This past week I had the chance to spend a few days at the 88th Nebraska FFA Convention. Reflecting back on my time in Lincoln has led me to a few realizations. One: My time as a State FFA Officer is quickly coming to a close. Two: Seven of my best friends gave retiring addresses that have messages I want to share. Three: The #FFAmily is something that will always be a part of my life.
Traveling the state this past year has been one of the most entertaining and eye opening experiences of my life. I’ve had the chance to see nearly every part of the state and engage with members from far more chapters than I can even begin count. Being in the middle of banquet season leaves me with many places yet to travel to, but here’s a FEW highlights of my year thus far (THERE ARE WAY MORE THAN THIS!):
- Uniontown Leadership Conference where I was able to present a workshop with Karl and spend time with members drinking lemonade and eating delicious hamburgers!
- Bennington School Board Meeting with Kyler where we got to tell our FFA story and help show the community how valuable adding a program would be.
- Growing Leaders in Southwest Kansas Conference when my entire team spend a day with multiple chapters and received some of our favorite T-Shirts!
- La Crosse FFA where I met with some super cool officers after a presentation to talk about life and #thesecretkey.
- Axtell FFA with Lane presenting to 6-8th graders and then the entire chapter; painting with pudding was quite entertaining!
Not only have I had some great memories in Kansas, but I’ve also met some incredible State Officers from neighboring states. The Nebraska State Officers – Gage, David, Trevor, Katie, Renae, Nevada, and Jake – each had retiring address messages that I feel everyone could get something out of. After asking each officer what they wanted members to take from their speeches, the following quotes were compiled:
Gage: “Choose the plan that fully engages you in your own life and the plan that allows you to push your limits.”
David: “Within gaps, there is opportunity. Opportunity for growth, leadership, love, joy, and success.”
Trevor: “Service is about using our gifts and talents, BIG or small, to improve something we are passionate about.”
Katie: “Instead of conforming to the situations in which we feel inadequate, we must be courageous in knowing that somewhere, there is a place where we will perfectly belong.”
Renae: “Let’s choose to cultivate our talents and potential by investing our time and effort. Let’s be present!”
Nevada: “You do you. Choose to believe in you. Use your beliefs to conquer your fears and help others find belief in themselves. Choose belief and keep on believing.”
Jake: “You can’t control our circumstances, but you can always control your attitude. Choose joy and give hope.”
I challenge everyone to take these thoughts and apply them to our lives. Use this as motivation to better ourselves each and every day. The most successful people are those who look for something every day that they can approve upon.
Even though my time is the blue jacket is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean that the friendships and connections also have to come to an end. It seems like I’m always running into someone that I’ve met through a CDE, State Convention, or Leader Lab in the most random of locations. Each time this happens I am reminded how much I love this organization and all that it has given to me. Kansas FFA, if your time in the blue jacket is also coming to an end don’t be afraid. We don’t have to be wearing Official Dress to have the memories, skills, and knowledge that FFA and Ag Education has provided to us. Take the time to thank our advisor, encourage our new chapter members, and finish out this year to the best of our ability!
I’d like to say thank you Kansas FFA for making my past ten months in office some of the best memories of my life and I can’t wait to see each of you in Manhattan in just 51 short days!