A placement Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is an opportunity for students to participate in a job-like situation. It requires time, and possibly money, outside of the normal school day, along with regular journal entries to document the experience. The overall goal of a placement SAE is for students to learn how to be a successful, productive and valuable employee.
There are a wide range of placement SAEs within FFA, but also in other youth organizations like FCCLA, DECA or 4-H. They can also be school-related, work-based, and outdoor or adventure education, community service or study abroad.
An example of a field-trip SAE is students representing their organization while being a teen-volunteer/chaperone. As a field-trip volunteer they would have to be involved in the planning process, know the safety and learning expectations and facilitate learning while on the trip. A great example is a professional development experience I recently participated in with STEM and beef production in California agriculture. If students had volunteered with this event, they could have provided resources and knowledge about the region, culture, economy and educational system. It could be a paid or non-paid experience. This would be a great opportunity for any FFA or 4-H member, or even a range of CTSOs in agricultural sciences and STEM.
Work-based learning SAEs should be directly related to that’s student career pathway. An example of a work-based learning SAE would be a student working with a county extension agent. Working with a county extension agent would reflect relevant and local issues in a range of agricultural, natural resources and plant sciences topics. It would also show the range of work needed in the many hours of planning, traveling and importance of documentation. If the student is interested in agricultural education or leadership, this would be a great organization to see the variety of producers/consumers Extension works with, as well as the different venues, demonstrations and workshops given to lead change. Another benefit is to see how the different pathways at the high school level, truly work together in the real world because each county normally has an agricultural rep, a family/consumer science agent and other agents depending on the county’s needs. This would be an unpaid SAE.
Outdoor recreation is reflective of the area one lives in and therefore offer a variety of activities like fishing, hunting, camping or hiking. An example of an outdoor recreation SAE is within the Student Internship Program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The internship is designed for students interested in the conservation-related field. It provides a realistic view of TWPD and the different divisions within it. Students would spend hours outdoors using field equipment, gaining knowledge and the importance of public safety/communication. They would also have a chance to work with a diverse group. This is for college students and can be paid or unpaid. The internship is competitive, so they also have volunteer opportunities or seasonal employment.
Adventure education is different from outdoor recreation, although most experiences take place outside. Generic examples of adventure education would be ropes courses, rock climbing, and archery, orienteering and snow sports. The type of adventure ed available is directly related to weather conditions and environment. A student could be camp leader or docent, at a summer adventure camp, or even within Girls or Boy Scouts of America. Responsibilities of a camp leader would be modeling safety, demonstration of various equipment, leadership and team building and strong oral communication. This would be a non-paid SAE.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapters are active in community and service learning projects within many schools. An example of a service learning and leadership development SAEs is participation in the “Lead2Feed” program to “nurture a new generation of leaders while working to end local and global hunger.” Students use project management, decision-making and teamwork to address a need within their community. It also is a grant opportunity for chapters to compete, for moneys to go to charity of choice, or for technology within their school. This community service project would require volunteer hours of planning, service and team building within the targeted need. Needs would be different depending on the community. Examples are can food drives, meal delivery, holiday meal delivery, community gardens or cleanup and more. For more about this program, visit: https://www.lead2feed.org/
Study abroad placement SAEs may be harder for students to obtain. A good example of one would be as a collegiate course. Many universities offer 10day to 3-week mini-courses abroad to learn more about cultural, economic and social aspects of that country. These courses encompass the service or community SAEs. A student would go abroad to work with local farmers to become more sustainable, while they learn about service, teamwork, budgeting and communication. This would be a non-paid SAE.