Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Student Organization Spotlight: Collegiate FFA Experiences Big E!

For many, the end of September means fall is on the way and we can start pulling out those comfy sweaters. For FFA members in the Eastern Region, September brings another opportunity to pull out their blue corduroy jackets.

The Big E, also known as The Eastern States Exposition and “New England’s Great State Fair,” is the largest agricultural event in the east and America’s fifth-largest fair. This fair is held in West Springfield, MA every September. Two days of the seventeen day fair are dedicated as “FFA Days” and consist of career development events and banquets. FFA members from 20 states across the eastern part of the U.S. participate in this event on a yearly basis. For most career development events, teams that receive second place at the state level come to compete at the Big E.

For many years, Penn State Collegiate FFA has traveled to West Springfield to assist with preparation and facilitation of several CDEs. This year, we had a wonderful group of eight that represented CFFA and Penn State. On Friday, we assisted with the Extemporaneous Speaking, and Vet Science CDEs. On Saturday, we assisted supervisors with the Poultry, Environmental and Natural Resources, and Food Science CDEs.

For many of the participants, this was their first time traveling with our organization and to the Big E. It is always exciting to see how people react to being on the other side of the table. Competing and judging are two entirely different experiences, and most do not realize the difficulties, yet joys that comes with judging teams and individuals.

At the end of each experience we encouraged a reflective conversation as we all came back together as a group to share what we encountered that day. It was wonderful to see the interactions between our members. We become closer than ever, sharing stories, laughing together, and making memories.

I think that there is something that everyone can take away from this trip. For me, this was my last time traveling with Collegiate FFA to Big E. I went as a high schooler and now four years with CFFA. Every year is similar, but there are always new memories and experiences. Whether it was getting lost and having to turn around too many times to count, attempting to shout out a license plate before the other team gets it, realizing that Pennsylvania is indeed one of the thirteen colonies, discovering that it is important to read your email closely so you know exactly what you are signing up for, and discovering new facts about each other. All these memories were made through this last experience.

To those of you that have never traveled with CFFA before, I highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity before you graduate. Not only is it a resume builder, but it is one weekend that you will remember for years to come. 

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Mikaela Hermstedt

Guest Blogger

2016 PSU Collegiate FFA, President

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