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CR-B FFA Members Visit Washington DC

July 11, 2019

CR-B FFA Members Visit Washington DC for Washington Leadership Conference

“Want to sweat your butt off wearing official FFA dress? Go to WLC. Want to meet people all over the US who become some of your closest friends in just a few days? Go to WLC. Want to become part of something bigger than yourself? Go to WLC… you won’t regret it.” This quote is how Coon Rapids-Bayard FFA member Madison Mohr responded when asked what she thought of her time at the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). She attended the conference with other Coon Rapids-Bayard FFA members Madison Schultes and Cassidy Baker. WLC is the most advanced level of leadership training offered through the National FFA Organization. Along with 370 FFA members from across the country, the three members attended the conference in Washington DC from June 25th through June 30th. 

 

Washington Leadership Conference is based on four main principles: ME, WE, DO, and SERVE. These four principles build on one another to accomplish the overall objective of becoming engaged citizens who can make a positive difference in their community.

On day one of the trip the members traveled with the FFA advisor, Ms. Clawson, to Washington DC. They arrived early and spent the day at the Smithsonian National Zoo. In the afternoon they checked into the conference, received their room assignments, and learned more about what they would be doing and what the expectations for the week were. 

 

The first full day of the conference focused on the principle ME. They began the day by visiting Arlington National Cemetery. They reflected on what purpose, strengths, and passions look like, especially for those laid to rest at the cemetery. During the conference sessions they defined what their own strengths and passions are in order to determine how they can combine those to meet a need in our community. In the evening, the FFA members saw more examples of key figures who lived a life of purpose when they took a night tour of monuments. 

The next day focused on the principle WE. The sessions focused on how no great task is accomplished alone. It is important to bring together people to help any cause. When we bring together groups of people we must also celebrate the diversity of the group in order to embrace what everybody brings to the table. To bring context to diversity, the three FFA members visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where diversity of thought is a cornerstone.

 

The principle DO encouraged students to think about advocacy. They learned about advocacy through visiting the U.S. Capitol Building. They learned how advocacy at the Capitol Building can lead to issues facing the nation being heard, considered, debated, and written into law. The members also toured the Library of Congress. After their visit, the members wrote their own advocacy plan for a cause they are passionate about. 

 

The pinnacle of the conference focused on the principle SERVE. The FFA members spent the morning taking part in a service project. They worked with FFA members from all over the nation packaging over 58,000 meals that were distributed in Washington DC and the surrounding area. They also had some free time to visit the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and American History Museum. 

 

Before traveling back to Coon Rapids, the three members took a tour of the International Spy Museum. During this interactive tour each person took on the secret identity of a spy. They were challenged throughout to complete their mission. To wrap up their Washington DC trip they were also able to catch a glimpse of the White House and visit the National Archives. 

 

When asked to share about their experiences, Cassidy Baker said, “WLC was an eye opening experience, and anyone with the chance to go should take the opportunity. I met so many amazing people and the whole experience made me realize how lucky I am, and that makes me grateful.” Madison Schultes responded by saying, “My favorite part of WLC was meeting a bunch of new people from all around and learning about the world’s needs and how I can help change the world by doing what I can, with what I have, where I am”. 

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