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Detroit Lakes FFA members travel to D.C. for conference

Forty-five Minnesota FFA members at the nation’s capital. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Emily Vogt, Kalon Meyer, Jack Waller were three of 45 FFA members that represented Minnesota FFA in Washington, D.C., June 16-21.

Trescha Mitchell, Detroit Lakes FFA advisor, along with her husband, Chad, was nominated to travel with the 45 student Minnesota FFA members in June.

High school students from throughout the country spent a week of their summer vacations undergoing training that will help them identify their strengths, establish personal goals and strengthen leadership skills.

More than 2,300 students and 250 teachers attended the National FFA Organization’s 2014 Washington Leadership Conference. The annual conference, which dates back to 1969, included seven, one-week sessions in Washington, D.C., from June through July.

Based at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, FFA members receive instruction and training led by education professionals, counselors and FFA staff. Through workshops, seminars and small groups, students studied best practices to advocate for agriculture and agricultural education and learn about the importance of valuing people, taking action and serving others.

New this year will be opportunities for students to engage representatives from sponsor companies CSX, Monsanto, TransCanada, Farm Credit and Crop Production Services to learn about their operations and discuss future career opportunities.

While in the nation’s capital, students will tour Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol, Newseum, take a night tour of national monuments and visit the Smithsonian.

Students also shared needs of their respective communities and work together to create a community-service project that their FFA chapter can implement in their home towns.

The conclusion of each weekly session of the Washington Leadership Conference is a day of community service. Last year, students volunteered a combined 9,500 hours to pack and distribute educational resources to inner city schools. This was a special project in partnership with CSX and City Year.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the National FFA Organization.