Thousands of FFA members from throughout the country are converging on Washington, D.C., this summer to evaluate their personal skills and interests, develop leadership talent and create service plans that will make a difference in their communities.

Thousands of FFA members from throughout the country are converging on Washington, D.C., this summer to evaluate their personal skills and interests, develop leadership talent and create service plans that will make a difference in their communities. More than 2,300 students are registered for the 2017 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience that the National FFA Organization hosts each year. Created in 1969 and held annually, the conference begins June 6 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. FFA members can attend the conference during one of seven weeks through July 29. They will spend the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff. In workshops, seminars and small groups, members will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event will be a civic engagement activity where participants apply what they have learned to a hands-on activity. Members will also analyze the needs of their communities, develop wide-ranging and high-impact community service initiatives and implement their plans with the help of their FFA chapters upon return home. Students in recent years have promoted agricultural literacy; brought attention to abuse; collected and distributed shoes to individuals in Haiti; created a hunger awareness plan; and more. FFA members will experience the history of the nation's capital and tour landmarks including the Washington Monument, War Memorial, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol, among others. Members will also have an opportunity to participate in congressional visits during the week. The 2017 Washington Leadership Conference is sponsored by title sponsors CSX, Monsanto, Farm Credit and weekly sponsor Valent. For more information, visit FFA.org/WLC. The Chillicothe FFA members that attended the conference this year were: Marley Anderson, McKenzie Anderson, Elena Boon, Isaiah Boon, Austin Case, Liberty Cox, and Claire Shipp. As well as the other activities students attend they also meet with Sam Graves, U.S. Representative, and received a tour from his staff. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.