I remember the first time I ever put on my FFA jacket, my ag teacher Ms. Frank handed it to me in class, and I stuck it in my backpack to bring home. At lunch that day, sitting at the table with all of my non-FFA friends, I couldn’t wait another second to show off my new treasure! I pulled it out, unfolded its stiff arms, zipped the gold front, and did a little spin. With the biggest grin on my face and the utmost confusion in the rest of the lunchroom – my heart exploded! This was the start of MY jacket’s story and I was so excited to see the miles it would take me in the upcoming years.

Think back to the first time you zipped up your FFA jacket. For some of us, this was only a few weeks ago, and for others of us, it’s a fuzzy memory from years back. Even though I was excited about my very own jacket, it’s important for me to say I didn’t always understand all the hype. The first handful of times I put on official dress, the name on the front wasn’t mine. I was signed up for countless contests I knew nothing about including dairy foods, dairy judging, greenhand knowledge, novice parli pro, creed speaking, floriculture, and environmental/natural resources. The list goes on! Whether it was encouragement from an upperclassman, being scared of saying no to Ms. Frank, or peer pressure, I said yes anyway and showed up.

I’ve heard some rumors that maybe you aren’t the most excited about being voluntold to do things. I get it, I really do! But I promise you that it’s only because they care about you and see your value! If I could tell you one thing for the rest of my life it would be to never turn down an opportunity. Don’t be a door closer and let the people who care about you most push you! I’m talking about your advisors, parents, coaches, siblings, teachers, state officers, upperclassmen and so many others. FFA is the best investment of your time.

Say yes to everything, and do it with your full heart! Just do it! And especially when you are scared, nervous, unsure, and the least experienced person in the room. If I wasn’t pushed when I was uncomfortable, I wouldn’t be where I am today – and I believe that with my whole heart!

Some very wise people told me that my time in FFA will go by so fast, and I have to embrace every second. Listen, I know your jacket is certainly not the most comfortable outfit choice, but it will be the one that makes your life so full! Wear it as often as possible, soak up every second and say YES to everything!

Kylie Baldwin

State Reporter