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4-H or FFA?
Feb 22, 2011
In light of National FFA week, I thought I would bring up a mindset that really chaps my hide… FFA is more beneficial than 4-H. Is it?
There is a ton of debate over which program is more beneficial, 4-H or FFA. I hear people referenced as a “4-Her” or labeled an “FFA style speaker.” They are mostly used in fun but on occasion these labels are used in a derogatory manner. I had never thought a war between the blue and green existed until I went to college.
Where I grew up, it was perfectly acceptable (really semi expected) that a student participate in 4-H until he or she was in high school and "FFA eligible" at which time the student decided whether to continue 4-H involvement or “move on” to FFA. Myself, I was heavily involved in both, but several of my college classmates had definite affinities to one or the other.
I was active in my 4-H community club. I served in nearly every office including president, was a Teen Leader, and earned all my stars. I was never in less than three groups and served as the chairperson of many committees. My only 4-H regret; never making “All-Star” but at the time I didn’t think I would care. 4-H taught me several life lessons and developed my leadership skillset.
My FFA career was similar. I participated in livestock judging all four years, participated in opening and closing ceremonies, served as the chairperson of many committees, earned several awards including Outstanding Chapter Senior and my American FFA Degree. I spent many hours in that blue and gold and am proud to say that FFA helped develop my leadership skills, but I’m not certain I can say that it did any more than my 4-H career did.
I understand that 4-H programs are not always great and some states have really useless programs. However, it is important to realize that the quality and health of a state 4-H program relies heavily on the University Extension program of that state. Also, like any other youth organization the input and support of parents is crucial. I don’t think that we can put a blanket statement out there saying that FFA is better because I think that the quality of FFA programs also varies from state to state and is directly dependent on the quality of agriculture instructor at the school, and the level of support from each district school board.
As with all things they are not exactly the same, but I think that it is pretentiously ignorant to say that one trumps the other.
What do you think?