On January 24, over 500 FFA members from the South Coast, Central, and North Coast regions gathered for the leadership conferences, Made for Excellence and Advanced Leadership Academy. The conference was held at the Embassy Suites in Monterey, California and lasted from Friday afternoon until late Saturday morning. The minute the conference started we began developing our VISION of issues in agriculture and FFA such as hunger, environment and ethics.
We started the first session by breaking into groups with other chapters and we discussed the FFA creed written by E.M. Tiffany adopted in 1930. After reading the five paragraphs each beginning with “I believe,” together we wrote our own ‘I believe’ statements saying how FFA helps students and how the things we learn throughout the organization can be used to help our chapter and our community. Since we were reflecting on why FFA is so important to us and some of the tools it gives us to better ourselves and our community; we then focused on personal growth activities and some activities that can help us better both our chapters and our community.
During the third session we talked about some ‘first world problems’ that we complain about everyday. After watching a video showing people from other countries saying some of the things that we had complained about, we saw how they had to live and how lucky we are. After that, we felt pretty ashamed to be complaining about such trivial things. Now that we had considered how much harder other countries have, it was time to tackle the three big issues that we focused our visions on for the rest of the conference, Hunger, Environment, and Ethics.
After doing a few activities to gain some background information about these topics and the role industry leaders and organizations have in promoting agriculture, we put our personal opinions aside and put ourselves in others’ shoes to debate some of these issues. We then got into our chapters to tackle the three big issues and come up with our own plan of action. Our goal: come up with a solution to the issue of our choice, hunger. After we developed our plan, which we called Glean SLO, where we will collect crops that were left behind or were not ready during picking, we presented it to the other chapters. With the development and presentation out of the way, the hard part was determining the best way to actually bring our vision to life.
Personally, I think that everything we did, from the videos we watched to the discussions that we held throughout the conference was eye opening. ALA was a great and memorable experience. I bonded with people from my chapter, and had the unique opportunity to meet people that I would not have met if it weren’t for FFA. Reflecting on some of these issues that we have the power to come up with the solutions for, by simply doing little things in our community, that essentially could be the first steps to feeding the world.
For more information about MFE/ALA or how to register visit: http://www.calaged.org/events/mfe-ala