Cardington FFA members visit Chicago – Ohio Ag Net
By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA Reporter
The Cardington FFA Chapter sent 44 students and 14 chaperones for a three-day cultural immersion experience in Chicago last March.
“The main objective of the trip was to allow the students to see and experience things that they would not have the opportunity to do otherwise. For many of them, this is their first cultural experience outside of central Ohio,” said Erin Wollett, Cardington-Lincoln agroscience educator and FFA advisor.
The group began their journey with a stop at the Albanese Candy Factory en route to Chicago followed by a performance by the Blue Man Group. They spent much of the next day visiting many famous sites in downtown Chicago.
While exploring downtown, the group visited Willis Tower, China Town, WhirlyBall, John Hancock Center, and Lake Michigan. After a full day of sightseeing and sightseeing, they had the opportunity to visit the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and learn more about urban agriculture.
“While visiting Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, students gained new perspectives by meeting those who attend the school, hearing about the opportunities they have, and learning about their facilities,” Wollett said. “Similar to our group, they are both agricultural students and members of the FFA, but their vision of agriculture is so different from what our students experience.
For chapter members, the visit to the school was a great reminder of the diverse experiences and perspectives represented within the national FFA organization.
“It’s important that we continue to meet the needs of members from traditional farming backgrounds, but it’s also incredibly important that we allow students like those at Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences to explore farming and to be a part of our organization,” Brooke said. Clapham, president of the Cardington FFA chapter.
The last day of the trip was spent exploring Fair Oaks Farms, the best agritourism site in the Midwest. While at Fair Oaks Farms, the group participated in the Swine, Dairy, and Agricultural Experiments.
“Many of our students are used to production agriculture, but appreciating a place that was built around agritourism and educating the public about production practices is great to see,” Wollett said.
Over the past two years, the Chapter has been forced to transform or transfer its travel opportunities due to the pandemic, making this trip much more meaningful for Chapter members.
“We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to travel due to the pandemic, so it was great to spend a few days with some of my closest peers and create so many memories,” Clapham said.
Cardington FFA Chapter members shared highlights from their trip.
“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the Blue Man Group. It was so unlike anything I had seen before. It was really good for students who have never seen a show like this to get a sense of Broadway-type entertainment.—Brooke Clapham, Chapter President Cardington FFA
“My favorite part of the trip was the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences where we went. It was just really interesting to see how they did things in their FFA chapter in Chicago compared to back home with our chapter! — Joe Denney, Cardington FFA Chapter Vice President
“I had a lot of fun going to the Willis Tower! It was really neat to look across the city and see all the rooftop gardens, buildings from above, and Lake Michigan. —Hazel Jolliff, Cardington FFA Chapter Reporter
“My favorite thing we did was visit the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. I liked that they showed us their classes and the group in charge of our visit was so welcoming, they answered all our questions and gave us a lot of information about how their school works! — Ella Struck, Cardington FFA Assistant Treasurer