The National FFA Building our American Communities Program: characteristics of selected 1983 BOAC projects, program participants, FFA chapters, schools, and communities
A major thrust for vocational education in the 1980s is the collaboration of schools with industry and other sectors of the community. The Building Our American Communities (BOAC) program was initiated in 1971 by the Future Farmers of America to involve agriculture students in their communities. Considerable financial and human resources have supported BOAC program operations for the past 13 years, yet there is a lack of knowledge as to who has been participating in the program, what resources have been utilized, and what outcomes have resulted.
The purpose of the study was to examine the BOAC program by describing community development activities, BOAC projects, and characteristics associated with selected students and advisors who participated in the 1983 BOAC program relative to their FFA chapter, school, and community contextual situations with respect to program inputs and anticipated outcomes. The first four levels of Bennett and Nelson's (1975) evaluation hierarchy used by the Cooperative Extension Service served as a theoretical frame of reference for the study.
The population for this descriptive study included the 48 students and 46 advisors who attended the 1983 National Conference on Community Development. Three survey instruments were developed by the researcher. One for students and one for advisors elicited background and participation information. The third instrument was used to gather participants' FFA chapter, school, and community data. BOAC program statistical reports were also used as a data source. The data were analyzed using descriptive techniques.
Two major findings of this study were:
Benefits to FFA members and vocational agriculture programs represented the major program outcomes. These outcomes were increased citizen participation, increased human relation skills of members, and increased public awareness of the vocational agriculture program.
Students and advisors involved numerous individuals and groups in their projects which primarily improved the following community sectors: school/education, civic facilities, agriculture, and recreation.
The BOAC program should be viewed as an excellent teaching tool for involving students in their communities. Future studies, using this one as a baseline data source, need to be conducted to determine BOAC program effects on program participants and nonparticipants.