As you prepare to go to Louisville next week for the 87th National FFA Convention, I hope that these reminders will help you and your chapter.

Medical Authorization forms: If you don't already, I encourage you to have some sort of medical authorization form completed and with you for every student that you take to Louisville. In case something happens, you will have some information to make a bad situation more manageable. If your school does not have a general medical release/parental consent form, there is a form attached to this email.

State Block Hotel: If you booked rooms in the Georgia state hotel block at the Marriott Downtown, your lodging reservations have been made. Your rooms at the hotel are registered in the names that you submitted to our office. You will not need a confirmation number and you will not be expected to provide payment at the hotel. You may however be asked to put down a credit card for incidental charges (phone calls, etc...) The Marriott is located in downtown Louisville. There is a parking garage at the Marriott that will accept cars, trucks and mini-vans. The entrance into the lot is 6'8". Any larger vehicle (i.e. 15 passenger vans, school or charter bus) will need to park in an open lot in downtown. The daily fee for parking in the Marriott parking garage is $22 for self-parking and $27 for valet parking. That fee is not covered in the amount that you have already paid. The Marriott does not have an exclusive shuttle from the airport. The Marriott does not have free continental breakfast, but they do have a Starbucks in the lobby.

There will be a handful of state staff members lodging at the Marriott should you need assistance. Please feel free to contact any of the following: Stan Mitchell, Sidney Bell, Josh Allen, Danny Bartlett, James Hunter, Kent Benson, Katrina Jones, Hope Carter or Todd Teasley. Contact information for the Marriott Downtown is:

280 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 627-5045

Convention Registration: If you have not registered for the Convention already, then you will have to do that on-site in Louisville. Everyone must register for the convention, including award winners, CDE competitors, chaperones, etc. If you have students competing in a CDE, a Proficiency Finalist, or an American Degree recipient, they must be registered for the convention. Convention Registration is located in the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) where the trade show and convention sessions will take place. Onsite registration will cost $70 per person.

State Picture: There will be a state Association picture taken on Friday, Oct. 31, at 11:00 a.m. All Georgia students, teachers, parents, Alumni and guests are encouraged to attend the state photo. State photos will be taken in the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) North Hall near the FFA shopping mall. There will be order forms available on-site for you to place orders for copies of the state picture. Please arrive by 10:45 a.m. Chapter photos can also be taken at the photo booth.

Georgia FFA Suite: All Georgia FFA advisors, chapters, alumni and guests attending the National FFA Convention are welcome and encouraged to stop by the Georgia FFA Suite #R-2 in Freedom Hall on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday. The state FFA officer team and various staff members will be in the Suite before and after each session. Additionally, the suite is used to host sponsors and VIPs from Georgia attending the convention. If your chapter is planning to bring an administrator to the Convention, please bring them by. Seating is very limited and Freedom Hall security does monitor the limited number allowed in the suites. However, it is a great place to hang out for a few minutes. Stop by and see us!

CDE participation: If you have a student or team(s) competing in a CDE, please be sure that you have copies of all necessary correspondence before you leave for Louisville. If you need to change a member of your team, you will have to complete the online Add/Delete process by Tuesday, October 28. Please remember that all students competing must have a waiver form submitted. If you make any changes, the student(s) that you add will need to bring their waiver form. There will not be an onsite Add/Delete process. There is one CDE registration office in the KEC West Hall Lobby, and a check-in site at each individual CDE location. Please be sure that you are clear on the times, locations, etc...of your event, as well as the coaches meetings, pictures, award dinners, etc. Attached is a master CDE schedule. Also, please be sure that you have registered all CDE contestants for the Convention. Our office completed your CDE certification, but we did not register you for the convention.

Award Winners/Recognition: If you have student(s) going across stage to be recognized, they will have reserved seating for those students during the appropriate session. There will be a tag on the seat with the award area and/or chapter/student name. Please be sure that you have your student(s) arrive early if they are planning to go across stage so that they find their appropriate seat. Please be sure that any student going on stage is in complete and proper official FFA dress!

Facilities: The convention will utilize several facilities in downtown Louisville.

* Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) will be home to registration, state/chapter photos, the Agriscience Fair, several CDEs, the career show, convention shopping mall and food court.
* Freedom Hall will be home to all Convention sessions and is located at the KEC.
* Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) will host proficiency award interviews and the National Chapter Award Models of Innovation and Outstanding Middle School interviews. The KICC is located in downtown Louisville.
* KFC YUM Center will host the Convention concerts and is located in downtown Louisville.

Finally, a few of the downtown hotels will be utilized for CDEs and meal functions.

Hall of States: The Alcovy FFA chapter will represent Georgia in the Hall of States exhibit. I encourage everyone to stop by booth #3357 to support Alcovy and see the Georgia display in the Hall of States.

Weather: Expect highs in the low 60s and lows down in the 40s for the week. Currently the forecast calls a small chance of rain sometime during the week. Please encourage your students to pack accordingly.

Finally, please know that while in Louisville, if you have any problems at all, or need any assistance, you can feel free to contact our staff. This year I have some committee responsibilities that will make it difficult for me to be accessible. However, Mr. Chip Bridges, Mr. Lynn Barber, Mr. Chris Corzine and Mr. Stan Mitchell will be in Louisville and available if you need help. We will do whatever we can to help. If you need to reach us during the next week, please use the numbers listed below:

Chip Bridges: (706) 410-4605
Stan Mitchell: (706) 338-7230
Chris Corzine: (864) 844-4412
Lynn Barber:  (912) 584-8442

Thanks, and have a safe trip to Louisville!

Ben Lastly
Executive Secretary
Georgia FFA Association
316 Poultry Science - UGA
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 552-4456<>