Members of the Colquitt County FFA Chapter attended the National FFA Organization’s 2012 Washington Leadership Conference in June.

More than 2,200 students — up to 340 a week — from throughout the U.S. who are FFA members will attend one of the conference’s seven week-long sessions in June and July.

“Students come to the Washington Leadership Conference wanting to make a difference. They leave knowing they can — and will,” said Dwight Armstrong, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “I believe students are generally aware of global problems like hunger and poverty but many are sheltered and disconnected from what’s happening in the world. During their time in Washington, FFA members experience real-world problems and take critical steps toward personal growth and developing leadership skills they’ll need to make a difference in people’s lives, starting in their own communities.”

Created in 1969 and held annually in Washington, D.C., the conference helps students develop leadership skills, identify personal strengths, develop awareness of societal differences and human needs and strategize how they can help others through community service. Throughout the week, each student develops a community-service initiative for their local community, with the intention of students returning home and implementing their plans.

The 2012 National FFA Organization's Washington Leadership Conference is sponsored through the National FFA Foundation by Timberland PRO, Monsanto, CSX, TransCanada, Crop Production Services, Farm Credit and CHS.

“For 10 consecutive years, Timberland PRO is honored to sponsor the 2012 Washington Leadership Conference. We have worked closely with FFA to transfer our model of service to an organization whose focus is on living to serve,” said James O’Connor, vice president of Timberland PRO. “We look forward to participating with FFA members in various civic engagement activities in and around the D.C. area that will be focused on leadership and service learning.”

The conclusion of each weekly session of the Washington Leadership Conference is a Day of Service, where students work together on a real, hands-on community-service project.

This year, students will volunteer more than 9,500 hours to pack and ship thousands of meals to Nicaragua.

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