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FALL 2013

Creating synergy in service

“WLC, why are we here?” “To do what we can, with what we have where we are.”


hese words rang through the ballroom of the Washington, D.C., hotel as FFA members embarked on a life-changing adventure. The Washington Leadership Conference was offered for six weeks this past summer, and hundreds of members realized their potential in citizenship and the need to value people and prepare for the noble calling of serving others. During the students’ week at WLC they also learned the value of team work and ultimately created a “Living to Serve Continued on page 3

Inside This Issue:

• Milestones: Celebrating 25 years • FFA sponsors team with members • Ffa Alumni spotlight


of the Blue years Jacket!


Photo courtesy of News Link, Inc.

to battle hunger


“Be careful – your jacket is showing. Your colors of blue and gold, the motif carried out in the design of your jacket, marks you as a young man chosen by your [peers] to represent the best we have in agriculture,” advised the American Farm Youth magazine in 1961. Today, the pride and honor associated with wearing the jacket is still strong. By Katy Mumaw

he magazine goes on to read, “As you accept the dignity of wearing the jacket that carries the emblem and colors of FFA into the battle of life, may the world be greatly pleased with the good deeds it will see performed by the chosen few. When they see the FFA jacket, they feel the leaders are being trained.” As FFA heads back to Louisville, Ky., to once again fill the Kentucky Exposition Center’s Freedom Hall with a sea of blue, the organization will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the blue jacket. In 1933, a group of delegates voted to adopt the blue jacket as Official Dress. This icon is undoubtedly the most recognizable symbol of student leadership in American agriculture. Each time a jacket is zipped, memories are made and lessons learned. Many FFA sponsors and donors recognize the impact of the blue jacket and have chosen to help give back. In one example, Syngenta and its retail partners launched the FFA Blue Jacket Program in 2008. Since then, Syngenta has matched every $2,500 pledge by retailers through the program to support FFA. As a result, together they have donated more than $2.89 million to the organization and more than 550 FFA jackets. Jeremy Crouch, a Syngenta sales representative, has been an advocate for the program since its inception. He works with retailers who donate to the program. “Kids are our future,” Crouch said. “If FFA doesn’t train them, who will?” When asked how he encouraged the retailers to become involved, he said, “Honestly, most of the retailers are agriculturally focused and promote agriculture on all levels (local, state and national). That is the beauty of the Blue Jacket Program, Today, more than 70,000 FFA jackets are made each year.

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Continued on page 2

Fall 2013


Celebrating 80 Years of the Blue Jacket

Q and A with Kayce Christie Christie: It meant everything to me. FFA is so important to me, and I love it. Having my own jacket makes me feel completely part of FFA.

As an FFA advisor, this program

has helped me give a deserving student a jacket,” said Alicia Gutierrez, an agriculture educator at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz. “Kayce would have never been able to afford a jacket on her own. She is a great student, and FFA makes a major difference in her life. I was very emotional when I received the letter that I would be getting a jacket to award to someone in my chapter. I was trying to find a way to get a jacket for her for a while. She is very deserving, and this program is amazing!

Continued from page 1

it is recognized on all levels.” Individual donors can also give an FFA jacket to the chapter of their choice. Ambra Tennery, a former member of the Danville FFA Chapter in Indiana, knows the possibilities the jacket can ignite for a member. “When I wore my jacket it made me feel important, empowered and a part of something much bigger than myself,” she said. “I donated a jacket to a student at Emma Donnan Middle School because I wanted to provide them the opportunity to ‘suit up’ and be a part of something that can be life changing. Many students just need someone to stretch out a hand to provide them with materials that will open doors for something great.” Service to others, deeply rooted in the organization’s values, is now passed on to each jacket recipient from corporate sponsors and individual donors alike. It doesn’t matter if you have worn the jacket or not, the power to pass on opportunities for students to actualize their potential is yours.


Fall 2013

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Q: How does wearing the jacket make you feel? Christie: I feel full of pride and happy when I wear my jacket.

Q: What would you like to do after high school? Christie: I want to be a counselor for special education students.


ayce Christie, a member of the Hamilton FFA in Chandler, Ariz., received her FFA jacket from individual donor Jenna Clark, an education specialist at the National FFA Organization. Christie is currently a sophomore and received her jacket as a freshman.

Q: What did it mean to you to receive your own jacket?

Q: What FFA activities are you involved in? Christie: I am on the Food Science team. I help my advisor, Ms. Gutierrez, with the chickens in the greenhouse for my SAE. I am also the Hamilton FFA Chapter reporter. I Love FFA and everything about it. We have fun meetings and activities. I help with the junior high CTE tours to encourage eighth graders to join agriculture classes.


5 2 s r a e Y g n i t a r b e l e C

of Service!

By Katy Mumaw


he silver anniversary for our sponsors and donors recognizes a quarter century of dedication to a vision. Two corporate sponsors and two individual donors celebrate the milestone this year. Penton Media has sponsored a thousand dollar scholarship for 25 years, supporting those pursuing higher education. They were honored with the National FFA Distinguished Service Citation in 1986, an award given to those who have made outstanding contributions to FFA and agricultural education. They also supported the National FFA Capital Campaign in 2000 with $10,000. In 2012, Penton Media merged with Farm Progress and assumed the name Penton Farm Progress, bringing two prominent organizations under one roof and making them the largest and most diversified agricul-

tural information business in North America. They offer live events, digital products, data, marketing services and publications, said Greg Frey, vice president and market leader of Penton Farm Progress. Frey credits Bob Moraczcwski, a 32-year employee who is now retired, with initially deciding to invest in the members of FFA. Frey and Penton Farm Progress continue to support FFA for many reasons. “We see a lot of value in the organization, and we want to remain a part of the tradition. It is a great organization training our future leaders and farmers and we are happy to be a part of it,” he said. The Fox Foundation, a private foundation in Newfield, N.J., is also celebrating 25 years of giving. They annually give to the National FFA Leadership Fund. Individuals honored for this benchmark include Neil and Patty Jo Christenson of Wisconsin and Mark Rumbold of Illinois. The Christensons have supported the foundation with their time as a member of the sponsors’ board and as an executive sponsor. They have given to various programs in leadership and educator development. Rumbold received his Honorary American FFA Degree in 1992. He has also donated his time and funds to the National FFA Foundation as an executive sponsor and has personally contributed to the leadership fund.

Ffa sponsors team with members to battle hunger


By Katy Mumaw

he National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation continue to find ways to bring the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” to life for local FFA chapters. One such way is the Living to Serve Grant Program, which now awards three types of grants: Rural Youth Development, Environmental and Food For All. Just this year alone, FFA has awarded almost a million dollars through these three grant Rainer FFA built raised beds, sponsored by CHS through a Food For All grant, to feed food in-secure kids in their community. Other Living to Serve programs. The Rainer FFA Chapter in Wash- grant sponsors include The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Farm Journal Agricultural Foundation, the USDA, CSX and Donaldson. ington has benefited for the past two years from the Food For All grant, about our different events, such as our food supported by CHS and Farmer’s Feeding the drive,” Hanna said. World through the National FFA FoundaHanna has aspirations to run for a state tion. “We started this project because kids FFA office and knows that each speaking are hungry,” said Angie Karnes, agriculture opportunity can help reach this goal. The educator and FFA advisor at Rainer High garden has also opened his eyes to different School. “I was feeding kids pretzels and industry opportunities. “I want to become a crackers out of my cupboard…but I wanted chef at a restaurant where all the food comes to feed them healthy local food. What startfrom local farmers,” he said. ed as a class project to provide some fresh Karnes’ class is able to benefit from the fruits and vegetables to our local community grant in all three components of agricultural has grown substantially thanks to grants, education: She takes the technical knowldonations and volunteers.” edge she instructs in the classroom and apThe school district provided the land and plies it to the garden and to the members’ water. The chapter then built raised beds. The land once was the site of a single-wide 2013 Living to Serve distribution totals trailer that burned to the ground, thus the • Food For All Grants - $320,100 need for raised beds, Karnes explained. The first year of the project, they got the • Environmental Grants - $174,000 lumber for the raised beds donated. “The • Rural Youth Development Grants Food For All grant administered by the Naapproximately $413,000 tional FFA Organization really gave us a chance to make our community garden sustainable,” Karnes said. supervised agricultural experiences and During the second year of the grant, the then uses the skills acquired and knowledge chapter was able to put in a watering system. gained to share with the community through “With 54 consecutive days of no precipitavarious FFA outreach activities. tion, one year, we were spending an average “Our students are learning management of four hours a day watering. With the grant skills, how to be good stewards of their envidollars we were able to teach the students ronment and because of their work they are about creating an irrigation system and then able to donate fresh foods to their friends in actually do it,” Karnes said. the community who are hungry. It teaches Riley Hanna, a sophomore in Karnes’ compassion,” Karnes said. program, enjoys getting the greenhouse Mariah Holmes, a senior who has taken ready for the plant sale, transplanting, Karnes’ environmental science class, has helping to harvest and tilling the beds. learned this compassion and loves planting “The garden project has helped me develop seeds and watching them grow. “It is a republic speaking skills with opportunities to ally awesome feeling knowing the food goes speak to the community and newspapers to help others in our own community,” HolContinued on page 4

Creating synergy in service Continued from page 1

Plan” to take home to their chapter and community. In addition to their individual service plans, they also participated in a group service project on the last day of the conference. The project was sponsored by CSX and operated by City Year, a national service organization. “The project demonstrated the power of partnerships,” said Tori Kaplin, the assistant vice president of corporate responsibility for CSX. “It is a result of three organizations with similar philosophies putting our assets together, creating a synergy and as a result making the world a better place,” she said. Participants at WLC packed school supplies that went directly to 12 of the 14 public schools in the D.C. area. More than 4,000 students started the 2013 school year with the supplies needed for success as a result of the WLC service day. “We want to show FFA members that we care about the community, and with packing school supplies as a large group, they too can be part of keeping kids in school,” Kaplin said. Hugh Harlow, a senior project manager of Care Force at City Year, worked to organize the logistics of the project. He hopes WLC 2013 participants packed: • 540 welcome back to school posters • 4,320 welcome-back-to-school cards • 4,050 student cinch sacks full of school supplies • 3,960 wellness flash cards • 270 classroom goodie boxes to support local teachers • 36 indoor/outdoor games for students to promote healthy lifestyles

that the FFA members who participated are able to integrate this culture of service into their schools and communities. “I find that one of the main factors in influencing people to stay involved in service projects is to run a high-quality service event that is a good use of the volunteers’ time and that each individual feels valued and impacted,” he said. FFA has been igniting student’s passions in leadership and service around D.C. since 1941 with plans to continue next year with even more opportunities for members to have this life-changing experience. To learn more about this service project, visit and search CSX FFA WLC v1. Title sponsors of the WLC program are CSX and Monsanto. Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Fall 2013


Donor SPotlight: FFA Alumni SPotlight:

FFA sponsors team with members to battle hunger Continued from page 3

mes said. Holmes plans to go to college and become a high school math teacher. Through the Rainier Community Garden and her environmental science class, she has learned that math is a big part of everything. The FFA grant programs have given many FFA chapters a chance to actualize their service projects in a way that would not have been possible without the monetary support. These funds continue to benefit their communities. To learn more about the Rainer Community Garden, visit their Facebook page, https:// garden.


See blue jackets in action at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo Guests of the National FFA Foundation will celebrate leadership, growth and student success — recognizing how your generosity is making a difference in the lives of FFA members and shaping the future of agriculture in America — in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30 - Nov. 2. See members in action and enjoy some special events. National FFA Convention & Expo 2013 highlights include: • A concert featuring Dierks Bentley with special guest Jana Kramer, Wed., Oct. 30, 8:45 p.m. • Sponsor and Donor Recognition Reception and Dinner on Thurs., Oct. 31, at 4:30 p.m. • The exciting career development event finals. • Nationally recognized motivational speakers at the general sessions. • And so much more! If you aren’t able to join us in Louisville you can still be a part of the action by streaming the convention and expo on You can also watch live gavelto-gavel coverage of the convention sessions on RFDTV, Dish Network channel 231 or Direct TV channel 379.


Fall 2013

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Speaking from experience By Jami Stall


hen Joe Martinez speaks, people listen. His kind voice resonates with sincerity and a certain familiarity, like that of an admired professor or wise uncle. “I do not believe in talking to people; I believe in talking with people,” says the 65-year-old former national FFA officer and present-day northern California orchard farmer. “I cherish the opportunity to share my experiences and philosophies and the things that I’ve learned over the years with anyone who’s willing to listen.” Those lucky enough to be within earshot are in for a treat, because even after four decades Martinez still loves public speaking, and it shows. What doesn’t show is that English is his second language. As an American of Hispanic ancestry, Martinez was the first bilingual national officer in FFA history. He served from 1968-69 as vice president of what was formerly the Pacific Region, and he was FFA president of California from 1967-68. Born in the United States to immigrant parents from Spain, Martinez heard very little English spoken at home. But his parents voiced a deep pride in all things American, particularly the education and language. As a youth, he made it his personal goal to be articulate in both languages. “I wanted to be able to speak English without a Spanish accent and to speak Spanish without an English [American] accent,” he explains. For inspiration he regularly tuned in to baseball announcers Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese, and he often listened to Winston

1968-69 National FFA Officer Team; Joe Martinez, far right.

Churchill. At 14 years old, when he joined FFA, Martinez rehearsed his speeches for hours in front of the mirror. As a national FFA officer, Martinez polished his public speaking skills from one side of the globe to the other. His crammed itinerary included Detroit, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Germany, Holland and Denmark. “I’m here because of all the opportunities that FFA provided to me, and those opportunities were there because of everyone who came before me, helping to build the FFA program,” he says. As a member of the board of directors of the California FFA Foundation, Martinez says, “I want to make sure that the opportunities that were there for me when I was a freshman in high school will still be there for many generations to come.” As an orchard farmer growing fruit and nut trees, it is a perfect metaphor for the seeds he sows for the future each time he donates his time and dollars to FFA. “I’m still planting a lot of new ones [seeds] that are going to be here years after I’m gone,” he says.

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!  ‘‘Blue Jackets. Bright Futures” is a newsletter published by the National FFA Foundation, which builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources to fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Molly Ball President 317-802-4357

Todd Greenwood Director, Corporate Contributions 317-802-4361

Ryan Gallagher Director, Individual Giving and Major Gifts 317-802-4297

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures! 2014