The Story of the Nebraska FFA Jacket Program

Freshman FFA members show off their Greenhand Degrees

The Nebraska FFA Jacket program began in April 2008 thanks to two former Nebraska FFA State Officers, Anita Estes Wollenburg and Adam Wollenburg.

Anita was also a National FFA Officer and traveled to many State FFA Conventions. We wanted to take a minute to share an eye-opening story about her experience at the New Jersey FFA Convention.

“In 2006, I attended the New Jersey State FFA Convention as a National Officer. Their convention is quite different from ours in size, events and environment, but the one consistent thing is a sea of blue jackets.

At one session, the program stated there would be a “Jacket Ceremony.” As I watched, students in black slacks or skirts and white shirts filed on stage. One by one, each was handed their very own new, crisp corduroy jacket. Some students smiled shyly, some whooped and hollered and many cried. After the ceremony I spoke with a recipient and asked about his new jacket. His family couldn’t afford a jacket and he wore a borrowed one for two years. He showed me his borrowed jacket. Faded. Three sizes too big. Lacking his name. He rubbed his hand over his own name on his own jacket…and wiped tears off his face. Later, his advisor shared that the student had never been confident speaking with someone…let alone a stranger. But in telling me about his jacket, it was as though he was the most confident conversationalist in the world.”

Were you an FFA member? Consider where you were when you began your FFA career. For many that story begins as a shy youngster lacking confidence. One small investment can make a huge impact on an FFA member.

The Nebraska FFA Foundation is proud to be able to provide the opportunity for you to have such an impact on Nebraska’s students. The campaign runs every August and in 2011, over 300 FFA members in Nebraska applied for an FFA jacket. Unfortunately, the need was much higher than we could have expected and we only received enough donations to give out 125 jackets.

Up to today, we have only 139 jackets donated. And while the deadline for our students’ applications is not for two more weeks, I know that there are many more students who need jackets.

We want to make sure we can meet as many requests as we can and that’s why we’ve extended the deadline for our FFA Jacket Fund campaign to Tuesday, September 4th. That should give you enough time to be ambassadors for our agricultural youth. Donate a jacket and spread the word.

Thank for in advance for your support of our great organization.

Rich Herink
President
Nebraska FFA Foundation Board of Directors

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