The team had the great opportunity to travel internationally to Spain and Portugal on the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) in the beginning of January. We started this journey by spending New Year’s Eve in New York City! My teammate Riley and I waited four hours to see the spectacular moment in Times Square when the ball dropped, and a new year began. Even though we waited four hours there were small moments that will never be forgotten.

 It was moments like Riley getting sandwiched between two strangers, laughing uncontrollably with our friends Abbie and Kendyl from the Washington FFA Association, and of course watching the New York City ball drop that truly made this experience a fond memory. It is small moments like these that make life meaningful, and this simple philosophy was proven true while on this trip.

On January 3rd the team left New York and arrived in Madrid, Spain with almost 70 other state officers chosen for this trip. For the next 10 days we traveled Spain and Portugal learning so much about agriculture and so much about ourselves. We toured cattle feedlots, greenhouse facilities, olive oil cooperatives, vineyards, cork factories and so much more. Even though each one of these were very factual and full of learning, it was small moments that made them unforgettable.

It was seeing the gorgeous countryside of Spain on top of the water tower at the feedlot. It was seeing Lola’s deep passion for agriculture at the greenhouses. It was little things like tour guides complimenting the FFA organization for being so respectful and learning about a different culture and lifestyle. Even simple moments like the bus rides between visits were appreciated. Looking back now at our experience each one of use are grateful for the little moments that made this trip worthwhile.

Sometimes in life it is much to easy to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed. We tend to worry too much on receiving a diploma or meeting a deadline. While these are very important aspects in life, it is the little moments that make life count. It is the memories made with those surrounding us that will be remembered for a lifetime. I challenge you to slow down and live in the moment while you still can, because the best times of your life are happening right in front of you.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Keegan Gibbs

Oregon FFA State Treasurer