January 2018
Youth Matters

FFA Sentinel: What do you do with time?

 

Winston County High School FFA members construct handicap-accessible ramps and sidewalks for the visitor’s side of the football stadium.

Recently, I was asked a question, "What do you do with time?"

My reply was simple, "Who has time?"

As we are now through the holiday season and starting a new year, many of us set resolutions for ourselves. Maybe these include: lose some weight; get into shape; stop drinking soda; quit a bad habit; be a better spouse, parent, son or daughter, boss, employee …; and the list goes on. What do you do with time? Maybe retirement has just kicked in, as is the case of our dear friend and former FFA Executive Secretary Philip Paramore.

When asked, "What are you going to do with your time?"

He replied, "Watch my cows eat grass."

But we all know better.

Regardless of your resolution or the depth of your plans for the coming year, remember the FFA motto, "learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve." Would it be cliché to say that is a metaphor for life?

FFA is a student-led organization, but, throughout its long and storied 90-year history, those students have been led and advised by many a wise old owl. The adult guidance and leadership through FFA advisors, parent involvement, FFA alumni and Young Farmers groups, the past officers and a host of others who guide our FFA chapters are too precious a commodity to price.

Think back to the FFA motto and how it is a part of our lives. We never stop learning to do, even if now it is through a YouTube video and by trying those new things we inevitably learn. Maybe in all that doing we find purpose and something that earns our living. Maybe we find a hobby that takes our mind off what makes our living. Finally, at some point in our lives, in different measures for different individuals, we figure out how to serve.

All across Alabama, FFA chapters are serving our communities through service-learning projects such as Adopt-A-Highway or Adopt-A-Mile, Renew Our Rivers, local civic projects, safe driving and crime prevention campaigns, and the list is infinite. Through 90 years and several changes, FFA remains an organization of service.

In agriculture education, we use many terms such as "project-based learning" and "experiential learning," but recently new educational jargon was introduced to me in detail at the 90th National FFA Convention. "Service learning" caught my attention. This term refers to a type of learning by doing centered on service. As I thought about this term and exactly how it relates to FFA, a notion kept rolling around in my brain. Just as when the term "project-based learning" was coined, I thought, we already do this in FFA.

FFA members, family and friends, how do you serve? As a challenge to us all, how will you take the knowledge you have gained in FFA and your agriculture class and use it to serve others? The Alabama FFA Organization has brought back to life a recognition award area for FFA chapters who are willing to serve. The Building Our Alabama Communities award application is a recognition award for outstanding community service and dedication to the FFA motto. This awards and recognition program can involve every FFA member in the local chapter, as well as the entire community. Information regarding Building Our Alabama Communities can be found on the Forms and Applications page of www.alabamaffa.org. Recognition such as this is vital to an FFA chapter because it creates a direct link between the community and the local high school in a setting other than athletics. A service project can be the catalyst for positive change and support to an FFA chapter. These activities expose the students to a world outside of their own living situation and offer enrichment in the sense that service is its own reward.

Winston County FFA members serve the community by completing landscape projects for different individuals and civic groups.

 

I remember as a teacher one of my favorite community-service projects was to take a group of students to a local soup kitchen or food pantry. This event took place around the Thanksgiving holiday and the FFA members would prepare the food both for folks who came in and for delivery in the community. The FFA string band or quartet would sing Christmas carols and assist in decorating the tree. The members would sit and share a meal they helped to prepare with the folks and get to know them a little. Afterward, we would clean the dishes.

Here is the magic part. On the ride home, without fail, someone would say something along the line of, "I didn’t know people were in that bad of shape" or "I had no idea there was so much need in the world."

Please, don’t take that as harsh. It is the teenage brain coming to grips with the revelation that there is always someone in worse shape than he/she is.

I would always let it sink in with them and follow up with the question, "What did you learn from this?"

Much to my surprise, the answers given were insightful and very pointed about what else we can do to help.

One of the sayings I used with the students was and is, "There is always a plan." My plan for them was to see that they can have a positive impact in the lives of others and others, in turn, can have an impact on them.

FFA members and supporters, "What do you do with time?" Live to serve. Live to serve through your FFA chapter, high school, church and community.

Is your new year going to contain service learning?

FFA advisors, alumni and friends, will you help to provide the avenue for service learning for our members? Through FFA, members can have the opportunity to serve their communities and make a difference.

FFA chapters, have you planned in your program of activities the community service you will be conducting?

Good luck this year in all your FFA contests, projects, applications and service projects.

 

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11, NIV)

Recently, I was asked a question, "What do you do with time?"

My reply was simple, "Who has time?"

As we are now through the holiday season and starting a new year, many of us set resolutions for ourselves. Maybe these include: lose some weight; get into shape; stop drinking soda; quit a bad habit; be a better spouse, parent, son or daughter, boss, employee …; and the list goes on. What do you do with time? Maybe retirement has just kicked in, as is the case of our dear friend and former FFA Executive Secretary Philip Paramore.

When asked, "What are you going to do with your time?"

He replied, "Watch my cows eat grass."

But we all know better.

Regardless of your resolution or the depth of your plans for the coming year, remember the FFA motto, "learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve." Would it be cliché to say that is a metaphor for life?

FFA is a student-led organization, but, throughout its long and storied 90-year history, those students have been led and advised by many a wise old owl. The adult guidance and leadership through FFA advisors, parent involvement, FFA alumni and Young Farmers groups, the past officers and a host of others who guide our FFA chapters are too precious a commodity to price.

 

The West Morgan FFA Chapter annually looks after a cemetery in their community by raking leaves, clearing debris, and trimming grass and shrubs.

Think back to the FFA motto and how it is a part of our lives. We never stop learning to do, even if now it is through a YouTube video and by trying those new things we inevitably learn. Maybe in all that doing we find purpose and something that earns our living. Maybe we find a hobby that takes our mind off what makes our living. Finally, at some point in our lives, in different measures for different individuals, we figure out how to serve.

All across Alabama, FFA chapters are serving our communities through service-learning projects such as Adopt-A-Highway or Adopt-A-Mile, Renew Our Rivers, local civic projects, safe driving and crime prevention campaigns, and the list is infinite. Through 90 years and several changes, FFA remains an organization of service.

In agriculture education, we use many terms such as "project-based learning" and "experiential learning," but recently new educational jargon was introduced to me in detail at the 90th National FFA Convention. "Service learning" caught my attention. This term refers to a type of learning by doing centered on service. As I thought about this term and exactly how it relates to FFA, a notion kept rolling around in my brain. Just as when the term "project-based learning" was coined, I thought, we already do this in FFA.

FFA members, family and friends, how do you serve? As a challenge to us all, how will you take the knowledge you have gained in FFA and your agriculture class and use it to serve others? The Alabama FFA Organization has brought back to life a recognition award area for FFA chapters who are willing to serve. The Building Our Alabama Communities award application is a recognition award for outstanding community service and dedication to the FFA motto. This awards and recognition program can involve every FFA member in the local chapter, as well as the entire community. Information regarding Building Our Alabama Communities can be found on the Forms and Applications page of www.alabamaffa.org. Recognition such as this is vital to an FFA chapter because it creates a direct link between the community and the local high school in a setting other than athletics. A service project can be the catalyst for positive change and support to an FFA chapter. These activities expose the students to a world outside of their own living situation and offer enrichment in the sense that service is its own reward.

I remember as a teacher one of my favorite community-service projects was to take a group of students to a local soup kitchen or food pantry. This event took place around the Thanksgiving holiday and the FFA members would prepare the food both for folks who came in and for delivery in the community. The FFA string band or quartet would sing Christmas carols and assist in decorating the tree. The members would sit and share a meal they helped to prepare with the folks and get to know them a little. Afterward, we would clean the dishes.

Here is the magic part. On the ride home, without fail, someone would say something along the line of, "I didn’t know people were in that bad of shape" or "I had no idea there was so much need in the world."

Please, don’t take that as harsh. It is the teenage brain coming to grips with the revelation that there is always someone in worse shape than he/she is.

I would always let it sink in with them and follow up with the question, "What did you learn from this?"

Much to my surprise, the answers given were insightful and very pointed about what else we can do to help.

One of the sayings I used with the students was and is, "There is always a plan." My plan for them was to see that they can have a positive impact in the lives of others and others, in turn, can have an impact on them.

FFA members and supporters, "What do you do with time?" Live to serve. Live to serve through your FFA chapter, high school, church and community.

Is your new year going to contain service learning?

FFA advisors, alumni and friends, will you help to provide the avenue for service learning for our members? Through FFA, members can have the opportunity to serve their communities and make a difference.

FFA chapters, have you planned in your program of activities the community service you will be conducting?

Good luck this year in all your FFA contests, projects, applications and service projects.

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11, NIV)

 

Andy Chamness is the Central District Specialist with the Alabama FFA Association.