From an idea over dinner, to a nationally recognized program
About the Program
From an idea over dinner, to a nationally recognized program, Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau and the GAATE Foundation’s Blue Jacket Bonanza Program has changed many lives. In 2010, SBC Farm Bureau Executive Director, Teri Bontrager, was watching local FFA students at fundraisers and fairs when she noticed that many of the local students did not posses their own FFA jackets. After further research she found that 84% of Northern Santa Barbara County students participate in the free and reduced lunch programs at the schools. It became evident to Ms. Bontrager that there were many students in need.
In 2011, Blue Jacket Bonanza was recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation as one of the County Activities of Excellence.
When the National FFA Organization heard about Blue Jacket Bonanza they chose to endorse the program and help make it available to FFA members nationwide by guaranteeing local Farm Bureaus a flat rate of $55 for each qualifying student’s jacket, scarf or tie and shipping. They have also provided a 2”x3” Blue Jacket Bonanza patch that will be placed in every jacket awarded through this program.
In August of 2012, Executive Director Teri Bontrager and National FFA Director of Merchandising, Customer and Fulfillment Services, Lee Anne Shiller introduced the program and the agreement with the FFA Organization at AFBF’s Staff Institute in Louisville, Kentucky.
With the program spreading like wild fire, the National FFA Organization invited Bontrager to represent Blue Jacket Bonanza at the FFA jacket sales booth in the Convention Trade Show which hosts over 60,000 FFA members and guests. While there, Bontrager promoted the program and fit FFA members from all 50 states for their coveted “blue jackets”.
Blue Jacket Bonanza and the GAATE Foundation are affiliates of the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau. For more information on the local Blue Jacket Bonanza, please contact the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau at 805-688-7479 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.