Waterford FFA members visit nation’s capital

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mackenzie Cary, Courtney Miller, Rebecca Miller and Isabella Strahler, members of the Waterford FFA Chapter, converged in Washington, D.C., this summer to analyze their personal skills and interests, develop leadership skills and a create a meaningful community-service plan that will make a difference in their home communities.

More than 1,800 students are registered for the 2019 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience that the National FFA Organization hosts each year.

Created in 1969 and held annually in Washington, D.C., this year’s conference began June 2, based at the Omni Hotel located in Washington D.C.

Through June and July, FFA members spent a week under the guidance of educational professionals, counselors and professional FFA staff members. In workshops, seminars and small groups, students focused on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals and undergo comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters.

Students also analyzed needs of their communities back home, developed a wide-ranging and high-impact community-service initiative and implemented their plan with the help of their FFA chapter upon return home. Students in recent years have created food and clothing drives, volunteer campaigns, educational outreach initiatives and more.

“Students who attend the Washington Leadership Conference learn their purpose, how to value people, how take action and the importance of serving others,” said National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl. “They leave with the knowledge and the confidence to act in ways that help their schools, communities and their country.”

During their time in Washington, FFA members experienced the history of the nation’s capital, touring landmarks including the Washington Monument, War Memorial, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol among others.

Many students also arrange meetings with members of Congress.

“Monsanto’s support of the Washington Leadership Conference demonstrates our commitment to the talented and passionate youth who will become agricultural leaders,” said Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer advocacy outreach lead.

“Monsanto has a long tradition of supporting agriculture youth so they can develop the skills necessary to meet the needs of today while preserving the planet for tomorrow.”

The conclusion of each weekly session of the Washington Leadership Conference is a Day of Service, during which students work together on a real, hands-on community-service project.

“CSX is proud to support our nation’s future leaders by supporting the Washington Leadership Conference,” said Tori Kaplan, CSX AVP of corporate social responsibility. “CSX is pleased to support the conference and is even more excited to sponsor community service events with FFA members that will have a positive effect on the city’s school district.”

The 2019 National FFA Organization’s Washington Leadership Conference is sponsored through the National FFA Foundation by title sponsors Monsanto and CSX and by weekly sponsors TransCanada, Crop Production Services, Farm Credit and BNSF & Growth Energy.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to over 600,000 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,500 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.