FFA has provided many opportunities for Rachel Hansen.
FFA has provided many opportunities for Rachel Hansen. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP

FFA provides many benefits to prepare young adults for a career, even for students like Rachel Hansen, a junior who hopes to become a teacher in a discipline that doesn’t involve agriculture.

“Being in FFA is so much more than just agriculture,” said Hansen “The experiences and relationships that you make are what make it great.  You don’t have to be super into agriculture to join FFA.  There are so many different things that you can do to be a part of FFA.”

Hansen, chapter treasurer this year, is a third-year member of Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA. She said she joined FFA because her friends and brother who were in it told her it was a lot of fun. 

“I like that there are a variety of opportunities and ways to get involved, no matter what you’re interested in…there are many opportunities that have become available to me, and being in FFA has helped me step out of my comfort zone, try new things and go after these various opportunities,” she said.  

During her time in FFA, she has become involved in Urban Ag, teaching young students in Rochester about agriculture, and she took part in the FFA the Fun Way night for the seventh and eighth graders to learn more about FFA.  She has also gone to state FFA convention twice, been to Eagle Bluff for an officer retreat and will be going to an Ice Hawks game in February. 

She’s learned things about herself as she’s continued her FFA membership, participation that she calls very important. 

“Being in FFA, and especially an officer, has taught me how to work with others and has helped me develop time management skills.  Being a treasurer has helped me with money management,” she said. “And after high school, I would like to become an elementary special education teacher because I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I think that all kids should have an opportunity to learn, no matter their disabilities. Helping teach kids about ag at Urban Ag in the spring and summer helped me realize that I wanted to teach…being in FFA has helped me realize what I’m interested in and what I’m not interested in.”

She highlighted that her FFA membership will also be useful in informing colleges of her willingness to work hard and explore different subjects and careers.  She isn’t exactly sure where she will attend college, but she’s leaning toward St. Mary’s in Winona. She feels that her experiences in FFA will help her get into college because it has helped her gain a lot of leadership skills and work better with people while she has also picked up knowledge that will benefit her in the future.

Hansen remarked that given a chance to repeat her FFA career, she’d most certainly take it, starting at an earlier age. She would advise others to do the same.

“Definitely join FFA,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun and if you make the most of the opportunities, you could learn so much.  You meet so many great people and make great memories.”