The blue wave in Indianapolis next week is all about FFA students from around the country returning to the Hoosier state in their blue jackets for the annual national convention. When the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo starts Wednesday, it will mark the start of a week when FFA students inevitably are inspired.
“Inspired by others, inspired by their chapters, inspired by our speakers, inspired just overall, and I think it will help them as they go back to their chapters to be inspired and share that with others and serve as a motivation of what they can do in their own community,” says Kristy Meyer, Communications Manager for National FFA.
Members will experience Indiana and much of its capital city.
“In Indianapolis we have events at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That will have our general convention sessions. The Indiana Convention Center will have our workshops, our Expo, our new initiative, the Blue Room. Lucas Oil Stadium will host one of our sessions for the American Degree and of course our concert (Garth Brooks) on Wednesday evening. Indiana State Fairgrounds will hold our career development events, and our leadership development events will be in seven area hotels. Those are our speaking events, our parliamentary procedure events, our farm business management events.”
Travel for some FFA students includes Purdue University for the meats career development event, a CDE at Dull’s Tree Farm near Thorntown, and eleven locations in Indy for various service projects.
To seamlessly pull off an event of more than 65,000 FFA members and guests, the national FFA staff pulls in a lot of volunteer help.
“At National FFA there are 120 employees, and we work together to make this convention a success, but we would not be able to do it if it wasn’t for all of our volunteers,” Meyer told HAT. “Some of our volunteers fly in and spend the week with us, and some of our volunteers are in the city and they make it happen.”
Still others drive to the city from many parts of Indiana. The convention runs October 24-27, 2018 and attracts members from 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This year, the theme of the convention and expo is Just One, and the national officer team is excited to share this with all of those in attendance.
“FFA members know that every life moment, milestone and journey starts with just one – just one step, just one conversation, just one action. Together, we can make an impact on our chapters, our communities, our future,” 2017-18 National FFA President Breanna Holbert, a student at California State University, Chico, said. “The convention and expo is an opportunity for members to come together and learn from one another.”
It’s estimated that the national convention and expo will have a $40 million impact on the city of Indianapolis. Attendees will stay in 115 hotels throughout the Indianapolis area.
The convention and expo will kick off with the FFA band leading a grand march down Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis on Wed., Oct. 24. The march will end at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and usher in the start of the opening session. That evening, Garth Brooks, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, will take the stage for a private show for convention attendees. John Deere will also commemorate 75 years of partnership at the convention as well. On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 27, the eighth general session will be held in Lucas Oil Stadium where American FFA Degrees, the highest degree for an FFA member, will be bestowed upon more than 4,000 FFA members.
The Blue Room: a 17,000-square-foot interactive area that showcases the cutting-edge technology, research, and innovation taking place in agriculture. Through experiential learning and a specific focus on the most critical challenges facing our communities, from respecting the planet to feeding the world, The Blue Room will inspire and equip students to activate their potential. AgriNovus Indiana and Microsoft are the title sponsors of this experience.
The National FFA Convention & Expo is scheduled to be held in Indianapolis through 2024.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.
Source: National FFA