A roundup of FFA news for the week of July 24, 2014:

WEST SALEM, Ohio — The Northwestern FFA members have been busy. Four members from the Northwestern FFA Chapter had the opportunity to visit the nation’s Capital July 8-13 while attending a leadership conference consisting of FFA members from around the country. Shannon Garrison, Zach Berry, Kaci Way, and Rachelle Howman attended this event. Each day of the conference had a different theme.

On Tuesday, the theme was citizenship. Members attended sessions to learn about what it means to be a good citizen in their communities as well as got to meet the other members in their small groups. In these small groups, members worked to develop living-to-serve plans that can help meet needs in their communities.

On Wednesday, the theme was ‘the purpose of me.’ Members attended sessions to discover their purpose. They discovered their strengths and how these strengths can be used to serve others. As an example of people who lived with a purpose, members toured Arlington Cemetery and watched the changing of the guard; members also toured the Jefferson, Vietnam, Korean, World War II, Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Iwo Jima, and the Martin Luther King Jr. memorials.

On Thursday, the theme was ‘we.’ Members learned about the importance of diversity and how a group of people who unite as one can make a difference. Students were given the opportunity to see a real life example of this by touring the Capitol building and the Library of Congress. On Friday, students learned about putting service plans into action and how to advocate for agriculture and other needs in the community. The FFA members were able to ask questions to a panel of people who are advocates for agriculture as well as given advice on how to become a successful advocate. As an example of people who advocate for a need, members traveled to the Newseum to see how journalists and reporters fought for the freedom of the press.

For the final day of Washington Leadership Conference, participants used what was learned throughout the week to serve others. In just one hour, 340 FFA members came together to package 54,912 meals for people in the Washington D.C. area. Members were also given free time to tour the city before traveling home the next day. The picture is of from left: Kaci Way, Rachelle Howman, Shannon Garrison, and Zach Berry at the Washington Leadership Conference.

Members of the Northwestern FFA chapter parked cars, served ice cream, and helped clean up at the Town and Country Answer Plot held July 10. This event was held at Rice Farms on Route 250 outside of New Pittsburg. Members that helped at this event were Emily Flinn, Brittany Bunyak, McKayla Bunyak, Sarah Maximovich, Faith Hudson, Adam Miley, Phil Eberly, Debbie Eberly, Katie Stull, and Kierstyn Wood. The Answer Plot is used for research about crop production and protection, as well as to test new products for crops on local soils to benefit local farmers. Participants attending this event were given the opportunity to watch demonstrations and see results of the research and trials first-hand.

The Northwestern FFA chapter helped park cars and clean-up at the Twilight Tour held at the Steffen Dairy Farm in Kidron July 15. Zach Berry, Shannon Garrison, Rachel Guidetti, Adam Miley, Sarhra Flinn, Emily Flinn, Mary Baker, Bradley Aulger, Rachelle Howman, Shelby McKay, Debbie Eberly, Joey Workman, Phil Eberly, Mat Hunter, Reiley Murphy, Sarah Maximovich, Kaci Way, and members from the Triway FFA chapter helped at this event. Kierstyn Wood also helped, representing the Wayne County Jr. Dairy Princess and a Northwestern FFA member. The Steffen’s have been operating the farm for six generations, and this year’s tour consisted of tours of the dairy and a dinner. The tour highlighted new buildings and effective management of the farm. More than 1000 participants attended, making it one of the largest tours.

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MILLERSBURG, Ohio — On June 20, the members of West Holmes FFA attended Camp Muskingum in Carroll County. Those who attended were Shyann Kick, Morgan Hoxworth, Terry Medley, Jason Jenkins, Wyatt Mellor, Elise Neville, Hannah Schlegel, Chris Sprang, Kara Leadbetter, Racheal Yerian, and Atlee Miller. After arriving, campers went to start the fun at camp with grassy games. Then it was time for the first leadership workshop of camp called “influencers.”

During this workshop campers were taught how to be a positive influence to their peers and to recognize good influence from their peers.

On day two, campers attended another workshop on “Relationship Building.”

During this workshop campers were given the tools necessary to gain strong relationships with their peers and how to build strong relationships with new people as well. After the workshop, campers had free time to participate in the camp activities before eating lunch. During lunch, campers experienced a Hunger Banquet to allow members to identify issues with hunger in the United States, as well as worldwide.

In chapter chats, everyone in the chapter introduced themselves and shared something about them, then played games before going to campfire to end day two.

On day three, campers attended a workshop about being “Deliberate,” in this workshop campers recognized their person of influence in their lives.

In this workshop, campers were shown how to work together and communicate with one another to achieve their goal.

On day four, campers attended the last workshop about being an “agent of change”, in this workshop, campers were given the tools to be the positive influence in other people’s lives, and to understand how to change their own lives positively.

Clay Armstrong represented the West Holmes FFA chapter June 12-June 20 as he won a trip to Costa Rico as a part of the National FFA proficiency program, where he was a finalist in Forage Production last fall. On day one, they traveled to Miami where they met with the rest of the participants from across the country. 63 FFA members and advisors were a part of the travel seminar this year. On day two, they departed for San Jose, Costa Rica and met with their Costa Rican guides, Jenny and Gustavo. The first visit was nearby InBioparque, which is an ecological park that was created by Costa Rica’s Institute Of Biodiversity. They watched an introductory video about Costa Rica before going on a walk along trails that show the different types of Costa Rican forest’s, and then ended the day with a presentation about Costa Rica’s National parks and protected areas.

Day three started with a trip to La Paz Waterfall gardens, butterfly observatory, and hummingbird garden. The group was able to interact with birds and insects before hiking through six different waterfalls. After La Paz, the group departed for Dole Banana farms where they watched the basic operations of the farm including growing, harvesting, and packing bananas. The tour host also gave the group an indepth description of the history of Costa Rica, as well as how banana plants grow. The banana farm was Clay’s favorite tour on the trip.

The fourth day, the highlight of the trip for Mrs. Martin, included visiting Finca Corsicana and whitewater rafting. Finca Corsicana is the pineapple plantation owned by Collins Street Bakery of Corsicana, Texas. At the plantation, they learn about the history of the plantation and the phases of pineapple growth. They were also able to eat pineapple fresh from the field.

Day five started at the Arenal Hanging Bridges. The bridges are made to blend in with the environment and allow a guided nature walk into the heart of the rainforest. The trail travels through a series of six bridges, continuing upwards in height to a maximum bridge height of nearly 200 feet. The group saw many bird species, wild hogs, and a few poisonous snakes. The tour continued to the Don Fernando beef farm. At Finca Ganadera de Carnes Don Fernando farm, the group was able to see the high quality livestock that is grown for meat production. The Don Fernando farm raised Brahman and Simbrah (Simmental Brahman cross) cattle for meat production. The cattle were raised using intensive grazing practices and fed a citrus pulp supplement. The group finished the day with several hours in the hot springs on the side of a volcano.

On Day six, the group travelled to the Pacific coast for a day in the sun. The cruise was through the Gulf of Nicoya to Isla Tortuga to relax on the beaches. Group members were also able to snorkel on the island.

Day seven was a free day to spend at the pool or go zip lining in the rain forest.

Day eight included a tour of a coffee plantation. The group stopped at Naranjo for the Espiritu Santa Coffee tour. Here they learn about the tradition and history of coffee and how it relates to Costa Rica. They were able to taste many different coffee blends and see coffee being roasted and packed for shipping.

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