As I drive in my first car, named Franny, on the backroads of my hometown playing “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks I can’t help with tears in my eyes, smile. My day was full of journaling from the past 14 days of State Fair, creating flipcharts for the next 11 district leadership camps, and of course playing with my 2 dogs, Roxie and Buckley. I smile upon the tractor on the field, I smile upon my last little joyride, and I smile upon the sentiments of my hometown.

As the following song, “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida plays, my thoughts shift back to state fair and the opportunity I had to go to Flo Rida’s concert with two best friends from back home, Bel, and Justin. From screaming our heads off at the concert to playing cards at the FFA information desk to frantically making milkshakes while volunteering in the Dairy Woman’s booth to helping show FFA members animals, state fair was packed with special moments. Our team ran countless animal shows and started up some new State Fair traditions- fitting contests and FFA advisor showmanship. While the fairs attendance was lower this year we were reminded of the influence FFA members have on the public as they watched members work so hard to prepare their animals, member’s faces light up after results and do it all with a smile on their face and an FFA emblem on their back. We couldn’t be more proud of the members who believe in the future of agriculture and each day are becoming part of its future.

While I think of the excitement that was state fair I am reminded of the anticipation of leadership camps. For the next month our team would be traveling to 11 FFA districts to dive into leadership with the members. Leadership camps are personally what I have been anticipating most and we can’t believe they will all be happening in person. Our first camp we will be attending is my home district, Umpqua District, and this just brings my excitement to a whole other level. Not only are leadership camps great places for personal interaction but we get to watch members step out of the comfort zones and flourish. In this ever changing world FFA and it’s members are always something we can lean on.

Next, I stop to play some sand volleyball. While the day was perfectly normal and we won our game of volleyball it was now time for goodbye. Totally caught off guard with this hard goodbye, I give my best friend a long tight hug. We share the excitement of this next phase of life, but we also share the tears of not seeing each other tomorrow or the next day or the next. One more deep breath and hug, then back into Franny to head back home.

To match my energy I play “Glad You Exist” by Dan and Shay. Following the final words of the song rather than being sad, gratitude runs over me. Thankful for the memories, thankful I had been blessed to have been placed in my best friends’ lives, but how much more thankful I was to have them placed in mine. From my best friends to each member at state fair to the hundreds of members at leadership camps there’s potential for beautiful relationships and memories.

While in Franny, I realized we often pass the opportunity to thank someone or say a simple goodbye up too often. Relationships thrive on appreciation. Let us all take more time to appreciate the memories, appreciate the members, and mostly appreciate people, because after all it all come back to that. People and relationships.

~ Katie Price

Oregon FFA State Sentinel