When Leadership Counts: Engaging Youth Through the Washington Leadership Conference


  • Nicole L.P. Stedman University of Florida
  • Tracy A. Rutherford Texas A&M University
  • Manda H. Rosser Texas A&M University
  • Chanda Elbert Texas A&M University




The National FFA Organization continues to be a leader in the positive development of youth. Programs sponsored by the FFA provide youth with opportunities to develop their capacity for leadership and citizenship. The Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) is a weeklong conference during the summer that culminates the FFA experience. The WLC's objectives range from defining authentic leadership and relationship building to evaluating ethical decisions and serving communities. Over a 3-year period (2003, 2004, and 2005) the WLC showed consistent results in creating a positive change in the leadership development of its attendees. The greatest area of change was in the WLC's ability to impart new knowledge in its participants, demonstrated by ease of recall for specific facts. However, once participants returned home there was a slight decrease in their ability to carry out behaviors related to the leadership competencies taught at WLC. Overall, results were favorable as to the accomplishment of the WLC's programmatic objectives. Continual support from chapter advisors and online resources would ideally increase the behavioral aspects of students becoming more civically engaged in their home communities and carrying out positive leadership behaviors.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Stedman, N. L., Rutherford, T. A., Rosser, M. H., & Elbert, C. (2009). When Leadership Counts: Engaging Youth Through the Washington Leadership Conference. Journal of Agricultural Education, 50(1), 92–104. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2009.01092




Most read articles by the same author(s)