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Meet Ava Jane Teasley, FFA North Region State Vice President
How would you explain your experience in FFA to someone who is unfamiliar with the program?
By Ava Jane Teasley, FFA North Region State Vice President
The most common question I receive when wearing the blue jacket in public is, “What is FFA?” or rather, “What is the big yellow image on your back?” Then, I tell them about The National FFA Association and how it is the largest student led organization in the country and how the FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. But, the unique aspect of these questions is that every person’s jacket tells a story. Each one of the “big yellow images” on the back of the jackets tells a story unique to every single FFA member. As a state officer, it is my duty to make sure those stories are heard.
My story began long before many FFA members do. My dad is the director of Leadership and Development for both Georgia FFA-FCCLA Centers. Because of this I was able to grow up around FFA members, and various summer camps. FFA was in my blood. Then, when I reached freshman year I was FINALLY able to enroll into my first agricultural education class. I started the class knowing that it was going to have an impact on my life, but the impact was more than I could ever imagine. I started my freshman year practicing for the Creed Speaking Career Development Event and was fortunate enough to be earn second in state. Through that experience I learned how to push myself to new limits, as well as begin a strong bond with my ag teacher, Mrs. Pollard. But my experience didn’t end there. I competed in more CDE’s and became a chapter officer. The thing about this experience is that it isn’t always the good events that you remember. It’s the events that don’t always seem so good at the time, in which one will learn and grow from. For example, going into my sophomore year I ran to be a Georgia FFA Area Officer. I was sure that I was going to be elected. But, when the time came for my name to be called, it wasn’t. I was devastated that I wasn’t on the team as well as full of doubt because I thought I had what it took to be an Area Officer. I learned from this experience by not giving up when the time came to run for state office, and it pushed me to work even harder. Little did I know that I would be able to use this experience to help another FFA member get through the same exact experience. My experience through FFA has provided me with valuable life experiences that I will be able to cherish and share for the rest of my life.
A common assumption with people who aren’t familiar with the program is that we are ONLY about production agriculture. FFA members and supports like to respond to that assumption by saying, “we are more than just cows, sows, and plows!” Which is a valid statement, but the beauty about our organization and what we represent is that we are cows, sows, and plows AND we are the other things such as leadership and team development. The cows and plows is where we started and we have been able to hold true to that core belief for over 90 years! We teach leadership skills and life lessons through our common value of supporting the agricultural industry.
Every time I put on my corduroy jacket I am fortunate enough to gain a new experience, learn a new lesson, and meet new people. I am blessed that my FFA jacket starts conversations with those who are not familiar with the program, and that I have the opportunity to spread awareness for my passion. But, what I love most about the FFA is that I share this passion with over 42,000 FFA members in Georgia and over 660,000 FFA members nationwide. Each of these members have a story to share and a unique experience within FFA. I am just a small piece of the large puzzle, and that is what is most rewarding. I hope that this passion amongst all FFA members is what citizens recognize when asking about our experiences.
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