Student Leadership: How 4-H and FFA Go Way Beyond the Farm

Mar 25, 2015
student leaders pose for a photo

What do you think of when you hear “4-H” or “FFA”? Most people just think of farm kids showing animals or doing other “farm stuff,” but it’s actually that and a lot more! These organizations are critical for preparing young people for their futures.

Both FFA and 4-H organizations have evolved with the times and offer a myriad of youth opportunities relevant to today’s world. Computer technology, environmental sustainability, financial management, genetics – you name it, these students are hands-on as they get ready to address the needs of the world they’ll be inheriting from us. They’re learning leadership skills many adults only wish they had themselves.

Over the last couple of years, Dairy MAX has had the opportunity to work closely with some of these amazing youth at dairy shows and with the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program that dairy farmers provide to schools.

One thing comes across loud and clear: students who’ve been active in both FFA and 4-H are the ones most able to step forward as leaders in their own schools’ FUTP60 activities. The leadership skills learned in these two organizations have equipped the students with the confidence, discipline and peer respect needed to build the excitement that’s naturally part of FUTP60.

The new Texas 4-H Fuel Up to Play 60 Healthy Lifestyles Ambassador program is one example of how a group of 17 ambitious 4-H students passed rigid requirements to join a team focused on spreading the word about FUTP60 across the state by talking to principals, teachers and other students.

In Angelina County, Texas, another group of 4-H students have taken their school by storm and for three years have kept FUTP60 front and center not only at school but also in their communities. They joined Dairy MAX at a regional county commissioners meeting to educate county leaders about the need for more physical activity opportunities in communities. Their presentation was captivating and left the commissioners with a new awareness and respect for the impact 4-H can have on community wellness. 

In January, the Texas 4-H Fuel Up to Play 60 Healthy Lifestyles Ambassadors will be speaking to the Texas Legislators at a special breakfast to educate state leaders about how FUTP60 addresses student health and wellness.