The official FFA jacket has been presented to members of the newly organized Park Rapids FFA chapter.

According to a news release from the Minnesota FFA Foundation, Park Rapids FFA members Kelsey Berghuis, Madison Carey, Allie Edelman, Batiste Huss, Kelsey Raidt and Jakob Scholz were selected to receive the blue jacket.

The presentation is part of the Foundation’s Blue Jacket Bright Futures program, which provides sponsored FFA jackets to youth who are starting their FFA career. This is the eighth year the Minnesota FFA has offered the program.

Lavyne Rada, leadership development coordinator with the Minnesota FFA Association, explained that the personalized FFA jacket “provides recipients with a sense of pride while giving them ownership of their FFA experiences.”

She added that FFA “plays an important role in developing agricultural and leadership skills in students while preparing them for their future careers.”

“The jacket is a symbol of tradition and pride,” said Val Aarsvold, executive director of the Minnesota FFA Foundation, adding that individuals and companies often sponsor jackets “because they appreciate what the organization does to develop young leaders.”

“I reflect back on my time in the blue jacket,” said Career and Technical Education teacher Stephen Funk, advisor of the Park Rapids FFA, “and I realize the tremendous impact it made in my life and all of the opportunities it provided for me and my fellow FFA members. I am excited for all of the things that these students will accomplish in their FFA jackets.”

For more information about the Blue Jacket Bright Futures program, contact Program Coordinator Amanda Sommers at 507-461-2214 or visit www.mnffafoundation.org.