INDIANAPOLIS — Allison Burns has just begun her FFA career. Today, the North Miami County sophomore is becoming part of history – when she receives her official FFA blue jacket.
More than 50 percent of FFA members do not have FFA blue jackets for official functions– it is traditionally worn as part of FFA Official Dress at the local level and for state and national conventions, competitions and special events. As a result, many often borrow jackets from fellow or past members. In 2014, the National FFA Organization began a program, Give the Gift of Blue, providing the funding for FFA members that might not otherwise have been able to own a blue jacket. Funded by individual donors and corporate sponsors, Give the Gift of Blue makes it possible to gift jackets to FFA members.
“The blue corduroy represents so much for our members – a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, a sense of commitment,” said Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “Through this program, we are able to provide that feeling to more of our members. Not only is it an honor to provide the jackets to our members – but many of our supporters feel that same pride when they give back to the program. By donating to Give the Gift of Blue, they continue the legacy of the blue jacket.”
Burns will be gifted her FFA jacket on Wednesday, and it will be the 10,000th jacket presented through this program. Jim Wildermuth, advisor of the North Miami FFA Chapter, nominated Allison for the jacket. He mentions that Burns is a newly active chapter member, and has decided that FFA is an organization that will allow her to expand her horizons and experience growth. Burns currently participates in FFA contests, helps with community events and is active in the classroom. Currently, Allison borrows other jackets of older FFA members to wear to her contests.
“Allison is eager to learn and use her knowledge to help others,” Wildermuth said. “Being able to wear a jacket with her own name on it and represent her chapter will give Allison a great sense of pride.”
“I am very thankful for the generous donation from the sponsors and Give the Gift of Blue program that sponsored my jacket,” Burns said. “Having this jacket helps me further my journey into FFA, and gives me more opportunities.”
Currently, only 4 out of 10 FFA members own a jacket. FFA is striving to increase that to 5 out of 10. Through 2019, the top states who have received jackets include California, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, Oregon and North Carolina. There have been 148 jackets awarded in the state of Indiana. If FFA members want to apply for the jacket, they can visit FFA.org and write a short essay on what owning an FFA jacket would mean to them. In addition, members can also be nominated for the jacket, as was the case for Burns.
More information on the program can be found on FFA.org
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.
–National FFA Organization
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