Erica Whitmore


Blog Post created by Erica Whitmore on Sep 24, 2013




It is difficult to find your place sometimes, but believe it or not we all have one common place, the NAAE. We are encouraged as professionals to join our national association, but do we truly know what all of that entails? When I took my first teaching position in Idaho at summer conference I was encouraged by some Wise Owls to join NAAE (of which I had been a part in college). It was impressive to receive advice from mentor teachers, as well as have them take the time to explain all that NAAE had to offer. In college the big selling point was insurance, but as time has passed I have learned, seen, value, and understand all that NAAE has to offer.

One of the biggest benefits is the NAAE convention. NAAE takes pride in providing a convention that offers hands-on, inquiry based learning, and collaboration opportunities with other agricultural educators and business leaders from all over the United States. The four day convention is packed with business sessions, recognition ceremonies for award winners, workshops, and collaboration activities, committee meetings to help make the association better as a whole, and the organizational members and business partners reception. These events open doors to new curriculum ideas and learning events for the agricultural educator who needs fresh ideas to incorporate within their classroom and FFA program. The most important point is you get out of the convention what you put into the convention! So think about what you could or want to take away from the NAAE Convention; and then how will it benefit you, your classroom, students, community, and program. GREAT OPPORTUNITIES LIE AHEAD!


My first NAAE convention that I attended was in Orlando, Florida; which was a long way from Idaho and Washington. I had been selected for the Teacher Turn the Key Program and was privileged to take part and represent Idaho. I was in my second year of teaching, was still learning the differences in Ag Ed and FFA between Idaho and Washington, and building a program at my school. I was excited to take part and see what I could generate to bring back to my growing program. I would like to share some of the events of my first NAAE convention I attended:

  • Florida has toll booths on their freeways
  • Heart of Palm (a food dish) doesn't taste good if it is burnt
  • You will taste gator tail and like it
  • Regional meetings can be lively
  • Collaboration shouldn't take place in a pool
  • Armadillos carry salmonella
  • It is a small world when it comes to meeting people
  • Met Farrah Johnson, Jay Jackman, Heath Hornecker, Jeff Mairhoffer, and many others who are all dear friends now



Take the time to visit the NAAE website. If you see something you like or feel a change could be made share with us, it is our job to see that the members needs are met.  NAAE has a lot of benefits; see if there are any that meet your needs.


Have a wonderful year and see you LAS VEGAS this DECEMBER!


Erica Whitmore, Region I Vice President