Insider's Guide to the Best National FFA Convention
“It’s finally here again!”
Some people relate the month of October to Halloween, naturally. But if you are an FFA member, odds are that you relate the month of October to National FFA Convention! As the world of FFA makes it’s way back to Indianapolis this year, here are 10 tips I want to share with you so that you are able to make the most of your time at the National FFA Convention and Expo.
1) Always wear proper official dress
This entails black dress shoes for you gentleman and ladies, closed toe heels. The official FFA tie or scarf. Black slacks or skirt with the skirt at least knee length, evenly hemmed. A white collared shirt and the official FFA jacket zipped to the top with the tallywacker tucked in!
2) Clear your phone for plenty of room for pictures
There will be a ton of picture opportunities while on this adventure around Indianapolis. With other members of your chapter, from new FFA friends from across the country, not to mention the incredible stage design for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo. You will definitely want to snap a picture of “FFA Way”, the Indianapolis Canal which has been turned blue in celebration of convention, and the downtown Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
3) Pantyhose tips and tricks
This one is for the ladies. It is such a pain to have to carry around an extra pair of pantyhose (or nylons - it depends on what state you are from and what you call these). An extra hint to help your pantyhose last, spray them with hairspray and always carry some clear nail polish with you just in case they snag.
4) Attend every session that you possibly can
This is the focus of convention! The sessions, the guest speakers, the national officers, the retiring addresses, the motivation, the passion and the encouragement. As the future of agriculture, you are going to the right place to realize just how much potential you have and to grasp a better understanding of how many opportunities are in front of you.
5) Take a moment to take it all in.
You will be surrounded by thousands of blue corduroy jackets. It is the most beautiful thing you may ever see. To be surrounded by members from all across the country including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and to see everyone stand up to respond to the question, “Why are we here?” This is when you begin to understand the power of the “sea of blue”.
6) Get as many signatures as you can
You will get a convention guide when you arrive. Towards the very back of this program book is a couple of pages with all 50 states’ names, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and then a blank space. The goal is always to fill up that booklet! Try your best to get a member’s signature from every association. This is a fantastic way to make new friends!
7) Check out the tradeshow and expo
There are so many fantastic opportunities to check out in the expo. Large agricultural businesses and industries, colleges, possible internships, even possible future jobs can be found in the expo. Networking and connecting with others is a valuable opportunity made possible in FFA and the National FFA Convention is a great place to check that out. Did I mention that the FFA Mega Store will be in town? You should probably bring some extra cash with you. If you're anything like me, you'll eventually want anything and everything that has the FFA emblem on it.
8) Get some sleep
This sounds like a contradiction because, really, who can sleep when it’s time for convention?! Do your best to rest up for the few days that you will spend in Indianapolis. Rest on the bus, plane, train, or whatever mode of transportation you will be taking. Trust me, you will be on such an “FFA high” over these days and you don’t want to drain yourself. There will be many early mornings and many late nights. Rest up so that you will be able to enjoy your time at the convention even more!
9) Stay connected
If you have social media, make sure to share your FFA story with family and friends by posting frequently about your time at the convention, always tagging the “National FFA Organization” and using their convention hashtags! They also have an app! Download it now so you're ready to go when the convention is here!
10) Have fun!
It doesn’t matter if this is your very first time to convention or your very last time. I know that the 90th National FFA Convention will have some sort of impact or maybe even transformation on your life. Have so much fun, make so many memories, and always remember the importance of this organization to the future of agriculture. You have a unique opportunity to witness the heart of the National FFA Organization over the course of a few days. Never take your time in the blue corduroy for granted. Never forget that you are representing something much larger than just yourself. Never forget that you are representing every member before you, every member currently with you, and every member to come in the future.