Tuesday, March 11, 2014

• Future Farmer of America: FFA EHS

I had the chance to get a tour of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) at EHS (Elsinore High School) the other day, along with City Council Member Bridgette Moore.

First was an introduction to the guide dog program.

The students keep the dogs for a year and a half from 8 weeks old onward. They start with house training, basic commands like "sit and stay", a lot of socialization, with an aim to have them be good house pets as well.
The key is obedience training, if the dog passes the tests, a 50-50 proposition, they are placed with a blind partner, and the training is two weeks accelerated program.

At that point there is a doggie graduation, and the student is invited to participate. They are given the dog back and then they present the dog to the blind person... which can be an emotional experience.


    At this point the FFA student leaders gave a tour of their domain.    

Student Catherine O'Donnell was speaking of the group planting a corn maze here for a future fund raising opportunity. Also thoughts of raising turkeys for local families in need and a Puppy/Dog Wash too.

FFA President Sierra Brewer told about a past fund raiser called, "Kiss the Pig". The object was to put a jar into each participating teacher's classroom. Students and faculty would put money into the jars, and the teacher that collected the most money had to kiss the pig

   Speaking of pigs... next was learning about PROJECT PORK.   

Students from all grades get the opportunity to raise piglets. Once grown, they can either sell or keep the meat.

Students feed, clean and train the piglets. Training is mostly teaching them to walk in the direction they want them to go in.

The piglets are currently between 50-60 pounds and are expected to reach over 250 pounds.

They have two steers, named  Batman and Robin , donated by Rick Wolter.
These guys don't know how good they've got it...
they could be in Norco looking at the freeway, instead of that nice hillside behind them.

Mike Ames was mentioning that the pen, with the goats, was also used as a petting zoo. Sierra then told of a Harvest Festival with the local kindergartens, where they would read stories to the younger kids and let them pet and feed the animals. 

Catherine then mentioned that special needs students also come down to visit the animals. She was telling me about one particular student that was having a very bad time, a "total meltdown", then after short time with the animals, the child's whole demeanor shifted and he was an altogether different kid.

In this picture you see Butters the goat; a favorite of the students (upper middle and lower right). He'd gotten into some poultry feed as a baby and got sick. Sierra and Catherine took turns taking care of him for two days to make sure he recovered.

Let's meet the tour guides

A group shot with teacher/supervisor Megan Sebesta.

From left to right: Sierra Brewer, Andreas Areola, Megan Sebesta, Catherine O'Donnell, Kendell Polis.


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