The Blue Jacket Bonanza is a program that helps provide the blue corduroy jackets for Future Farmers of America (FFA) members who do not have the means to purchase one on their own. The program is made possible through the support of local businesses and community members.
“This year is very exciting, we are giving away 37 FFA jackets throughout our county,” said Program Coordinator for Tulare County Farm Bureau (TCFB) Brittney Blankenship. “We received a great amount of support this year from various businesses throughout the community.”
The effort has grown significantly since it first started in Tulare County in 2012. The first year of the program facilitated the purchase of three FFA jackets. “As it’s grown over the years, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of students that have received jackets,” Blankenship stated. “This is all made possible by Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau who started the program, but we run our own program here in Tulare County.”
The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau worked with the National FFA Organization to make it possible for any county farm bureau nationwide to start up their own local Blue Jacket Bonanza program. “They are helpful updating applications or jacket orders with the National FFA Organization, but each program is run by an individual county farm bureau,” said Blankenship.
The jackets that are supplied as part of the Blue Jacket Bonanza program are slightly different from other FFA jackets. The National FFA Organization provides a patch on the inside of the jacket that indicates it was provided by the local farm bureau.
The Blue Jacket Bonanza program in Tulare County is facilitated through the TCFB Education and Scholarship Fund. For FFA members to receive a jacket as part of the program they must first complete an application process. Jackets are then awarded based on need, community service activities, leadership skills, and commitment to the FFA program.
Blankenship, who received her FFA jacket during her freshman year of high school, remembers the pride that comes with the blue corduroy and noted how significant it is for FFA members. “Though I don’t wear it anymore, it’s still a very special possession I keep,” Blankenship said.
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