National FFA Proficiency Judging - July 23 - 28, 2017
Judging of FFA Proficiencies is an experience that any advisor who wants a National Proficiency Finalist should check out. Not only do you get to read a ton of great applications (and not so good ones too - how did they get to this level), you also get to meet FFA advisors, state FFA advisors/specialists, and National FFA Staff! National FFA pays for all travel - sets up your plane (also pays for parking at the airport, mileage to the airport) also the hotel room, which was a Sheraton Hotel which was attached to the Keystone Crossing Mall and all meals during my stay.
The week starts out with a slide presentation of what groups will be judging. There are two rooms - proficiency judging with Agriscience Fair Judging and National FFA Chapter Judging.
My group - I was the lead advisor, consisted of an advisor from North Dakota, Texas and South Carolina. We judged entrepreneurship applications in:
Swine, Diversified Crop, Beef, Dairy and Ag Sales.
The schedule is as follows:
7:00-8:00 - Breakfast
Work on applications
Noon - Lunch
Work on applications
Snack around 3:00 in judging room
Dinner - 6:00
Work on applications until 9:00
As you can see, the days are reading, judging, eating, sleeping and getting great ideas of what FFA members are doing throughout the country. And you are part of the National FFA judges process!
As you are judging, each application needs 3 scores, top 4 needs 4 scores. If your state has an application in the mix, the superintendent or final judges need to score it.
This adventure was great! Some applications are awesome - there was one in Beef Cattle that if the boy was older, I would love him to meet my daughter (my group all felt this way!). Who wouldn't want a boy who set up with his local ministry, fresh beef to the local food banks! Then there were those that made us giggle - the dairy cow story about 2 cows that were born days apart, in love with each other and would go to shows together. Then one day, one of the cows got sick and it didn't make it! The other cow was sad and couldn't show anymore and the girl was distraught too! Oh no, maybe we need an Animal/People Therapist! Then, one in Ag Sales that was great, but got disqualified - a girl bought a food truck and took it to rodeos and fairs. She took out a loan for $15,000. But food trucks didn't fit the Ag Sales description! The girl was a Junior in High School and just impressed me!
Other positive/negative personal things - I was proud I found the Economy Lot at Newark Airport to park (usually I fly out of Philadelphia). As I got out of my car, I realized I locked my keys/cell phone, well everything in the car! Now, what do I do? I asked the guy at the check out booth what to do. He said to go over to the Bus Stop and use the yellow phone. While walking there, the security guard drove up and asked me if I needed help (I'm in Newark). I told him my issue, and he took me to my car and called AAA. Long story short, they were out in 15 minutes and I was back on my way to the airport terminal! Newark Airport pays for this service (so I don't even have to tell my husband). Since United seems to be having issues these days, my flight was delayed so that military personnel could catch this flight when their plane landed from Alaska. My flight to Newark was delayed - we sat on the runway in Indianapolis for a half hour because Newark had delays getting flights in and out.
On this adventure, I took my first Uber ride. Had to download the app in the airport, called and got a ride to the hotel with a lovely lady. Her daughter was in FFA and was going to school to be an Ag Teacher! Small World! (Uber was $36 compared to Taxi $65). I met advisors/specialists from all over the country - 2 advisors were there from Alaska, West Coast - California, Nevada, Oklahoma, the list goes on.
Some other thoughts - Texas Advisor uses a BnB for National Convention and Uber/Lyft. PA State SAE Coordinator said they were disappointed that NJ Advisors didn't help with the Poultry CDE. I know Keith Dannucci did (he loves to be a part of this at Manheim and Big E). Communication is key at these events. If you know you can not help, let them know!
The Proficiency Awards were announced this week. New Jersey did well:
Congratulations to all NJ members that participated - Gold/Silver/Bronze and to Cumberland's Josh Loew for being a National Proficiency Finalist! Good Luck at Nationals!