Nine rising 6th and 7th graders from our Wimauma Community Academy gathered with their Junior Grange peers from Florida to Massachusetts at the organization’s Eastern Regional Leadership Conference in Washington, DC this past June.
It was the first time since our club was formed three years ago that the students traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in workshops and contests and, of course, see the sights.
Junior Grange helps children develop self-confidence and leadership skills while teaching them about agriculture, accountability and respect for self and others.
Charlotte Bethany and Holly Paulsboe, two of our Exceptional Student Education Resource Teachers, established our local club to offer a co-ed afterschool opportunity for students of all academic achievement levels.
Approximately 50 students in grades 5 to 8 meet every other week for 90 minutes for activities such as crafts and community service projects.
They maintain the school’s aquaponics-based vegetable garden where peppers thrive. And a group of the members called the Chicken Tenders care for 8 to 10 Silkie chickens.
During the DC trip, the students participated in a public speaking contest, learned about the government, toured the monuments, went to the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of American History, drove by Ford’s Theater, and got a peek at the White House.
Many thanks to Charlotte Bethany, teacher Diego Hernandez, parent Glenn Baxley, and National Grange Chaplain Barbara Borderieux, who lives near Tampa, who were chaperones for the trip.
The students hope to attend a national conference in March when they can meet with Florida’s legislators.
Students must pay $10 per year to participate in Junior Grange, with $2 going to the national organization and the rest paying for program supplies. They each also paid $400 to attend the national conference, which included our car caravan to DC, hotel, meals and conference fee.