In a few short weeks, Louisville will be overtaken by a sea of blue jackets. More than 56,000 students, teachers, former FFA members and guests will attend one of the country’s largest conventions – the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo. The event kicks off Oct. 30 and runs through Nov. 2, filled with sessions, workshops, entertainment and more.
The theme of this year’s convention and expo is Ignite, which is a nod toward the FFA community’s impact on fellow members. Take a look at ways you can ignite your own passion for agriculture at this year’s event.
1. EXPLORE A NEW LOCATION
With the move to Louisville, attendees get the chance to experience the exciting opportunities of the convention and expo in a new location. Along with sessions, workshops, tours and more, attendees can also explore the culture and personality of Louisville. Don’t miss downtown Louisville’s Museum Row, with stops like the Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. After that, satisfy your hunger at one of the culinary gems on Bardstown Road.
2. GO DIGITAL
New this year, the convention and expo is branching out further into the digital world. For the first time, a virtual convention and expo will be offered for FFA members and advisors who are unable to attend. Chapters and classes back home can experience workshops and more via computer. Learn more at FFA.org/convention.
3. LEARN FROM OTHERS
The convention and expo’s keynote speakers provide one of the most insightful parts of the event. This year, the opening session speaker is Rick Pitino, head coach of the University of Louisville men’s basketball team. Other speakers include Paralympian, Josh Sundquist, retired New York Fire Department Lt. Joe Torrillo, and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance spokespeople, Katie Pratt and Bo Stone. Attendees are encouraged to listen as speakers share their messages of leadership, personal growth and service.
4. GROW YOUR EDUCATION
The first day of the convention and expo includes an action-packed schedule of sessions, workshops and career success tours that teach members more about agriculture and their future in the industry. Take the opportunity to grow outside the classroom and further your agricultural knowledge.
5. EXPAND YOUR MUSICAL TASTES
Let loose at the convention and expo’s annual concert, which will be held at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. Sing along with upcoming country star Jana Kramer, who gets the party started before headliner Dierks Bentley takes the stage.
6. SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY
One of the most meaningful experiences for convention and expo attendees is the FFA National Days of Service. The day shows FFA members how to use their strengths and skills to effect change in their own communities, as they pitch in locally. This year, FFA members can engage with businesses and organizations in Louisville, working to leave a positive eco-footprint. There will be opportunities to work with a local food bank, the Louisville Zoo, National Safe Place and more.
7. IMPROVE YOUR WARDROBE
Visit the FFA Shopping Mall in the Kentucky Exposition Center and grow your collection of FFA memorabilia. Grab souvenirs specific to the 86th National Convention & Expo, or pick out your favorite sweatshirt to sport back home. There are even teaching tools and chapter supplies available for advisors.
8. IGNITE YOUR FFA SPIRIT
The convention and expo means different things to different people, but the overall experience is important for everyone. Reignite your love for FFA by meeting new people, experiencing the city and reflecting on why you became a part of the National FFA Organization. Register now to be a part of it all at the 86th National Convention & Expo, and mark your calendar for next year’s event in Louisville, October through November 2014.