During the week of October 18– 22nd FFA members Jesse Sellman, Rebecca Enright, Tony Gwirtz, Katie Cramer, Cheyenne Johnson, chaperone Andrew Betti and Advisor Krista Betti traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the National FFA Convention.
The group first stopped and made a tour in Fort Wayne, In of Debrand Fine Chocolates. The opening stop was a guided tour of the factory and store where we learned about the processing chocolate candies, and were able to sample a few varieties. The next sightseeing tour was of Fair Oaks Dairy, which was on 19,000 acres and hosted 30,000 dairy cows in addition to the calves and dry cows. The students viewed the facilities which included a 73 cow carousel milking parlor, a manure management system which used the methane for power, dried the solids and the liquids for fertilizer. They also got to see a calf be born. The next day the members toured the Not Just Popcorn company, where there were over 300 flavors of popcorn, and students viewed it’s production, Ozark Fisheries, which is a koi and goldfish producer that is 85 years old this year. It is a family owned business started in 1926 and currently operated by the third generation, and Hunters Honey Farm in which students fed honey bees from their hand, bottled their own honey, and saw various uses for byproducts such as beeswax, bee pollen, and propolis. While in Indianapolis they toured the National FFA center and Indianapolis Speedway museum and took a tour around the track. Later that night the members went to the first session where they listened to a speaker, Dave Rover, a motivational speaker that was in the Vietnam War. They ended the evening by going to a PBR Rodeo, which they all enjoyed very much.
While at the convention in Indiana, the members attended many national chapter award ceremonies, leadership workshops and the heard the music from the National FFA band and chorus. They listened to keynote speaker and world-renowned graffiti artist David Garibaldi, and retiring address of national officer Shannon Norris, as they gave their inspirational messages. The students also attended the Buckeye Bash. The students got to go through the FFA mall to shop and buy a range of FFA items. They also walked through the Career Show, which had more than 1,000 booths of colleges and businesses informing the students about the opportunities of agriculture and new agricultural products.
During the convention the group, learned that leadership is influence, and how to inspire others to do their best. The chapter had two graduates; David Wagner and Duane Shawk receive the American FFA Degree at the final session. Fun was had by all there. The 2011 convention to sum it up was jammed packed and a blast for all the students that went!