The team and I kicked off the first of many Leadership Camps in June starting in Southern Oregon. Since then, we have been attending leadership camps throughout the state for each of the 11 districts in Oregon FFA. Some have been one-day camps and some have been three-day overnight camps. We have jumped in freezing cold lakes for Polar Bear Plunges, played Capture The Flag in the dark, and sat around a campfire with numerous FFA members that now feel like family. Yes, my inflatable cow costume has even made an appearance or two as well. Each camp has its fair share of laughs, memories, and funny camp traditions that we partake in before it’s time for us to pack up and move on to the next one.

A couple of weeks ago, we had just finished out one heck of a camp: the Central Oregon Leadership Camp! As Katie, Kylie, and I left Crystal Springs Camp, we made our way back to Kylie’s house in Redmond. While passing through Prineville, we pulled over to a viewpoint that overlooked the town. From this viewpoint, we sat on the ledge, enjoyed the sunshine together, and gazed upon the roads of Prineville. I watched from above as each of the cars on these roads seemed to be in a hurry to reach whatever was next on life’s agenda. I then realized that that’s how I have been spending a lot of my year in office. Always rushing, getting from Point A to Point B, and then to the next destination. But being so far above those cars, I realized that no matter how fast they drove, they always appeared to drive much slower when looking from my perspective above.

The faster you drive, the blurrier the view around you becomes. When you put down the gas pedal to speed life up, the memories you make begin to become blurry as well. Sometimes we need to be reminded to find our viewpoint, look at our lives from a birds-eye-view, and realize the only thing rushing our lives is us. This reminder has taught me that when I slow down, my view gets much better. It has reminded me that no matter how much I want to rush, my schedule is and will always be on God’s timing- so I might as well soak in the most of it!

By the time we got to our next destination, the Blue Mountain District Leadership Camp, I remembered that I didn’t need to rush through anything. I needed to slow down, gaze upon the people around me and grow in the moments I was in instead of rushing through to the next ones. When I slowed down, I didn’t just see my workshop materials and camp schedule. I also saw in great depth the beauty of our campground at Camp Elkanah, I saw friendships being built, and I saw why I’m here. I’m not here to hold a title or stick to a fast-paced schedule, I’m here to invest in the lives of those around me- and that’s pretty tricky to do when I move too fast to fully see them. As our 10th and final leadership camp closes out this month with the Eastern Oregon District, here’s what I want to remember: life’s tasks will come one at a time no matter how fast I try to get there.

So to slow down, absorb the current moments with those around you, and don’t let busyness become blurriness. “Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:15-16.



State President