moment back in time with me to the 2001 Oregon State Fair. In the sheep barn my
mom, dad, and a slew of sheep friends running around getting ready for the
Hampshire breeding show. You may be wondering why I am explaining this story to
you, and it’s because, I was right there with them. In a front pack that was
passed around from person to person was seven-month-old me. This was my
earliest encounter with the State Fair. My experience remained relatively the
same at fair for 17 years, creating a summer tradition for my family. However,
this year I entered a whole new capacity serving as a state officer. Instead of
exhibiting I was able to be part of the innerworkings that makes the Oregon
State Fair a success every year.
week one I was so excited to share my summer tradition with my team. Though I
did get to enter the open show sheep ring for Supremes this year, being a part
of fair looked completely different. This year I gained a new appreciation for
all the people who make State Fair possible. Being an exhibitor, I never got to
experience what went on behind the scenes at fair. This year I was able to
experience and be a part of the prep, grunge, and thankless work that often
goes unnoticed. This gave me a new appreciation for the efforts put forth by
countless individuals who keep the fair running. Whether it be the work crews
who set up panels, the advisors who made sure shows run smoothly, or the
individuals who keep track of all the scores that came in; all these people put
in time to allow for the success of others. Without these individuals state
fair would not be possible.
In addition to this it was amazing to see the members and their families who support them. When you are in the showring it is easy to forget about the people who truly support and believe in you. Parents, friends, and advisors are all ringside supporting members as they show. This support comes in the form of show help, pit crews, and cheer teams. Watching all these roles play out made me appreciate the individuals who have done those same things in my life. By taking a step out of my normal fair role I was able to gain a new appreciation for the people who have both directly and indirectly supported me so that I could find success. As my team and I gear up to start our leadership tour, I have a new appreciation for the small actions that people do. Having a new perspective and outlook has opened my eyes for how grateful I can be for the small things in life.
Traveling across our state and
even across the country adds a new perspective to my life that I can
appreciate. The month of July started in Imbler, Oregon in Mr. and Mrs. Cant’s
home to teach us new and improved ways to facilitate a classroom. After we
travelled to my home, the Willamette Valley, to begin our hands-on Boots &
Gloves Tours. Finally, we crossed the country to Washington D.C. to gather with
300 FFA State Officers for the State Officer Summit.
From the Marion Ag Fertilizer
Plant to Siri & Son’s Organic Farm we saw the agriculture industry from
multiple different perspectives, but one thing was clear; technology is key to
a successful agricultural business. During our tour of Oak Park Farms with Mr. Mike
Coon he said something that I will never forget,
“People will say that we farm, because what else can we do? We’re ‘stupid’… Farmers utilize technology that is available to be effective for the consumer and the environment.”
Mr. Coon went on to explain all
the technology involved within the agriculture industry and how we need to tell
that story. I held on to this quote until the end of the month when we departed
for Washington D.C. While in D.C. we learned about causes that happened because
a single person was passionate about it and advocated for their cause. We
learned valuable ways to advocate for our principle and how to be proactive in
helping others understand it.
I personally chose to advocate for
agriculturalists and their movements, such as technology and farming. So, now
you get to decided.
This last month the state
officer team had the opportunity to attend the Southern Oregon District
Leadership Camp and have Checkpoint Training with the Idaho, Washington, and
Alaska State Officers where we experienced many forms of hilarious fun.
At Southern Oregon’s DLC
the team was able to see true humor during the canoe race. Teams lined up to
race across the lake in order to win the race, and most teams made it across
the lake successfully. However, the Henley FFA chapter’s team had different
plans than making it across the lake. As soon as the air horn sounded the
Henley boat flipped over not once or twice but five times. Even though it was a
competition the boys in that canoe made the event so much more enjoyable
because of a little humor out on the lake.
The next week at
Checkpoint with the other state officer teams we had a chance to display our
own kind of humor. During our training we thought it would be hilarious to pull
a few pranks on our neighboring state officer teams. During lunch one day, the
Alaska State officers and us blew up over 300 balloons and dumped them all over
the Idaho’s room. However, that wasn’t it until next day that we convinced the
Washington team to visit Dutch Bros to get coffee. While gone we covered their
entire room with over 1,300 styrofoam cups full with gallons of water.
Washington FFA came back from Dutch and once both of the teams were done
laughing we decided to transfer all of the cups into Alaska’s room. Throughout
the whole week we were paranoid one of the other teams would prank us as well,
but they didn’t…until the very last day of training. After returning from an
enjoyable lunch, we looked at the FFA pickups and noticed something different.
They were completely covered in saran wrap and inside there was a not-so-pleasant
surprise of confetti everywhere.
experiences I mentioned above and others that I didn’t have time to, the
2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Officer team has truly learned the value of making a
joke at the right moment. Though we should always approach the jobs we’re given
with sincerity, we shouldn’t take ourselves to seriously. We must learn to find
humor in the little things and always be quick to laugh.
With excitement for the
humor we’ll have on the journey ahead,
May was a month full of new experiences. At the beginning of the month, our team spent time on the beautiful Oregon coast for kickoff training, where we learned from our National FFA Facilitator how to amplify our strengths, make the most of our social interactions, and how to build an effective workshop. Then we took a drive over to Corvallis to watch members’ work pay off at CDE days. Another milestone occurred for all six of us; we graduated from high school!!
One particularly new and memorable experience I had was at the Lower Willamette District leadership camp; I FOUND A SNAIL.
Now, I know what you might be thinking; what’s the big deal with finding a snail? Well you see, in Eastern Oregon, snails aren’t very common, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered one outside of Josiah’s workshop space. I know it seems silly that this slimy shelled creature could bring so much excitement, but there are small moments, like finding “Gary” the snail, that occur in our lives every day. Do we always take the time to appreciate these small moments?
Oftentimes, we as people get focused on large milestones in our life. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing; we need goals to look ahead to where we want to go in life. But when we get so focused on something on the horizon, we sometimes forget to enjoy the rest of the view. Every day, there are small and unique “snail moments” where we are able to have new experiences, just by chance. These “snail moments” happen when we have a conversation with a new person, visit a new place, or simply experience something small that we never have before. I encourage everyone to be aware of their everyday “snail moments” and appreciate them.