The following are some ideas that might help your FFA chapter get started on a project for the Bridging Horizons Contest. You could begin by looking around your school for possible ideas. We suggest that you keep it simple and have fun. Many of these projects would only take an afternoon or two to complete, but can have a long-lasting positive effect on your community. Click on the links for project idea photos.
- Install Rearview Mirrors. Install rearview mirrors
on agricultural equipment so that an individual with a bad back will not have to twist as much when backing up.
- Fabricate a Rolling Cart.
Design a cart that can be scooted through a garden or around a shop for people who have trouble walking. The Tippecanoe Valley FFA Chapter designed a shop chair
for a farmer who could stand for extended periods of time.
- Conduct a Community Assessment.Go out into your community and do a community
or worksite assessment
on accessibility. Do the police station, hospital, public fishing sites, or local parks have ramps, an accessible parking spot, a clearly posted sign pointing to an accessible entrance, accessible restrooms, a compacted walkway that a wheelchair could roll on and other features that ensure access? If not, follow up with a written proposal to your county officials reporting what you have found, possible changes that need to be made, why the changes need to be made, and whom to contact to make the changes. If you believe that your chapter could assist in accomplishing some of the needed changes, offer to help.
- Mark Accessible Parking Spaces.
Get some blue paint and refresh or make new accessible parking spaces
at your high school, baseball diamond, tennis courts, local businesses, etc. (Become the “Blue Crew”).
- Fabricate Stencils.
Develop a stencil for marking accessible parking areas, and distribute it to local businesses.
- Purchase and Install Accessible Signs.
Buy and install signs at appropriate locations in the community. These signs can be purchased at hardware stores and other places such as Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, etc., along with stakes or poles. Always ask permission before installing signs.
- Make a Farm Plot Accessible.
Is your school’s farm plot accessible? Clear a pathway, build a bridge over the ditch, remove big rocks and twigs, mow some of the tall weeds, compact soil, or make a walkway
out of crushed limestone, woodchips, etc., so that a wheelchair or those with mobility impairments can maneuver more easily.
- Enhancing School Accessibility.
Look around your school. Is there an accessible picnic table? Is there a desk in your classroom that is wheelchair friendly? Can a wheelchair get into the football stands? Are there curb cuts? Should there be more? Are they in the right places? In the auditorium, is there a spot for a wheelchair?
- Invite a Person with a Disability to Class.
Have a farmer or other agribusiness worker with a disability come into the classroom to talk about special adaptations he has made in order to continue doing what he does. Hold a public awareness workshop.
This is a good event to have during Disability Awareness Month.
- Wheelchair Wheel Cleaner.
Make a brush that cleans wheelchair tires, similar to what you would use to clean your boots.
- Self-Loading Trailer.
Construct a trailer that self-loads and unloads an ATV, lawnmower, etc., for an individual who may have trouble getting on and off of his or her equipment.
- Extra Step on Equipment.
Add an extra step
to an older farmer’s tractor or combine to make mounting his or her equipment less of an effort. 1, 2, 3
- Fabricate Simple Hand Controls.
Build hand controls
to operate a tractor’s clutch pedal
or brake for an individual with limited leg strength.
- One-Handed Tools.
Design shovel or other tool handles
that make the tool usable with one hand.
- Assist with Organization of Farm Shop.
Organize a farmer’s shop so that tools
are easily accessible.
- Fabricate a Wheelchair Ramp.
Design and build portable wheelchair ramps that can be easily transported in a van or car for an individual in a wheelchair.
- Make Nursing Home Improvements.
Spend a day at a local nursing home planting flowers, installing a bird viewing area, or making general improvements for the residents.
- ATV Modifications.
Install foot guards, heat shields and a hand shifter
on an ATV for an individual with limited sensation in his or her lower limbs.
- Self-Attaching Hitch.
Install a self-attaching tongue hitch
on a trailer, so that an individual with limited mobility won’t have to get out of his or her vehicle when hooking onto a trailer. 1, 2.
- Accessible Fishing Area.
Build an accessible fishing pier or provide fishing rod holders
for a public lake or community pond.
- Self-Opening Gate.
Install a self-opening cattle gate
so that an individual with limited mobility won’t have to dismount their equipment to open and close the gate.
- Installing Ramps and Curb Cuts.
Identify areas where wheelchair ramps and curb cuts need to be installed. Make the necessary changes so that an individual in a wheelchair can get into a building or onto a sidewalk. The North Miami FFA chapter built a wheelchair ramp
for a chapter member.
- Helping Local Citizens.
Identify an individual who could benefit from assistance in snow removal or spring landscaping.
- On-Site Assistance.
Spend a day at a farm repairing and cleaning for a local resident with arthritis who may have trouble getting around.
- Accessible Welding Table.
Design a welding table that a wheelchair can fit beneath. Additionally, install a shield to deflect sparks away from an individual’s legs. Some individuals have limited sensation and may not know if they are being burned.
- Extended Tree Planter.
Make an extended hand-held tree planter for people who have trouble bending.
- Tool Location System.
Develop a tool location system
in a shop for a visually-impaired person.
Put braille labels on tools, switches and signs for a visually impaired individual.
- Accessible Flowerpot.
Build a bird feeder or flowerpot
that can be raised, lowered and filled by a person in a wheelchair.
- Improving Outside Accessibility.
Do a landscaping project for a family that would enhance outside accessibility. Grade and level a pathway around a garden or to a mailbox that is free of holes and rocks, and has a slope that is tolerable to maneuver by wheelchair users.
- Host a Support Group.
Host a support group or hold a special event, such as a picnic, for farmers with disabilities within your community.
- Mount a Gun Support onto a Wheelchair.
Design and mount a gun support system onto a wheelchair.
- Accessible Picnic Table.
Design an accessible picnic table
for a local park in your community.
- Accessible Walkways.
Widen doorways or alleyways at local businesses or fairgrounds so that a wheelchair can fit through them. The Tri-County FFA chapter built an accessible walkway
at their show arena.
- Install Automatic Door Openers.
Install automatic door openers
for a local farmer, at your school, or for a local business.
- Install Easy-to-Turn Handles.
Install lever-type handles for a person with limited arm and finger strength.
- Prosthetic Limb Modifications. Make tools that can be attached to a prosthetic arm.
- Host Physically-Challenged Athletic Events.
Host a wheelchair basketball
game to increase public awareness.
- Accessible Deer Stand.
Design a deer stand
that can be raised and lowered for a person who can’t climb very well. 1.
- Install Hydraulic Couplers.
Install hydraulic couplers
on agricultural equipment so that hydraulic lines can be put on and off with less effort.
- Reading Services.
Set up and record cassette tape reading services for individuals with visual impairments. Few farm or rural publications are available in alternative formats.
- Install Steering Wheel Knobs or Rings.
Install steering rings to assist an amputee with driving equipment.
- Install Wind Chimes.
Install wind chimes in different locations on a farm to assist visually-impaired individuals in getting around by hearing the chimes.
- Accessible Fire Extinguishers.
Design a fire extinguisher that can be operated with one hand for an amputee.
- Install Guidance Ropes.
Install a guidance rope
that is placed on the floor to help guide the visually-impaired around a shop. 1.
- Make Modifications to a Fishing Boat.
Install hand controls on a fishing boat that operate a trolling motor for an individual who doesn’t have the use of his or her legs.
- Design an Accessible Hunting Blind.
Make an accessible hunting blind
for an individual in a wheelchair.
- Fabricate an Easy-Feeding System.
Build a swing-out-door feeding
system so that an individual won’t have to climb into a pen to fill buckets.
- Install Swivel Seats.
Design and install a swivel seat
on equipment for those who have trouble twisting.
- Make an Easy-to-Fill Planter.
Mount an auger
on a planter so that seed and fertilizer can be filled without having to lift heavy bags.