Virginia FFA: A Year in Review for 2022-2023
The 2022-23 year was monumental for Virginia FFA. From hosting the inaugural Blue Carpet Gala to braving through the great Goodwill Tour, or even trying something new with Rhett Laubach on the public speaking tour, FFA members have been on the move this year! State Officers were there to assist with many events and the year would not have been possible without the support of incredible individuals throughout the state.
A new year within the FFA brings with it the excitement of chapter visits. This past year, members could be found painting pumpkins to learn about teamwork, playing a game of telephone to improve their communication skills, and spending time reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses. While on visits, state officers had the opportunity to learn about the regions they were visiting and often participated in various chapter activities. Highlights included the excitement of community agriculture days, taking turns stirring the infamous apple butter, and working with a chapter to decorate their homecoming float. Workshops served as an excellent opportunity to jump into members' lives and experience the diversity in chapters across the state.
The Virginia Association hosted two new events this year that will hopefully become a regular part of the calendar for years to come. The first was the inaugural Blue Carpet Gala which was held in December in Mount Crawford, Virginia. The event brought together FFA members and supporters, both old and new. Obligatory opening ceremonies started off the evening with a live auction to follow. Guests were then invited to dance and mingle as the night went on. The evening was full of great laughter, food, and friends. Plans for the 2023 event are already in the making.
Public speaking has been attributed to many individuals' greatest fear. However, FFA members take a different approach and instead participate in events like the Public Speaking Tour with Rhett Laubach. During this event, members found themselves immersed in the world of public speaking. Whether it was a new trick for memorizing a speech or a timeline on how to prepare, Mr. Laubach helped our members unlock their public speaking potential.
FFA Week brings together FFA members across the nation and Virginia is no exception to the excitement. This past year, the state officer team and staff spent ten days on the road, traveling to over 90 chapters, and ended the week in Richmond advocating for FFA. The Goodwill Tour theme was ‘Illuminate.’ Students learned about the importance of identifying their strengths and weaknesses through a competitive puzzle activity. A characteristic revealed itself as groups worked to piece together the puzzle. Each evening brought with it a new exciting experience with members. Whether it was roller skating, agriculture olympics, or a trampoline park, members were always ready to jump into the fun. As the end of the week approached, the state officer team made their way to downtown Richmond where they received the proceeds from the First Lady’s wine, Cornus Virginicus, unveiled earlier that year. This donation truly made such a difference to the Association, not only from a monetary standpoint but also by helping to open lines of communication between Virginia FFA and state legislation. During this visit, the team spent time discussing the importance of FFA in Virginia and FFA’s impact on youth in agriculture, both causes that the Youngkin administration are incredibly passionate about.
The 2022-23 year was full of passion, adventure, and excitement. Whether it was seeing a student experience a contest for the first time or watching a student close out their last convention, it was quite an adventure for both members and state officers alike. The past state officer team would like to encourage FFA members across the Commonwealth to continue to radiate their love of agriculture in the future. While the 2022-23 year came to a close after the final gavel tap at the 97th Annual FFA Convention held in Blacksburg, Virginia, Virginia FFA’s schedule is just starting to amp up again. Members, chapters, and supporters are beginning to get started in this new chapter of Virginia FFA and the 2023-24 year will be yet another page in the Association’s long history book.
Virginia FFA State Reporter 2022-2023