Fourteen Meridian FFA members got the chance to attend the Washington Leadership Conference from June 27 until July 3.
They were Loretta Lacy, Mollie Hiscox, Lauren Barker, Kyle Schmit, Cameron King, Ashton Shaul, Delaney Vatcher, Kaitlin Muniz, Rachel Mansfield, Ellie Higgins, Kiara Wetzel, Lauren Jackson, and Kate Johnson and were accompanied by two advisors, Miss Kya Vines and Mrs. Trish Stokes.
The Washington Leadership Conference is a conference that FFA members from all 50 states can attend. It is held in Washington, D.C. This conference lasts a week, and eight weeks are offered each summer. All attendees stayed in the Omni Shoreham Hotel, where the conference sessions were held this year.
During our week of WLC, 348 FFA members from around the nation attended the conference. Members can only attend this conference once. Most attendees are going into their junior or senior year in high school.
Within the 348 members, we were split into Community Groups consisting of an average of 26 members. WLC puts an emphasis on leadership and serving your community. This conference focused on having each member create a “Living to Serve Plan” to help our community at home. We spent most of our community group meetings creating, organizing and planning.
In our large group meeting, consisting of all the attendees, we did lots of fun, but thought-provoking activities. We talked a lot about hunger in our communities and what we can do to help. On the last day of the conference, we made 6,200 macaroni-and-cheese bags for food shelters around the D.C. area through an organization called Meals for Hope.
Half of the conference consisted of sessions. For the other half, we spent it touring D.C. WLC attendees were privileged to visit the following:
• Holocaust Museum.
• Jefferson Memorial.
• JFK Memorial.
• Korean War Memorial.
• Lincoln Memorial.
• Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
• National Archives, where we saw the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
• National Zoo.
• Natural History Museum.
• Washington Monument.
• White House.
• World War II Memorial.
• U.S. Capitol, where we visited Senator James Risch’s office.
Members from our chapter that attended this trip owe a great deal of gratitude to the Meridian FFA Alumni, Ada County Farm Bureau, Meridian Dairy Board, Meridian FFA Chapter and Dave and Angie Daniels for their financial donations to reduce the cost of our trip..
With their help, the price of the trip per student was lowered from $1,460 to $650. All 14 of us are extremely thankful to have attended this great program at less than half the original cost.