By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager
Realityworks is at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo this week, and it is easy to feel the buzz and excitement in the air. Indianapolis is swarming with students and advisors from all over the country convening for this annual event. The FFA blue is in full force as over 60,000 students, advisors, and educators compete, discuss and collaborate in all forms concerning Agriculture. Whether or not you are familiar with FFA, it is quite an amazing sight to see and it brings me back to the Paul Harvey monologue of “God Made a Farmer.”
In a day and age where we have so many tense and conflicting views, this conference has been a breath of fresh air. Students come confidently with their professional FFA attire, look you straight in the eye when you talk with them and greet you and everyone around them with “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” They understand the idea of what leadership is because FFA educators and advisors teach it to them; it is part of the curriculum; it is part of the FFA DNA. These students are focused on gaining skills for their careers. They have a deep understanding that whether they end up in an Ag pathway or choose another career path, everything they are learning will suit them well.
As an exhibitor and partner with the National Association of Agriculture Educators and FFA, we are fortunate to see this all firsthand. As students and advisors experience educational products like our Cow Model and our guideWELD® VR welding simulator, we are seeing them dig deep into questions of best practices. We are seeing groups of students taking the welding coupons from our Weld Defects Kit out of the case and diagnosing the issues of the weld, inspecting each one, discussing the issue and how to fix it. We are seeing advisors using our Cow Uterus Model and discussing artificial insemination with students and how tough it can be to move the artificial insemination straw gun through that region for insemination. Advisors are seeing firsthand how using these hands-on learning aids will enhance their classrooms and deepen student learning and comprehension.
We have only experienced Day One of the FFA Convention, but it is easy to see who the future belongs to. FFA students are showing up and showing up boldly! These students have focus. They don’t just have interest, they have passion, and they see the way forward to better themselves, others and the world we all live in. They see that dedication to hard work, grasping understanding of solid agriculture concepts and using quality learning aids will help them achieve part of the FFA motto and mission of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” This is not only something they just say; they are living FFA blue boldly every day!