Venturing West

This past Friday, a pickup truck packed with 3 guys, a tent, 20 pounds of trail mix, and a map bumped along Hwy 96 headed for Colorado.  For the first time in my life, I was headed out to the mountains.  This was a new experience for me, and sometimes I imagined myself as a pioneer venturing westward toward a new chapter of life.  However, the cold A/C and the speedometer reading 65 miles per hour brought me back to reality.  For this three-day getaway we had no concrete plan, just the goal to visit Pike’s Peak and camp out under the pines.

We passed through nearly a dozen small towns as the elevation rose up toward Colorado Springs.  However, one stuck out to me specifically.  Before entering Eads, Colorado, I noticed a sign along the highway painted a familiar blue and gold.  “Eads FFA Welcomes You,” it stated.  It was just a sign, but it made a connection to me and gave me a sense of belonging even though I was 400 miles from home.

As August and the beginning of a new school year rolls around, we will all have the opportunity to welcome new members into our FFA chapters.  Just as pioneers venturing west, students entering high school are creating a new chapter in their lives.  It is vitally important that as an organization we welcome those new students. They may have a general idea of where they want to go in their life, but we must be there to help fill in the gaps and develop their skills.  As FFA members and leaders, we have the great opportunity to help fellow members unlock their potential and discover their passion for agriculture.

IMG_8598After a few days of exploring the Rocky Mountains, my dad, brother, and I headed back east on Hwy 96.  We had survived a surprised hailstorm, explored numerous miles of logging roads, and made a lot of memories.  And once again, I saw a familiar blue and gold sign outside of Eads, Colorado.  “Eads FFA Welcomes You.”

I believe that we need to remember to welcome not just new FFA members, but also those community and past FFA members who impact our organization.  Our communities provide an amazing amount of support for our organization, and without them we would not be able to accomplish nearly as much.  This year, let’s make sure to show our true appreciation for those around us and also welcome in a new group of members who will help us venture to new heights.

But before I end my first blog post, here are some quick facts about myself.

1.  My family consists of an older brother and my two parents. (They are quite amazing!)

May-2014-0142.  Our family enjoys building vehicles to thrash at the off-road vehicle park (This one didn’t survive very long).

131_1212_02-december_2012_whoops-nissan_pathfinder_stuck_in_water3.  I have a lot of fun showing hogs at the county fair.

IMG_75514.  The Meats Evaluation CDE was definitely my favorite.

DSC048155. I love FFA!!! and my great teammates!

IMG_0353Kansas FFA, how will you welcome others this year?