What is your Legacy?

Oh my goodness it is already March! When did that happen? It feels like time has flown by. To think a year ago all six of us started a journey that has forever changed our lives. This past year has felt like a blink of an eye, but also a lifetime. The journey has gone way too fast, but we’ve gained what feels like a lifetime of memories. We have experienced so many amazing things. From leadership camps to school visits and from business and industry tours to international travel, we’ve grown and learned so much along the way. I speak for the entire team when I say we will forever remember those experiences. But I believe most of all we will hold onto the legacy that has been created this year. 

Throughout this year we have tried to create a legacy within Oregon FFA. We have challenged each of you to try new things, be yourselves, be kind to the people around you, take risks, seize opportunities, and find how you can impact others. These are the legacies that we’ve tried to leave. Most remarkable, however, are the legacies we’ve seen each of you create. From actions like backpack programs, reading to middle schoolers, and food drives all the way to conversations, brief encouragement, and little moments of leadership that often go unnoticed, you are creating the legacy of our organization. The service, dedication, passion, kindness, leadership, and inspiration that each of you have brought to this organization is truly remarkable. You have inspired us and shown us how powerful our legacy can be. 

As we prepare for the 92nd annual Oregon FFA State Convention, I know I am excited to get to recognize and build our combined legacy. Every member, advisor, and supporter has a role in creating this legacy. While the four days we spend at convention are where we get to highlight our legacy, in reality it’s built 24/7. So let’s remember and be excited to continue to build our legacy as we get ready for March 19th in Redmond for the 92nd Oregon FFA State Convention!  

With excitement and gratitude, 

Ellie Hanson

2019-2020 State Sentinel

Treasured Memories

Eleven months ago, Josiah, Riley, Deidre, Keegan, Ellie, and I were given the opportunity of a lifetime when we were elected as Oregon FFA State officers. Each of us had prepared in the weeks, months, and even years leading up to the convention for our year of service and we were filled with excitement for the months ahead. Our Google Calendar was already packed with events and activities, but we could only imagine the treasured memories that would be made during each and every one of them. We participated in our first leadership camp, hosted multiple career development events, and spent three weeks at the Oregon State Fair. Ten more leadership camps followed and our team visited over 120 high schools during Leadership Tour. I gained a new appreciation for our beautiful state after traveling from one corner of the state to the other, crossing through five counties in one day, and visiting towns with populations under 100 people. Each town was different, each community was unique, and each memory is treasured.

As reporter, I was the fifth member to join the team and I still remember those moments that five of us waited for the final officer to be elected that would complete our team. I heard the roar from the convention hall and as soon as she ran into the holding room our team embraced. The 2019-2020 year had begun. We started out as six FFA members who were committed to the same purpose. Our goal was to promote agriculture education and serve Oregon FFA members. We have remained dedicated to our task throughout this year and became best friends along the way.

Our lives were forever changed that Monday morning last March. We chose to serve and make a difference in the lives of others, but I did not fully understand how my life would be impacted by the people I have met this past year. FFA members welcomed me to their schools, their chapters, and to their homes. I am so grateful for each opportunity that someone shared their world with me. Maybe the conversation was in a living room during a card game, or huddled in a car to escape the cold, or gathered around a campfire on the Oregon Coast. We might have talked about life, about FFA, our families, our goals and dreams, or topics too random to explain in this blog. I can easily recall these conversations that I had with members because they all have become treasured memories

During the past eleven months I have travel across the state, across the country, and even across the world. Along the way I have collected gifts and trinkets (and lots of t-shirts) which are a tangible reminder of the people I have met and the places I have seen. Soon it will be time for me to say goodbye to this amazing year and I will be thankful for these reminders. But more importantly, I will be grateful for the treasured memories as they will last a lifetime.

With love and appreciation,

Olivia Palacios
2019-2020 State Reporter

It’s the Little Moments that Make Life Count

The team had the great opportunity to travel internationally to Spain and Portugal on the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) in the beginning of January. We started this journey by spending New Year’s Eve in New York City! My teammate Riley and I waited four hours to see the spectacular moment in Times Square when the ball dropped, and a new year began. Even though we waited four hours there were small moments that will never be forgotten.

 It was moments like Riley getting sandwiched between two strangers, laughing uncontrollably with our friends Abbie and Kendyl from the Washington FFA Association, and of course watching the New York City ball drop that truly made this experience a fond memory. It is small moments like these that make life meaningful, and this simple philosophy was proven true while on this trip.

On January 3rd the team left New York and arrived in Madrid, Spain with almost 70 other state officers chosen for this trip. For the next 10 days we traveled Spain and Portugal learning so much about agriculture and so much about ourselves. We toured cattle feedlots, greenhouse facilities, olive oil cooperatives, vineyards, cork factories and so much more. Even though each one of these were very factual and full of learning, it was small moments that made them unforgettable.

It was seeing the gorgeous countryside of Spain on top of the water tower at the feedlot. It was seeing Lola’s deep passion for agriculture at the greenhouses. It was little things like tour guides complimenting the FFA organization for being so respectful and learning about a different culture and lifestyle. Even simple moments like the bus rides between visits were appreciated. Looking back now at our experience each one of use are grateful for the little moments that made this trip worthwhile.

Sometimes in life it is much to easy to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed. We tend to worry too much on receiving a diploma or meeting a deadline. While these are very important aspects in life, it is the little moments that make life count. It is the memories made with those surrounding us that will be remembered for a lifetime. I challenge you to slow down and live in the moment while you still can, because the best times of your life are happening right in front of you.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Keegan Gibbs

Oregon FFA State Treasurer

Home. What makes somewhere a home? Where is home?

This year I have had the opportunity to visit 48 different FFA chapters, each one with it’s own unique quirks, traditions and culture. As different as each place is, there is one constant: each chapter creates a home for its members. In high school, I spent more time in my ag classroom than I did at my own house for one simple reason: it was my home. I was surrounded by people with mindsets focused on success, people who pushed me to be better, and people who shared the same passion and approached life with unconditional love. 

I have been lucky enough to see pieces of my ag classroom all around the state. This has come in many forms, from banners decorating a back wall to teachers with uncontainable zeal and passion for their jobs. In every classroom, I can find a piece of home, even if it’s a single FFA emblem. 

This year, home also has been in the truck with my tour partners, Ellie and Riley. I am grateful for the way we sometimes banter like siblings and every opportunity to have a deeper conversation about life or our futures. I am thankful for long car rides back to the west side with Keegan that remind me of the crazy, goofy country boys I was surrounded by in highschool. 

I’ve found a home in the Field’s horse arena in Canby. Spending time brushing, feeding and riding Breeze, reminding my of my pretty white mare, Sage at home. I am thankful to spend time in the saddle and be reminded of spending hours on long cattle drives in the canyons of Imnaha. 

I’ve found home with the incredible people who make up our silly, goofy and sometimes dysfunctional Oregon FFA family. Mr. Dooley who never misses an opportunity to put on his “dad hat” and give advice on something, even if it’s just parking between cones. Leila, our new Career Development Event coordinator who proudly displays a silly drawing on her wall that we left on her desk. Lee, who always has time to listen to what’s happening in our lives, is a mom when we miss home, and never leaves us without a couple hugs.

In a Ted talk I watched recently, Pico Lyer said “Home is not the place you happen to be born, it is the place you become yourself.” The place I found and have continued to develop myself is zipped in my blue jacket, and I hope the same can be said for you reading this. I am thankful for each of you who have opened your home up to us and have helped us to find ourselves.  Thank you all for giving me a home in Oregon FFA this year and creating that same home for all of our members. 

With Joy and Gratitude, 

Deidre Schreiber 

2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Secretary 

A sense of community:

Community is described as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” This can look different for everyone that is lucky enough to experience it. For me and my team it also looks a lot of different ways. It could be all of the families that take us in, house, and feed us on the road, traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana to take part in the National FFA convention with almost 70,000 members, or the fellow FFA families that helped a teammate and I through a tough time. 

In the last few months my teammates and I have visited countless schools, homes, and classrooms. No matter where we go, the people in these communities welcome us. They make us feel like we are a part of their communities even when we are hundreds of miles from our own. They entertain us, feed us, and house us without asking for anything back. This is a huge display of community within Oregon FFA that I know my team and I are very thankful for. Thank you to all of these families that welcomed us in. 

Our team had the opportunity to travel back to the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here we took part in the delegate process and represented Oregon FFA on a national level. During this process we were surrounded by hundreds of State Officers and fellow delegates that have the same passion for our organization that we have. This and being surrounded by almost 70,000 people from all over the nation coming together for the same reason could cause anyone to feel a sense of community.

Lastly, the time I felt the most sense of community was about a month ago. Olivia and I were following a member to a homestay where we were rear ended by a car going 70 miles an hour while we were at a complete stop. We both came out ok, but were transported to the hospital that night. While at the hospital we were visited by the members in that community, the family of the member we were staying with, and the local advisor that all stayed with us until we were released. They did not have to stay with us and they didn’t have to do everything they did to help us in the days to come; they chose to help us out of pure kindness. This is where I felt the biggest sense of community and was able to appreciate it. Thank you to the families that helped us through this. 

The sense of community within the FFA is one of the many things that drives me to want to serve our amazing organization. It has given so many members and their families a community to be a part of and that is a very special thing that is provided to all of us. I am proud to be a part of a community so kind, inviting, and helpful. 

With great appreciation, 

Riley Davis 

2019-2020 State Vice President