An abundance of future leaders

City, KSU welcome 4-H, FFA, Boys State

By Walt Braun

Some of the brightest and most industrious youth in Kansas are now in Manhattan, and others will be arriving next week, courtesy of three outstanding leadership development programs.

Hundreds of 4-H members arrived Tuesday to participate in Kansas 4-H Discovery Days. The theme this year is Revolution of Responsibility.

That’s appropriate for the four-day event that ends Friday. 4-H’ers are living in KSU residence halls, learning a variety of new skills, performing administrative duties, making new friends and presumably having a pretty good time.

Coinciding with 4-H Discovery Days is the Kansas FFA Convention, which has drawn well in excess of 1,000 members from the 165 Future Farmers of America chapters across the state. Among highlights of these days of recognition are the Proficiency Award Lunch-eon, the Stars Over Kansas Luncheon, the Career De-velopments Event Dessert Social and the Blue and Gold Celebration.

FFA members are committed to the future of agriculture, but there is much more to the organization. As Jordan Pieschl, the state FFA president, wrote in an advance welcome to participants, “Through its dedication to developing students’ po-tential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success, the FFA instills a belief in service, passion and excellence.”

Like participants at 4-H Discovery Days, FFA members will depart after closing ceremonies Friday. Less than 48 hours later, Boys Staters by the hundreds will descend on our town for a week of hands-on government. Sponsored by the American Legion, this will be Boys State’s 75th year – and the 21st consecutive year in Manhattan. The familiar Boys State sign has already been posted on the lawn at Goodnow Hall.

As past participants are well aware, Boys State is just that — a state run by boys. Boys from competing political parties will campaign for various elective offices or be appointed to handle various state, city and county operations. There are PAC representatives, parks and recreation officials, unemployed citizens and, of course, debates about budgets and other contentious issues. When they’re not serving their citizens, the boys will find time for sports and other forms of recreation.

We’re delighted Manhattan and K-State are hosts for Boys State, the FFA Convention and Kansas 4-H Discovery Days. We hope a little of the energy and fresh perspective these youth bring to town rubs off on us, and we hope our community’s hospitality encourages them to come back — for a visit, for college or to pursue a career.

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