This year I have had the opportunity to visit 48 different FFA chapters, each one with it’s own unique quirks, traditions and culture. As different as each place is, there is one constant: each chapter creates a home for its members. In high school, I spent more time in my ag classroom than I did at my own house for one simple reason: it was my home. I was surrounded by people with mindsets focused on success, people who pushed me to be better, and people who shared the same passion and approached life with unconditional love.
I have been lucky enough to see pieces of my ag classroom all around the state. This has come in many forms, from banners decorating a back wall to teachers with uncontainable zeal and passion for their jobs. In every classroom, I can find a piece of home, even if it’s a single FFA emblem.
This year, home also has been in the truck with my tour partners, Ellie and Riley. I am grateful for the way we sometimes banter like siblings and every opportunity to have a deeper conversation about life or our futures. I am thankful for long car rides back to the west side with Keegan that remind me of the crazy, goofy country boys I was surrounded by in highschool.
I’ve found a home in the Field’s horse arena in Canby. Spending time brushing, feeding and riding Breeze, reminding my of my pretty white mare, Sage at home. I am thankful to spend time in the saddle and be reminded of spending hours on long cattle drives in the canyons of Imnaha.
I’ve found home with the incredible people who make up our silly, goofy and sometimes dysfunctional Oregon FFA family. Mr. Dooley who never misses an opportunity to put on his “dad hat” and give advice on something, even if it’s just parking between cones. Leila, our new Career Development Event coordinator who proudly displays a silly drawing on her wall that we left on her desk. Lee, who always has time to listen to what’s happening in our lives, is a mom when we miss home, and never leaves us without a couple hugs.
In a Ted talk I watched recently, Pico Lyer said “Home is not the place you happen to be born, it is the place you become yourself.” The place I found and have continued to develop myself is zipped in my blue jacket, and I hope the same can be said for you reading this. I am thankful for each of you who have opened your home up to us and have helped us to find ourselves. Thank you all for giving me a home in Oregon FFA this year and creating that same home for all of our members.
With Joy and Gratitude,
2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Secretary