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69,944. Sound like a big number? It was the number of FFA members, advisors, and guests present at the most recent National FFA Convention, held in Indianapolis, Indiana during the last week of October.

Myself, along with my 10 teammates, and numerous Wisconsin FFA members made the journey, all to celebrate FFA. This year’s National FFA Theme was “Just One.” Below is an excerpt of why the National Officer team chose that theme:

“Just One. One moment, one encounter, one opportunity is all it takes to radically change the course of our lives. This year, our team has chosen “Just One” as our theme because we recognize the importance of each individual “Just One” step toward growth as we work toward our vision of growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture.

Changing the world sounds like a daunting task at times, yet we believe FFA members can change the world every day by Just One simple action. Just One embodies the idea that our FFA experiences were powerful because we took Just One chance and stepped out of our comfort zones. We hope to encourage members to take Just One risk. Just One step. Just One moment of courage. We are capable of shaping the future of agriculture, our homes, communities and the United States of America, when we believe in the power of Just One!”

National FFA Convention has always been one of my favorite FFA events – each year I would come back to my home chapter excited to get more involved because I had been reminded of the impact FFA makes in students’ and communities’ lives.

This year, over 200 individuals from Wisconsin were recognized for their achievements, 20 teams competed in Career Development Events, 25 chapters received National Chapter awards, and Wisconsin was the National Winner for Outstanding FFA Alumni and Supporters State Association.

Students heard from many speakers, were able to visit businesses and colleges in the FFA Expo, experienced a new partnership between FFA and agricultural technology found in the Blue Room, went to a Garth Brooks concert, and more. All of those awards and all of those opportunities – all coming together to celebrate one thing – an FFA member.

That is what I have always loved about National FFA Convention. Celebrating FFA members gives you an opportunity to see what other FFA members are doing, cheer for people from your state, and meet new friends.

To experience these things, I spent a lot of time at convention talking to people. However, I found out: you cannot talk to all 69,944 convention attendees at the same time. So, I was went to talk to one person at a time. One by one, I heard stories from FFA members, advisors, and guests from all over the country. There was a student competing in Creed Speaking from Arizona. There were three members from Utah on the escalator, the professor from Ohio, the state officers from Kansas, members from northern California.

There were the many Wisconsin FFA chapters I talked to while gathered waiting to take the state photo. I had so many incredible conversations throughout convention. Each conversation left me with a new perspective, and a new idea about what FFA means to people. It took Just One conversation to change my perspective on FFA.

Whether we attended National FFA Convention or not, we all have that same opportunity to share one conversation, to celebrate one FFA member, and to reflect the passion of one agricultural industry, ultimately changing someone’s perspective. It takes just one person. You could be that one.

National FFA Convention provided members, advisors, and guests with motivation, ideas for new projects, and ways to better impact their communities. My hope is that you too find Just One way to be motivated, start something new, and better your community.

69,944. It’s a big number. But an even more important number? 1. All it takes is Just One person to impact so many. National FFA Convention will always remind me of that.

Hayden is the president of the Wisconsin FFA Officer Team and was a National Proficiency Award winners  in Agricultural Education 

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