In a couple of weeks, most of us will be loading vans, buses, or planes with FFA members in tow, on our way to National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. This will be my 19th trip and it is still exciting for me because National FFA Convention is like the CMA's for country music or the Oscars for movies! The reason I am excited each year is because every trip has its moments that create memories that last a lifetime. The National FFA Convention encourages members to follow their dreams, set goals and to grow as individuals.
I remember my first National FFA Convention. My chapter assisted behind the main stage moving props and lining up award winners. I set my own goal that year, to one day move my members from behind stage to the award winning members on the stage. One of my proudest moments was supporting a National Proficiency finalist and winner on the stage! I have had the honor of being the advisor for a number of special FFA members and award winners over the years.
No National FFA Convention trip would be complete without a tour or two. One of my favorite stories is the year we took the members to a four-plex movie theatre just before the rodeo. I don't remember why, but the advisors had to fill a couple of hours of time before the rodeo. Using the resources we had available on the bus, I suggested we tell the students we were taking them to a four-plex movie theatre. We made the announcement on the bus as we pulled into the very empty parking lot for the rodeo. The students were so excited and wanted to know what movie they were going to see. As the bus pulled to a stop and some students actually looked out the window to see this amazing movie theatre, they began to wonder. As I was being bombarded with questions, I pointed out that they were at the four-plex and to please direct their attention to the nearest screen on the bus. I'm sure many of you have had to get creative on your National FFA Convention trips too.
I don't know that one convention is better than any other because each has a special moment with a special group of students. Over the years, I have had the honor of traveling with an outstanding group of advisors and my members have had the opportunity to get to know the members of a couple of chapters, as we travel with the same group each year. Our travel buddies have created a long-lasting bond between our chapters and members and this is what I would have to say is the best of the best part of National FFA Convention. Safe travels to everyone as you make lasting memories on your way to National FFA Convention! I hope we bump into each other!