(From 2002 FFA Leadership Camp)
This is the 25th successful year that we have had at camp. It was all due to one man’s ambition, his love for the FFA, and his desire to expand the program. That one man, as you all know is Dr. Al Snyder. I interviewed him and asked him about new and old traditions and changes at camp. He said, “Wow, there has just been so many changes. For one we have hot showers, dorms, and we are not at the State Fair Grounds anymore.” He also said that camp is much larger now. The very first camp session, only had 16 campers, then 60 the second, and 80 the third. Then Al’s eyes brighten as he went on, the highest number of campers to ever attend camp was 180. I asked Al what he did to bring those first 16 FFA’ers to camp, “I sent out a letter of information, telling the days, time, and registration to every county,” he said. After that things went pretty fast. It was right after convention so kids were still excited about FFA and wanted to make a difference.
Through the times of camp some traditions were lost and some have been added. “We didn’t used to have showers so we had to bath in the creek. There was no plumbing.” There was also no sound system. One day camp found a small P.A. system, so we used that for years! Now look, we have this wonderful high tech sound system. We can use it as a P.A. or a radio. We also have warm showers and don’t have to wash in a freezing cold creek.”
Dr. Snyder also said, “One thing that we’ve always had is the camp fire. Since the first session that has been our fun, get together time!”
“Camp has been held in several different places,” Dr. Snyder said, “The first one was in Douglas at the state fair grounds, the second was in Ten Sleep, the third in Buffalo, and now we are here in Lander!”
In 25 years things have changed! Partially because of technology, and in part by peoples love for the FFA, and their desire for the program to succeed. The incredible heart that volunteers put into this camp, and FFA’ers thirst for knowledge and leadership skills and desire to make the smallest impact on someone’s life! I thank the counselors for their love and dedication to the camp and my fellow campers for making the difference!
By Jessie Atkinson (now the Windy City FFA Chapter Advisor)