Around this time each June, downtown Raleigh becomes a sea of corduroy blue as hopeful NC FFA members from across the state come together. This year, however, the streets of Raleigh will be much quieter.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the 92nd North Carolina FFA State Convention was unfortunately canceled. Instead of an in-person convention, NC FFA will celebrate the accomplishments of its members through a virtual celebration.
Harrison McLamb, 2019-2020 North Carolina FFA State Vice President, said, “The virtual celebration was our idea of celebrating our members through a compilation of videos June 15 through 18, posted on our North Carolina FFA Association YouTube channel.” The event will celebrate proficiency award winners, state degree recipients, and state officer retiring addresses, among other things.
While McLamb, a current student at N.C. State University, has continued to enjoy his time as a state officer during the pandemic, he explained that it has been very different.
“My role as a state officer changed drastically for the second semester. The spring semester for a state officer is usually met with traveling all across the state for banquets, helping score and monitor competitive events, and completing sponsor visits. Because of the pandemic, we could no longer travel as state officers. As a team, we decided that we would continue connecting with members through three things: social media, Zoom calls, and our State Officer Team Vlog. Social media was a way to challenge members to do new things and show them that we as state officers were still there to connect.”
Along with keeping members connected with the state officer team, NC FFA allowed members to remain competitive, moving their Career Development Events and Leadership Development Events online.
Amelia Spell, a member of the Northwood FFA chapter in Pittsboro, competed in the Milk Quality and Products CDE online. Spell says she practiced for the event on her own during this time with the virtual support of her advisors due to social distancing guidelines.
“My advisors have been very helpful by checking in often, even if it’s just a text to our group chat. Although they are unsure just how this year is going to play out, they are remaining optimistic and trying to keep us on track despite the unknown events ahead.“
While this year may not have turned out as planned, these students have the fond memories of past FFA events to keep them motivated.
“My favorite part of state convention in the past was when we would all line up and hold hands creating an aisle for the state officers to run through. It makes me sad to think that I might never get to do that again and how I took that moment for granted in the past,” Spell said.
McLamb especially enjoyed MEGA Conference during his time in FFA. “I met many of my closest friends, gained skills to grow as a leader, and discovered a deep-founded love for FFA. After having attended MEGA Conference for four years and gone through every growth track possible, I was selected to serve as a state officer and eventually facilitate to eager members just like myself. Seeing how I grew as a person and a leader, much of who I was in FFA stemmed from my experiences at MEGA Conference.”
Be sure to check out NC FFA’s Virtual Celebration, June 15 through 18. Visit the link below for more information on the event.