INDIANAPOLIS--If you happen to be in downtown Indianapolis next week, you’ll see a lot of blue and gold, and it’s not just Pacers fans. The National FFA 95th Convention and Expo is back in Indy, in person Oct. 26 to 29.
“We’re getting back to what we love,” said Mandy Hazlett, associate director of Convention and Events, National FFA Organization. “We had to make quite a few changes to our program last year and changes, like many others. But, this year convention is full swing.”
If you live or work in downtown Indianapolis, it means perhaps temporarily giving up on getting lunch and watching out for FFA members. For members of the organization it’s perhaps a preview of their future.
Upon its founding, FFA stood for Future Farmers of America. But, that name has been changed to just FFA, because of everything the organization means now.
“That is a stigma that we used to have,” acknowledged Hazlett. “When we changed our name several years ago it was to really incorporate the meaning that National FFA is really a place for everybody for hundreds of different careers in agriculture.”
She explained that can be anything from biotechnology to communications to event planning.
“We have over 300 exhibitors that are going to be with us this year. Those are companies that are wanting to get in front of our students and show them all the different careers that are available in agriculture.”
Hazlett said organizers do hear stories from students who have “a ha moments” at the convention, when realizing opportunities are open to them they had not previously considered.
Students will also participate in service projects, something that not being completely in-person had prevented. This year students will construct 1,200 travel book pillows to go to hospitals and schools, utilizing new or gently used, donated children’s books.
The sessions will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, while the Wednesday and Thursday night concerts will be at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Hazlett said she expects to see more than 60,000 people attend this year’s convention.