Although it already has come and gone, the 2018 National FFA Convention left me with many memories to tide me over until it is time to start preparing for next year’s big event.
One of the best experiences I had during the convention didn’t come during the general sessions, workshops or while walking through the expo hall.
In fact, it happened while I was sitting on the floor in a random hallway in the Indiana Convention Center trying to figure out if I was going to be able to get all the interviews I needed for one of my stories.
I decided during this year’s National FFA Convention that I would take on the task of trying to interview a member from every state, as well as take their picture.
I knew it would be a daunting task, but I also was intrigued by the idea of what the end story would look like, so I decided to pursue my idea.
Although it wasn’t easy, I spent two days of the convention chasing down, stopping and talking with FFA members from 45 states, as well as an individual from Puerto Rico.
By the time I found myself sitting in that hallway, it was Thursday afternoon of the National FFA Convention, and I only had five states left to track down: Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Nevada and Oregon.
I spent a good 20 minutes watching hundreds of FFA members walk past me, as I looked closely to read the state embroidered with yellow thread on the back of their jackets.
In that time, I wasn’t having much luck finding any of those states, and while I sat their concentrating, some FFA members next to me were talking and having a good time.
I already had checked their jackets of the members sitting close to me and knew they were from Georgia.
As my frustration began to set in, and I was contemplating a headline for interviews with only 45 members, I heard one of the teenagers mention something about her home chapter back in Oregon. I immediately stopped everything I was doing and started listening a bit closer to their conversations.
It turned out only two of the teenagers sitting in that group were from Georgia, and the rest were from Oregon. I was thrilled and then turned downright giddy when the four members from Oregon that I was talking to were fighting over which one of them would get to represent their state and talk to me.
I ended up interviewing all four of them, because I truly was moved by their excitement for representing the Oregon FFA Association and the agriculture industry in general.