As we begin to wrap up this year, I can’t help but reflect back on all of the incredible gifts we have received thus far. In our short eight months of office, my teammates and I have discovered that gifts present themselves in many forms. Instead of being wrapped and placed under the tree, our gifts often come in the form of conversations with members and supporters, chapter visits, opportunities to travel, and so much more. 

The opportunity to call five fantastic individuals my teammates is one I am grateful for every day. The beauty of a state office team is how six individuals from across the state come together to serve Oregon FFA members for a year, hardly knowing each other until their first adventure as a team. The formation of a family with these five is a gift I will always cherish. I push you to think about the people in your life who we might take for granted, whether that is teammates, siblings, teachers, or even your coffee shop barista. 

It is no secret that state office comes in tow with a large amount of traveling. Driving across the state, riding scooters in Washington DC, and exploring Indianapolis are just a few of our grand adventures as a team. Providing a new tier of experiences to our year of service has shaped us in multiple ways. In a truck or on an airplane we are given a new environment to learn and grow from. 

Last but not least, one of the biggest gifts of all is the opportunity to interact with all of our members, sponsors, advisors, and even strangers on the street. Within a week we are meeting hundreds of new faces, which in turn allows us to make meaningful connections, share laughs, and impact not only others but also ourselves. Traveling around the state and seeing the diversity of our members and chapters has been one of the best gifts above all. 

While I am sad to see that our window is closing, I can’t help the feeling of immense gratitude for all the gifts received and moments yet to come. In honor of the holiday spirit, I encourage you to take the time to celebrate the gifts in your life. For some that may be quality time with family, for others good health, or opportunities to travel and make connections. From our team to yours, we wish you and your families the happiest of holidays and for now, that’s a wrap!

With gratitude,

Maddie Dollarhide