Will Our Story Be Told?
Whose job is it to get us there? Is it my job, is it the NAAE's job? Is it your job, or is it your students' and community's responsibility? I believe the answer is all of the above. If one part is missing, then we loose an important spoke in the wheel of success.
Advocacy begins at the local level--agriculture instructors just doing what we do best, is the beginning. Teaching students about agriculture, taking students through career exploration in agriculture, teaching leadership skills, and providing opportunities for student recognition will produce advocates for agricultural education. Successful career and college ready students are the best advocacy tool we can bring to the table.
Where and to who do we tell that story? We yell it to anybody that will listen! It is a story that parents, local businesses, legislators, school administrators, school faculty, and media must hear. When they see and hear our story, then they become advocates for agricultural education.
Advocacy is something we are doing when we put articles in the newspaper, hold our end-of-year banquet, and meet with our advisory group. At that level it comes easily; we are in our comfort zone. It is when we step out of that comfort zone that we perceive it being more challenging. Why change what you do best? Your story will work at all levels of advocating. It has the same effect at the local and national levels.
The NAAE board and staff are working hard to develop advocacy tools for our members to use. Advocacy lessons have been developed to guide you through the process. These lessons are available to use at the local level to expand your comfort zone. The NAAE board continually collaborates with other agriculture organizations to identify strong messages for agricultural education. The NAAE board will always promote agricultural education, but the local voice will always be louder and stronger than ours.
My challenge to you, is just tell the story. Your story will always add spokes to the wheel of success.