It's National FFA Week and we're celebrating by taking a look back with a couple of our Hired Hand Ambassadors that participated in their local FFA's in Texas and Oklahoma. Brittney Klein and Becca Vizza took some time to share with you a few of their favorite memories from their FFA experiences and what it taught them that still impacts their day-to-day lives now.
Why did you join Future Farmers of America?
Brittney: When I was 8 years old my parents signed me up for our local 4-H group. I showed pigs for years, competed in many contests including clothing and textiles, food show and livestock judging. When I got to high school I joined FFA because I thought that was the next step. I also played competitive sports but nothing ever felt as good as winning state and going to nationals for a judging contest or winning a speaking contest at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I accomplished goals I didn’t even know I had. I joined FFA because I thought I would be able to do a few more contests but it was so much more than that. I became a part of an organization that changed my life, paid for my college, and I got to do it with some of my best friends!
Becca: I joined FFA in high school because when I was in fifth grade I started showing swine and Texas Longhorns. By the time I got to high school I was very involved and wanted to do more in judging, public speaking, and showing but on a bigger level.
Becca Vizza at the 2010 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
What was your favorite part of FFA?
Brittney: I enjoyed judging a lot but I also love to travel and meet new people so the conventions were my favorite. I still stay in touch with people I met over the years.
Becca: The trips I took with my chapter, including the National Convention, were my favorite. I loved how everyone I showed with became family, especially when we were traveling together.
Brittney Klein with her FFA team holding their award.
Do you have any special memories or funny stories that stuck with you?
Brittney: My friends and I still laugh about the time our little horse judging team made it to state. We had to drive nearly 10 hours to Lubbock, TX and we thought we did terrible. After 3 hours of getting yelled at on the drive home, we got a phone call saying we placed fifth... in the state! We were amazed and laughed about it the rest of the way home. Also, during my freshman year I did the calf scramble at the San Antonio Livestock Expo and broke my jaw. I had my mouth wired shut for six weeks (no speaking contests or livestock reasons for me)!
Becca: One of my favorite memories was going to the National Convention and touring Church Hill downs. It was such a cool event my chapter did together during National Convention. I also held FFA Sweetheart which was exciting.
Becca Vizza at the Tulsa State Fair in 2007.
What did you take away from FFA that you still use in your day-to-day now?
Brittney: I learned how to network and meet new people. I learned to work with others and how to manage time wisely. Most importantly, I learned how to speak!
Becca: I learned how to carry a lot of responsibility. I also learned how to speak well in front of others and how to represent myself. When I finished high school I had to end my FFA chapter there, but it helps me a lot in my job now. I am still very active in the show world and have even helped other kids in high school get started with their FFA and showing careers.
Becca Vizza sitting with her awards and honors displayed earned while showing and through FFA.
Anything else you would like to add?
Brittney: Grades matter, scholarships matter! My sister and I both had most of our college paid for through FFA related scholarships! Get involved, it is so important for your future. Side note: My FFA teachers are 100% the best in the state of Texas (ask my sister Courtney Klein, another Hired Hand Ambassador)!
Brittney Klein with her FFA chapter teachers.
Hired Hand Ambassadors and sisters Brittney and Courtney Klein at a sale.
How can you get involved with National #FFAWeek? You can visit your local Tractor Supply Co. and donate $1 at checkout to support your local FFA chapters via Grants for Growing or wear blue on Friday, February 23rd, National Wear Blue Day, to show your FFA pride. Check out the FFA New Horizons website for more information.
Comment below some of your favorite memories from FFA or tell us how it has impacted your life and career today.