This past summer three FFA members from Sioux Central FFA Chapter attended the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) held annually at our nation's capital. Marshall Wernimont, Justin Ellis and Zach Brown went to WLC to learn leadership and citizenship skills, but they learned about much more than that. "We got skills to think and re-evaluate our lives and to find our purpose," stated Zach Brown.
While the students were in D.C., they had the opportunity to visit the Washington Mall which includes the Washington and Lincoln Memorials in addition to the various war memorials especially the WWII Memorial, the Vietnam Wall and all the others. One evening the group was taken on the night tour of Washington, DC. They also went to a farm near Baltimore, MD to harvest ripe vegetables which were shipped to homeless shelters and organizations in the D.C. area. During conference the students, who represented seven different state FFA associations, spent a lot of time with assigned groups to learn leadership skills, citizenship activities, and team-building activities.
The young men did all of the fundraising for the trip themselves in addition to money from the chapter; many groups and businesses also donated some money towards the cost of the trip, which was $750 per student. "We would like to thank the following businesses for donating and helping us get there [to WLC]," said Justin Ellis. Ag Partners of Albert City, Spencer International, First State Bank of Sioux Rapids, Sioux Lumber, Lehr Real Estate, Clay County Cattlemen, State Bank of Peterson, Rembrandt Bank, Middendorf Well Company of Sioux Rapids, Bertness Pioneer Products, Laurens Equipment, Rossie Feed and Grain, Northwest Equipment of Spencer and Clay County Farm Bureau. "We would like to thank Mrs. Bloom for helping us get there, too," added Ellis.
The WLC experience is coordinated by the National FFA Organization and students from all 50 states and the US territories attend one of the seven sessions throughout June and July every summer. The Iowa FFA Association organizes two bus loads of students to a session in late June each summer. The National FFA Association's mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for personal growth, premier leadership and career success through agricultural education.