Using Every Moment

When the Oregon FFA State Officer team began the month of September, we couldn’t believe that our year was already halfway done. It’s wild that the year so far has been filled with so many amazing experiences, yet it feels like just yesterday we were just starting.

We started off the month at the Oregon State Fair, where we cleaned up and began leadership tour preparation. After preparing our workshop and personal supplies for the road, we paired up, drew straws for which truck we’d each get, and hit the road. We went to the Umpqua and Mount Hood District Leadership Camps, then began leadership tour in the Central Oregon District. Following that, we went to Strawberry Mountain, Upper Willamette, Northwest, and Capital District Leadership Camps. During this time, we also had the opportunity to attend the signing of House Bill 2444 which recently allocated state funds to our association. We rounded out the month with more leadership tour visits and the Blue Mountain District Leadership Camp.

Through our journeys in September, I’ve found one theme emphasized over and over in the experiences we had: Use every second. It’s important as leaders and FFA members that we make the most of every situation we are thrusted into – even the uncomfortable, awkward, or boring ones.

At the beginning of the year, I was told something I will not soon forget: “Make the most of every second in office because it flies by!” At first, I thought this was bizarre and over the top. After all, there are a lot of seconds in a year! As we get closer and closer to our retirement at the 2020 Oregon FFA State Convention, however, the state officers have begun to realize the importance of seizing every opportunity and using every moment we have.

The same principle of making the most of our lives applies to us as individuals, too. Right now, it’s probably easy to think that we can wait until tomorrow to utilize every second we are given here on this earth, but let’s live lives that we can look back on with no regrets and a heart full of joy!

With excitement for every second of the journey ahead,

Josiah Cruikshank

2019-2020 Oregon FFA State President

Behind the Scenes…

              Take a 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. 

              Entering 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.

Ellie Hanson’s flock of Southdowns in Supreme during the 2019 Oregon State Fair

With gratitude,

Ellie Hanson

What is your Passion?

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.

What is your passion?

How will you advocate for it?

~Olivia Palacios, State Reporter

What does humor mean to you?

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.

Through these 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,

Your 2019-2020 State Treasurer Keegan Gibbs

New Experiences

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.

Thankful for the small moments spent,

Deidre L. Schreiber

State Secretary