the world. It’s just sometimes we take a few steps back,” says Emily Gossett.

All these activities are designed to build leaders for the future by giving them the tools to succeed despite some of the challenges they might face along the way.

“The future of agriculture is preparing to understand what the industry’s going to look like when they’re a part of it and they’re running it. So, FFA can really help to make that impact because they’re preparing these students to learn about agricultural issues right now, but to be prepared for agricultural issues in the future, and we’re instilling these skills in them to make sure that they’re prepared to take on that role,” says Gossett.

As always, the career expo served as one of the highlights, where attendees got a first-hand look at all the different possibilities agriculture provides.

“Growing them as leaders is vital, but them understanding that we are preparing them for something after high school, whatever that may be, the military, college, technical school, workforce, when they come here, they’re going to get a chance to not only be recognized for their success but engage with these people beyond high school. So, their judges, if they’re competing here are industry people. If they go to the career show, they’re meeting industry people. They’re going to leave here with contacts and people that they’ve come in conversation with,” says Lastly.

So, with everything this event offers, it serves as a microcosm for what the organization can offer to each and every member.

“I appreciate the learning culture that we have here. So, whether it’s learning about agriculture or learning about leadership or learning about yourself, there’s always a way that you can be better, and I fully believe that the national FFA organization leaves students better than it found them and that these students are equipped to go out into the world and equipped to change the world in whatever industry or career that they have,” says Gossett.

By: Damon Jones