What Is It Like Being A National Delegate?

Recently I had the opportunity to interview a National Delegate from North Carolina. His name is Max Hagaman, he is currently a student at Watauga and this is his 4th year in FFA. Some CDE’s he has competed in are Creed Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure, Farm Business Management, Land Judging, Dairy Judging and Job Interview. A fun fact about him is he was the constable in Mary Poppins in 2016. Going back to his purpose in this article he served as one of those hyped people that got to sit on the floor at National Convention. I asked him a few questions about the Delegate process and how the sessions work. Here are his responses:

What exactly do you do at a national convention?

Arrive on Sunday night. Then you get ready for convention on Monday. We have the day of service in Indianapolis. We go around the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and pick up trash. We section off onto different parts because there are roughly 470 delegates. Tuesday midday we start to welcome people to the Indy Luncheon. During this meal, representative from Indianapolis attend including, managers of hotels, firemen, policemen and other Indy industries.

What do committees do?

Each delegate is assigned to a committee. Each of the committees are created around the different delegate issues that are brought forth. Once you are on your committee you use the 6 thinking hat system to think about your issue, all the positives, negatives, planning stuff. We go through each of hats and then transition to going to stations and talking about the things you have come up with that focus around a hat. After your discussion, you work within your committees to find testimonies for the issue, one positive and one negative. Once you have everything compiled together you create whereas, therefore statements. Then you take all your resources and everything and bring it before the all the delegates.  The delegates vote on it determining if it passes or fails.

Main delegate session

The main delegate session was chaired by David Townsend. We voted on each of the whereas, therefore statements created by each committee. Each delegate is given two cards. One of the cards is red and the other is green. The green cards purpose is to indicate that you want to discuss, while the red means you don’t want to discuss. The next thing on our agenda is to work on constitutional amendments which is the main thing of the session. After this session, we attend the general sessions and continue the night to a sponsor dinner.

What was your initial thought going into your first session?

I was blown away during the first session. For many reasons but two really stick out to me. It was amazing when we started discussing to see how well verse people were in parliamentary procedure. Also one of my favorite things during the sessions was the state roll call.

What was the longest discussion you were in?

Delegate allocation. The issue was how to figure out how many delegates each state gets. Every year the New England and smaller states try to band together to get more delegates for smaller states.

How will this experience help you in your FFA journey and future career?

I’ve always been interested in policy and communications. It was cool to see how a governmental body works. The way they use parli pro could be compared to the national congress and its really beneficial and the knowledge I gained can be put forth into many different.

How is the delegate section always so hype during National convention sessions?

Caffeine. It’s kinda an unspoken rule. Being so close to the stage and the lasers flying around its really hard not to be hyped.

If you could do change something from your experience what would you change?

I would have wanted to have been more prepared for committee work. I had somewhat of an idea of what was going on but still not as prepared as I wanted to be. If I would have been more prepared I would have had a bigger hand in helping the whereas, therefore statement.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about running for a National delegate spot?

It varies from different states. Understand the delegate process. When they asked something about being a good delegate, or asking if I could explain the delegate process. So if you know what you're doing and what you're applying.

 

To learn more about becoming a National FFA Delegate, please speak to your advisor or feel free to email us your questions!

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