5 Reasons to Attend Washington Leadership Conference
Are you an FFA member on the fence about attending the greatest leadership conference the National FFA offers? Here are five incentives you should consider:
See the nation’s capital.
Growing up in northwest Oklahoma I was fortunate enough to travel to nearby states on family vacations. A massive trip to Washington D.C. always seemed like something out of reach. However, my ag teacher was great about pushing me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to attend. It’s an experience I’ll never be able to thank him enough for. From touring the monuments to riding on the second busiest subway system in the United States and all points in between, it’s the trip of a lifetime.
Get to know some of the best FFA members in the country.
Spend a week with over 300 other FFA members learning valuable leadership and team building skills with highly trained facilitators. The experience you share builds meaningful, long-term friendships. Every officer elected at the Oklahoma FFA my senior year attended WLC, one of them went on to become a member of the National FFA Officer Team. You never know who you will meet attending this leadership conference.
Learn more about our government.
The members spend an afternoon listening to elected officials from their respective states. Oklahoma’s Senator James Inhofe and Representative Frank Lucas speak about their day-to-day activities in our national government and their roles in Congress. Rep. Frank Lucas was especially interesting because he serves on the House Committee on Agriculture. Although I had a basic idea of what went on in our nation’s capital, this trip broadened my horizon to what our elected government officials actually did.
Serve the local community.
The last day of WLC serves the local community. We spent a foggy east-coast morning picking strawberries on the side of a mountain for a local food bank. (There may or may not have been a small strawberry fight during this event - I may even have the stained shirt as evidence.) We left that strawberry field with a sense of fulfillment. We harvested over 100 pounds of strawberries, I don’t know how many local people they fed; but our efforts kept that many people from going hungry.
Have an epic, life-changing story you’ll remember forever.
My converse all-stars still had Oklahoma dirt on them when I stepped foot in the nation’s capital. I was awestruck by the amount of history and the magnitude of the buildings standing in what was once a swamp. My best friend and I met during this trip (I was the best man at his wedding.) We were at the Ronald Reagan Center eating lunch on the day Ronald Reagan died. A weird coincidence! But an event we still bring up to this day. Personally, seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. You leave the ceremony with (for me even more) gratitude for the men and women who serve our country.
The lessons gleaned from this leadership conference continue to impact and guide my life. Like my ag teacher, I’d highly encourage you to go.