Ducks Unlimited attended the 2013 FFA National Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky., during the week of Halloween. The gathering was very large, with 55,000 people from all 50 states and territories pouring into the city to celebrate youth leadership.
“Seeing and talking to thousands of young people who share our core values – stewardship of the land, conservation of natural resources and a love of waterfowling – is really inspirational,” said Mark Horobetz, DU’s youth and education coordinator. “It makes me excited about the next generation of conservationists. Working with the group will be important to our youth and education goals.”
DU staff and volunteers from around the country traveled to Louisville to take part in the expo and share their knowledge of wetland habitat and conservation with the FFA students. They joined 450 other top-tier vendors, including auto companies, tractor manufacturers and the armed forces. DU gave out bags of information regarding conservation and the new “Varsity” high school chapter program. FFA members, parents and advisers also had a chance to hone their marksmanship skills at the DU booth by playing the Laser Shot simulator.
“We were fortunate that Bruce Conely, Kentucky state Greenwing chairman, was able to join us,” Horobetz said. “Bruce not only got to see the size of the event and the caliber of the young people attending, but he was invaluable interacting at our display. I think he taught some kids a few things about blowing a duck call as well.”
FFA members attending the convention are leaders in their schools and communities. The convention takes place each fall and will be in Louisville for the next several years. DU is working to provide resources for FFA chapter advisers and build meaningful relationships within the organization.