Shawnee FFA members, Keegan Carrera and Dassie May, along with 378 other FFA members from across the Country, about half of which were from Oklahoma, converged on Washington, D.C., at the beginning of this month during Week 1 of the Washington Leadership Conference, to analyze their personal skills and interests, develop leadership skills and create a meaningful community service plan that will make a difference in their home communities. More than 2,100 students participate in the Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience that the National FFA Organization hosts each year. From June 3 to June 8 Carrera and May, Shawnee FFA members spent a week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff members. In workshops, seminars and small groups, FFA members focused on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. Students also analyzed the needs of their communities back home, developed a wide-range and high-impact community service initiatives and implemented their plan with the help of their

FFA chapter upon return home. During their time in D.C., FFA members Carrera and May also experienced the history of the nation's capital, touring landmarks including the Washington Monument, War Memorial, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol, among others. When asked about their most memorable WLC experiences Carrera and May were quoted, “Their favorite part of the trip was when the entire conference participants helped and worked as a team to pack over 60,000 meals for Meals of Hope for people around Washington D.C.”. Additionally, they stated, “ The bus ride was pretty cool too, we were all packed into a charter bus, without any extra seats. This arrangement forced us to connect with other Oklahoma FFA members and make new friendships that will last a lifetime, with people from all across the state.”  The Oklahoma FFA Association chartered two buses, for the 27-hour drive to and from Washington D.C.

Title sponsors CSX and Farm Credit sponsor the 2019 Washington Leadership Conference through the National FFA Foundation. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,6730 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.