For Youngsters 4-H and FFA Offer Ongoing Rewards
Many young livestock exhibitors sell their animals at the Junior Livestock Auction, held the last day of each Fair. They put the money into their college funds for later use. The money helps, but, as one mother says, there are other strong benefits.
Angela and Luke Browning of Grass Valley both were 4-H members before they reached high school. Luke started his first swine project in the 6th grade. When they reached high school the two Browning children switched to Future Farmers of America and started a joint swine breeding project raising piglets and selling them to other FFA members to raise for Fair.
Angela, now 23, is a 1999 graduate of Bear River High School. Luke, just turned 21, is a 2001 Bear River graduate. Both are undergraduate students at California State University, Chico. Both are Agricultural Science majors and both are working toward getting teaching credentials to teach ag science in high school.
“The thing that has gotten them where they are now is not the money from the projects, but the experience,” Luke and Angela’s mother, Cindy Browning, says. “It allowed them to learn, and to network with people in the community; they were provided opportunities that opened doors.”
Both Browning youngsters were active in leadership and public speaking in high school. When they graduated both were state FFA officers, which took them traveling to high schools throughout California promoting ag leadership.
Angela served as state FFA vice president in 1999-2000, working with FFA chapters putting on leadership conferences for students. “We have 57,000 FFA members in California,” she says.
This fall she begins her final year at Chico. “I believe so strongly in ag education,” Angela adds, “That I’m an ag science education major in college.” She plans to teach agricultural science when she graduates.
This summer Luke’s working in Washington DC for the national FFA organization, where he’s a presenter at the FFA’s Washington Leadership Conference.
“We see about 200 students a week for six weeks. Our big service project is gleaning, going over fields after harvest, picking food that wasn’t harvested, for the homeless and hungry.” Luke and his students work fields in nearby Maryland.
“That’s to give them an example,” he says. “When the students leave here the goal is that they have a plan for a service project that they can implement in their home communities.”
Angela has been training FFA officers across the country, flying state to state. This summer she’s in Bolivia for a two week church trip working on a sustainable ag project, putting in a hygiene water system. She’ll be working with Food for the Hungry, a mission organization, building washing facilities and teaching hygiene to 500 kids. She was accepted for the project because of her ag experience.
“FFA has allowed them opportunities to improve their leadership skills, to network, and to learn, Cindy Browning says. “There are just so many opportunities in FFA to grow. That’s how they’re putting themselves through school; a lot of work, a lot of travel, and stepping up to the plate when the opportunities arise. They’re doing well.”
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