On Thursday the students got the opportunity to visit the Newseum, and have free time to tour the Capital Building, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. After the group returned back to the hotel, they learned about advocacy. They learned what advocacy means, and why we need to be an advocate for people in need. During dinner an advocacy panel answered questions about being an advocate for what we believe in.
On Friday, WLC students started their day by touring Arlington National Cemetery. After this tour the students were able to visit all the monuments that surrounded the Washington Monument, where they posed for a picture at the World War II memorial. After they returned back to the hotel from their site seeing, they attended sessions about diversity. They learned how diverse this world is, and how diversity is essential to the survival of mankind. The students also developed Living to Serve plans or LTS plans as they were referred to throughout the week. These plans are student’s plans on how they can help eliminate some of those needs around their community.
This conference was all about serving the ones around us. And they took all the skills that they have learned this week and they put them into action on Saturday. They did this in the form of a community service project. With sponsors of CSX and One City, they packaged school supplies for a middle school where 99% of the students enrolled in the school qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. Heidi Schultz had this to say about helping these kids, “It was an eye opening experience discovering how many teenagers have no money for school supplies.” After the community service project, students discussed obstacles in completing their LTS plans, and resources that could help them overcome these obstacles. After this students shared their LTS plans with the entire crowd of WLC students and staff. Taylor Yager shared her LTS plan of helping students who might be feeling down so that suicide can be eliminated. Stacia Smith shared her LTS plan on supporting people with cancer in the Rush County community. The conference was wrapped up with a dance, and the students mingled with their new friends one last time. Tears were shed as students said goodbye to the new people in their lives.
This conference was a once in a lifetime experience for all the students who were able to go. These Rushville FFA members are returning home with an everlasting passion for serving the Rush County Community.
Mason Gordon serves as the Rushville FFA reporter.