We started this year ignorant, like anyone does at the start of every journey, unaware of what truly lay before us. As we end this year, reflecting back on what we thought we knew and the real knowledge we’ve gained, I have never been so excited to celebrate the end of an era with a creative and vibrant convention. However, I wasn’t always so sure, and I’d like to share some moments of ignorance throughout the year that flipped to knowledge.

The first hint of ignorance took place within everyone around the state as every member held fear within their hearts that nothing would ever be the same again when quarantine was first underway and life changed for us all. As brand new State Officers, we had an equal amount of fear that we wouldn’t be able to see all the members we desired to and attend the same events we had planned on. How much of every single person’s lives would change and be disappointed by Covid-19? Will anything ever be the same again? We NEED normalcy! These ignorant, but completely valid fears, flipped to newfound knowledge when we slowly came to the realization that we indeed can create the same events, just in a unique format. We’ve come a long way since our first virtual CDE Days, with our unfamiliar zoom skills. We found a way to not only host these events virtual, but also make them a fun experience that was still worth the pumped talk for years to come. That would prove true especially at Virtual Leadership Camp where the team and I came together to create a Mission Possible Theme that would be the most interactive virtual experience yet. This knowledge that we could do anything we used to, but better in some aspects, was exhilarating and empowered us to carry this knowledge throughout the year.

However, ignorance was placed within the center of comparison. The team and I had so many conversations about how badly we wanted that true connection with members, that we previously had created with each other in past years. How can we make life long connections in isolation, members being the farthest they’ve ever been from our reach? The truth of this knowledge was right in front of our eyes, in the work we were doing every single day from Strand: chapter visits. We were ignorant of the sincerity in FFA members’ connections, and the fact that they had the ability to be so powerful that it didn’t matter if they were through a screen or not. We learned so much from students teaching in classrooms, including the knowledge that connections do not have restraints. Brene Brown emphasized that, “Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering”. Connection is the foundation of humanity, and this is the greatest knowledge we could ever ask to receive.

The last bit of ignorance was in initial State Convention planning. When the announcement was made that there wouldn’t be any in person aspects to convention, we were crushed. We were limited once again. We would soon find out that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The ignorance flipped over night to knowledge and tremendous excitement when we understood that we would have complete creative freedom to breathe life into a brand new convention, never done before. And here we are, with only 1 day left until the gavel drops, stoked about what we worked so hard to put together.

Ignorance Vs. Knowledge. Life with our lessons learned not only has made us more open minded, but understanding that nothing in life is guaranteed. But we have the opportunity to turn our ignorance into knowledge and make the most from the situations that we are presented with. Covid 19 has changed our year and lives forever, but we are thankful for the chance to move ONWARD, with our new knowledge that we will carry throughout our lives and hope members will join us, as we invite them to.

Oregon FFA, thank you for letting us learn from you this past year, the lessons are infinite and we are so grateful to have served you for a whole year. As our journey soon comes to end, we will remain members’ biggest fans and will carry our knowledge with us forever.

With so much love,

Alivia Robbins, 2020-21 Oregon FFA State Reporter