By Janet Kehres
Six members of Shelby FFA attended the Advanced Leadership Development (ALD) Conference recently. The six students able to experience this camp were: Morgan Yates, Haley Evans, Katie Bowman, Kaitlyn Evans, Morgan Vogt and Cloe Bricker.The FFA (Formerly Future Farmers of America) is a national organization dedicated to preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.Local, state and national activities and award programs provide opportunities to apply knowledge and skills acquired through agricultural education.The Ohio FFA Association has over 23,000 members in over 300 chapters throughout The Ohio FFA Association has over 23,000 members in over 300 chapters throughout Ohio.Over the past 80 years, the FFA and agricultural education have grown to encompass all aspects of agriculture, from production farming, agribusiness and forestry to biotechnology, marketing and food processing.The camp was held in Muskingum in mid-June. The Farm Bureau sponsors this camp and contributes one half of the cost for students to attend. Shelby FFA paid the other half of the cost for their members to attend.Located in Carroll County, on the banks of Leesville Lake, Camp Muskingum has offered unique outdoor experiences since 1942.The lake, hillside and forests offer prime opportunities for aquatic and nature studies.They also offer fishing, hiking, boating, swimming and both low and high ropes courses.Each day two sessions are held with two facilitators working with the students to develop new ideas and skills on leadership. The students are encouraged to vision their future using leadership skills, setting goals (both personal and for FFA). State Officers intermingled with the students to help assist with new ideas. All games were group oriented and helped with developing leadership skills and working together. Even the water games in the lake were leadership oriented games.According to Morgan Yates Saturday night was the highlight of the conference. Saturday night was "Slave run" night. The Living History Program, the Underground Railroad, takes the students back to 1851 on a journey to freedom. The students, led by a conductor, become runaway slaves who escape from the south toward Canada. Throughout their journey they encounter many people and situations, including abolitionists and slave hunters. This program brings to life the history of the Underground Railroad and respect for all others. Lessons taught during this program could not be found in a text book. The students split into groups. Some of the slaves ran into the woods. Some were caught and sold. Some were put into cages. One group found a cabin and hid under the house. Morgan stated it was an awesome learning experience.ALD gives students a new perspective on learning and living through camp philosophies. The two main philosophies are IALAC (I am Loving and Caring) and Challenge by Choice. IALAC is a philosophy of respect. At the camp the students are all IALAC to one another, as well as the natural world around them. Challenge by Choice is a philosophy that allows the campers to participate in the camp activities where they feel comfortable. These two philosophies, along with sensory awareness, conservation and responsibility are all woven into the activities.Over the past 80 years, the FFA and agricultural education have grown to encompass all aspects of agriculture, from production farming, agribusiness and forestry to biotechnology, marketing and food processing.The students loved the games, challenges and learning new skills that they can take back to the vocational agricultural classroom to share with other FFA students this next school year.