Hurricane Charley hits Florida FFA Leadership Training Center.

Friday the 13th of August was a bad day for the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center, but it could have been much worse. While the property suffered significant damage, none of the 110 guests or staff were injured, and the buildings suffered no structural damage.

Unfortunately, hundreds of trees on the property were uprooted or broken, most elements of the ROPES area were buried under downed trees, and the pool enclosure was so badly damaged that it will have to be replaced.

In the face of this natural disaster, the FFA community is responding with offers of help in the recovery. On its website, the National FFA Organization, notes that FFA members, advisors and state leaders have all expressed concern for those in the affected area, knowing that schools, FFA chapters, teachers and students have all suffered losses.

Belinda Chason, the state supervisor for agriscience and natural resources education with the Florida Department of Education, reports that, as of August 27, she had already responded to more than 60 requests from FFA chapters across the nation asking for ways in which they might assist.

"They are offering everything from money, to coming to help rebuild, to FFA jackets," says Chason. "One chapter has a truck loaded and ready to come to Florida, and one is planning to take a long weekend to come down to help a chapter rebuild."

She adds, "It is truly heartwarming to see members helping members!"

Chason is working to match offers for help with the individual FFA chapters in need and can be contacted at or by telephone at 850-245-9017.

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