Fifty Years of Growth For Nebraska FFA Members, Wow!
Seems like such a short time ago that original leaders were pitching the idea to the Vocational Agricultural Teachers that supporting an “FFA Camp” was a great need for new FFA officers in Nebraska. It wasn’t a given that this could be a sustained business with only a few weeks each year of use. Irv Wedeking-Aurora, and Ruben Epp-Henderson contacted me that first summer to assist with the cleaning, mowing and start-up of the buildings to be used the first few weeks of June. As a first-year teacher, they wanted to mold us “young guns” into being the supporters and workers who would lead and direct the efforts over our teaching careers. Being a new teacher with a new “FFA program” made me a natural worker as the start-up efforts began. My first job was to watch while Irv (a.k.a. ‘Sir’) mowed the bank along the creek and he needed to have someone there if he had an accident on the tractor and mower. We only had two buildings before the cabins were built to house all the attendees. We had the old shower building for the bathhouse and to washup in the beginning. Pretty simple living conditions. As an aside, you always had to be careful when turning on the lights as the switch box would short out and give the unaware a “buzz.”
“Old White,” the original skating rink, was the main meeting hall and was upgraded to have meeting rooms and an eating area. The snack bar was opened each year to provide a small selection of food. A signature board was on the wall called the “$5 club.” Ag. Teachers were encouraged to kick in $5 to buy a new supply of candy to sell.
The food was catered in from Hampton by Don Jameson. Each day Don, Helen and his staff would cook the three meals needed to feed the young male Chapter FFA officers. Back in the early days women were not allowed to sign up for Ag. Classes and become FFA members.
It soon became apparent that the Camp needed a paid staff for leadership instead of relying on volunteers. That’s when Cliff Jensen took over all the duties and built the foundation for what Gene Wissenburg coined as The Leadership Center. “TLC” today.
– Marlin Seeman,
Past officer/President on the Board of Directors and an Agricultural Education Instructor at Hampton Public School 1972-2006.