Paso Robles FFA, home to many kids and young adults dedicated to furthering their knowledge on the time old traditions and new age systems that is modern day agriculture. I personally had the pleasure of interviewing 3 people who are involved in the Paso Robles FFA chapter, they each answered a set of the same 10 questions that went over various aspects of the FFA program; each person provided a extremely interesting and sometimes heartfelt answer. The FFA program has been around for countless years and has worked continuously to give kids the ability to function in a real world situation; whether it’s through teaching them leadership and communication or just basic working for what you want. I repeatedly heard through the interviews of the three people that this program has changed their life for the better and will continue to be beneficial in the future. Yet this is such a small program right? Actually no. The FFA association has over 500,000 members across the United States and continues to grow daily. FFA is also not just “Future Farmers of America” now, FFA now strives to encompass more than just the basic farming they hope to teach the values of our organization to when they can. They do this by having speaking contests, conventions, and more to ready them for a career that isn’t just in the field. This doesn’t mean that working outside and getting dirty isn’t something that happens now. For example, now successful Chad Wittstrom is an excellent example of why the Ag department is important, having shared his story of how Ag literally saved his life.  Now a successful business owner, Wittstrom wakes up each morning thanking the Ag program for saving him from a life on the streets. After the Great Recession in 2008, Wittstrom lost everything to the banks; left with nothing but his truck Wittstrom began to sell hay, using communication skills he learned, on the side of the road along with going out to do welding and other Ag related jobs. Wittstrom says that without these skills he wouldn’t be able to talk to me today. Speaking of Ag related jobs, teacher, Gardner speaks fondly of her time with the Paso Robles FFA, saying it’s her home and that now it doesn’t even feel like job. Each day as you step into the Ag department, you are instantly welcomed. Social classes seem to disappear and everyone pitches in a hand to help with whatever needs to be done whether. It’s making posters for a float or helping people memorize speeches for an upcoming competition. Recently the more exciting thing that has happened is the opening and closing ceremony. People from every grade in the Ag department form a team, memorize a set of lines, then perform in a panel of judges. The event brings everyone closer together from the month of preparation to the actual performance, friendships are formed and only comradeship left in the end. In the future the Ag department is hoping to bring more people into the Ag department and open the eyes of young people to a new thing to pursuit in later life. I’m short the Paso Robles FFA chapter is truly one of a kind and as each and every interview said “the FFA will change your life, you will not regret joining”

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