Show Day to Homestay

As the final few days of State Fair came to a wrap, the team was on the road attending leadership camps and chapter visits on the first month of Leadership Tour! September was a busy month for the team, and I’m happy to retell some of our experiences.

The bulk of our leadership camps and conferences were this month, and they were all unique and incredibly memorable.

Umpqua District camp showed us the value in stepping out of comfort zones when it came to students giving speeches, presenting introductions or delivering flag ceremonies. The camp was filled with fun, puzzle boxes, and an AWESOME dance.

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Strawberry Mountain & Snake River Camp was an absolute blast. Upon arriving and discovering that there was no cell service, we knew we were in for a treat. From watermelon eating contests to mini-bus push contests, there was never a dull moment at this camp.

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The Upper Willamette Camp was full of educational opportunities, hilarious skits, and all around awesome members. The camp is hosted next to an equine & farrier post-secondary education center, and we all had the chance to tour the facility during camp. It was a great chance to learn more about some of the opportunities after we shed the blue jacket for the last time.

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Capital District camp was a chance for us to ‘leave our legacy’ and ‘take the bull by the horns’ as we launched right into tons of fun workshops, bonding activities within chapters, and some of the best skits we’ve witnessed. Towards the end of camp, the district officer team also stepped up to the challenge and sat on the platform of a dunk tank as members of their officer group tried to knock them down by hitting a target.

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Lower Willamette District Leadership Camp was a jam-packed day full of excitement and energy. In the morning we heard from guest speaker Rhett Laubach about the importance of developing good habits and skills through FFA. We moved on to favoriting workshops on a rotation system and having great conversations at lunch with our officer groups about what’s going good in our chapter, and what we could use some help with. We wrapped up with another speech from Mr. Laubach, and we left the conference that day feeling inspired by the members within this district

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Blue Mountain’s camp was full of swing dancing, opportunities for leadership growth, and chances to spark a connection with fellow members. The team had the experience of being auctioned off to the highest bidder, and also being engaged in extremely competitive ping pong, foosball, and carpetball games. Overall, this was a great camp that we won’t soon forget.

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Along with camps, our team had the opportunity to visit 15 FFA chapters this month as part of Leadership Tour.

  • North Clackamas
  • Dayton
  • Perrydale
  • Sherman County
  • Culver
  • Sandy
  • Crook County
  • Dufur
  • Molalla
  • Cascade
  • Central
  • Dallas
  • Yamhill-Carlton
  • Sherwood
  • Hood River Valley

 

Chapter visits are a great way for us to connect with members on a more personal level, and to teach leadership and life skills through classroom workshops. Sundee and I personally visited 8 different chapters in September while on tour, and each program was unique and memorable in its own way. After visiting a few schools, we could honestly say that we missed school lunches too.

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As leadership tour continues, our team is excited for the future. We can’t wait to see what connections we will make, and we hope to see you soon on the road!

Sincerely,

Andrew Gmirkin

2018-2019 State President

 

Summer Time Show Time

 

“Fair Season”, a time of year described as the most stressful, hot and memorable part of the year. From the months of June to September, members find themselves out of school and in the barns with the projects that they have raised. They spend countless hours preparing to perform with them at their county and state fairs.

 

Spending time raising and training livestock or growing products to display at county fairs teaches young people the definition of hard work. They find pride in their work by showing and competing in the ring against other students. The Oregon FFA Association enjoys rewarding students with great herdsmanship, showmanship and quality animals at shows because it amplifies the dedication that the students have for the agricultural industry. This also allows students to put their knowledge, acquired from the classroom, to the test. County and state fair are the pinnacle for students to display their pride for their animals, their organization and the agriculture industry.  

 

The Oregon FFA State Officers were able to spend time at county fairs around Oregon and cheer on the students that they serve.  I, myself, was able to meet and help students at the Deschutes and Crook County fairs. Watching them prepare and show their animals was extremely enjoyable. There is something that I will never forget after competing at my county fair for over 11 years: there is no such thing as losing at a county fair. You either win or you learn from the experience. Being able to even go out into the ring with an animal is a success in itself. Being a good role model, sportsman and herdsman is just the beginning of the definition of being a good showman inside and out of the ring. Seeing students exemplify this definition and share it with younger members brings pride to their counties and this organization.

 

The Oregon State Fair begins in the middle of August and ends in the beginning of September. The State Officer Team attended the fair for over 16 days. We completed tasks such as setting up registration booths, making pens for animals and clerking livestock shows. We were able to watch and cheer on students in the show ring and track their scores. From small animal to livestock judging, students at the top of their counties were able to compete for the title of state champion in their divisions. After all the shows and the FFA animals moved out, we helped with the open shows and talked to the public. The desk in the metal art tent was our main station for the last few days. We would direct the public to the restroom, educate people on the Oregon FFA Association and show people the awesome metal and state exhibits that students brought in for competition. We chatted with some wise FFA alumni and learned a lot of new card games to pass the time. Meeting the members showing at the fair was by far my teammates and I’s favorite part of the Oregon State Fair. Their passion for the agriculture industry and the livestock that they have raised is unmatched.

 

At the end of the day, fair season is just like any other season. The burning heat and tired children… just like winter break, right? Waiting all year to show animals and exhibit at fair is always worth it in the end. The showman that show up in and out of the ring bring pride to the Oregon FFA Association.

With excitement,

Holly Silvey

2018-2019 Oregon FFA State Sentinel

 

“Holding True to the Best Tradition”

Paul Harvey strung the heart strings of many as he poetically explained life as a farmer as written below.

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.

So God made a farmer, a rancher, an ag teacher, a veterinarian, and many more. What strings these agriculturalists together, their common trend or tradition is something passed down from generation to generation, it is something taught in the home and out on the job especially, it is something that is much admired and not easily obtained, it is an agriculturalists work ethic.

 

Work ethic is something that provides performance, progression, satisfaction, and a healthy balance in life. It is waking up early in the morning with a plan, getting to business, and working until you are tired enough for a good night’s rest, which as an agriculturalist, may not be available to you every night! Though the work is tough and often requires a diligent personality, I believe that a good work ethic is extremely rewarding, that it even provides happiness.

 

I notice that the happiest people are also the busiest people, those who accomplish something or many things each day. Being an agriculturalist calls for a big to do list and many things to get done during the day and even when the sun is nowhere to be seen in the sky, during the night. It is not that I see agriculturalists who are happy all day and life is just perfect as a peach, in fact I often find my own father down about the weather, and worried about the time it takes to repair equipment, maybe the cattle had gotten out, or the crop prices are down. But, I have never seen someone happier than when a successful c-section is performed on a cow, or when harvest is completed, or when they are able to view their own products on the shelves at grocery stores.

 

The funny part about all of this is that as normal people, we all seek rest and relaxation, but what I have realized is that there is no such thing as rest and relaxation if there is no labor. We do not appreciate the easy things if there are no difficulties. Life is all about balance.

 

Tradition is something that is handed off to others, as young FFA members it is our responsibility to make sure that we welcome the agriculturalists work ethic into our own lives. It can make us productive, successful, satisfied, balanced, and happy. Let us carry on this work ethic as a gift to ourselves, who wouldn’t want to be happy?

 

Sincerely,

Sundee S., Oregon FFA State Reporter

Pride for What We Do…

Everyone joins and loves FFA for different reasons. Some join because of their passion for agriculture, some because of their passion for leadership, others for travel opportunities, and some for chances to breakthrough insecurities and push themselves. Each reason for joining is beautiful and what makes Oregon FFA’s membership so diverse and empowering. As members discover different elements of FFA, each develops pride for the organization. No matter what the reason one joins FFA, almost any graduating member can tell you that the passion and pride they developed in themselves and FFA will be something they carry forever.

Over the past month, us state officers had the opportunity to be part of and witness the power that comes from members’ passions. From each interaction, we left more empowered and humbled to work with such amazing members. So with this blog post, we figured we would take a moment to highlight some of our experiences and the pride members displayed.  

1Throughout the past month, we have seen many members show immense pride. Sundee described Roby Young’s sense of pride for service and hard work describing, “Roby Young, senior at Adrian High School will be showing her steer proudly at the Malheur County Fair in August. The theme for the fair is “pride nationwide.” Roby works as a lifeguard, she rodeos, raises dogs, and will be showing her second beef project at this year’s county fair. She can always take pride in the fact that she is always learning and always improving her skills whether she’s on a horse, saving lives, or working with her steer.” Roby wasn’t the only member who showed pride. Dylan was inspired by Kekoa from the Henley FFA Chapter. He said, I first met Kekoa at Southern Oregon’s District Leadership Camp and I was lucky enough to have her in my Vice President’s group. Kekoa and I built a friendship over the course of camp, and by the end she felt inclined to share with me her pride in our organization. She first explained how her entire chapter officer team was brand new to office this year. “It’s like a renewal for Henley FFA,” Kekoa expressed. While nervous for the future and responsibility of improving the chapter, she was up to the challenge. “I’m ready for what’s to come and know that my team and I will tackle any challenge full on,” she said. I felt absolute confidence in her abilities, and know that with pride that strong, Henley FFA is in good hands with members like Kekoa serving as chapter officers. I look forward to seeing how Henley prospers over the next year!” No matter where they are from, each member we have interacted with has rekindled our pride for serving FFA.

At Southern Oregon’s Leadership Camp, we were able to meet and interact with the National FFA President, Breanna Holbert. Members from Southern Oregon described their experiences with Bre, discussing how kind and genuine she was. Halie Bowman from Phoenix FFA said, “Getting to meet the National President Bre is something I will never forget, even though I didn’t get to talk with her that much the time that I did was awesome, She was so nice and sweet and her personality is amazing, she’s also a pretty awesome rapper, getting to listen to some of her stories was pretty great also. Overall my last district leadership was one for the books with the state officer team and Bre.” Molly Lync from  Rogue River said, “Bre and I talked a lot about how we both want to go into Ag Education and impact urban areas that do not have FFA programs yet, so that way we can reach as many people as possible and give those students opportunities that they were yet to be offered.” Bradyn Tillman from Henley said “Bre encouraged us to work as a team and commit to our chapters. She taught us that differences in each group were something to value and that makes our chapters stronger as a team and as individuals. My chapter is already more strong from the activities we learned at camp thanks to the state officers and our national president.” Obviously from members experiences with Bre, she shows pride in interacting with members and we are so grateful for her example and leadership.  

2The thing about pride is that it is self-created. No one is forcing members to wake up early and care for an animal, study for a CDE, or dedicate themselves in school, but somehow through this organization they choose to show pride without needing recognition. It is amazing as state officers to see how dedicated and passionate Oregon FFA’s members are. The pride members show inspires us to show pride for meaningful interactions and pride for agriculture. We are excited to continue our journey forward with you all as we individually add pride to the Oregon FFA Association.   

Dive Right In

If you would have told me a year ago that the final months of my Senior Year were going to be spent writing workshops, attending leadership camps, and traveling all across the state of Oregon, I would have thought you were crazy. Fast forward after elections and here I am with more than a couple absences on my attendance and a respectable amount of tools under my belt. These last 30 days have been filled with excitement, hard work, stress, and most of all, leadership. Leadership in the eyes of my teammates and leadership in the eyes of members.

District Officer Training & State Executive Meeting – As State Officers, we experienced our very first interaction with Oregon FFA members. From making low-quality videos with high-quality actors to hearing their opinions on the issues our organization faces, ODOT proved to be a huge success. At the April State Executive meeting, we learned our first lesson: Always stand up for what you believe in. Since being elected we have become the face of Oregon FFA, but this does not mean we can’t have opinions. When something happens that you feel passionate about, let that passion show and encourage others to formulate an opinion, even if it differs from your own.

Central Oregon District Leadership Camp – Before we get in to the actual camp experience, let’s break down the days leading up to camp. Late nights, early mornings, and an unusually large amount of time went in to preparing for our first camp. Doing everything in our power to make sure camp went without a hitch meant scavenging multiple stores across Bend for supplies, getting an average amount of four hours of sleep, and spending time in an elementary school printing off anything and everything we could think of for camp. Skip ahead to camp and we felt ready! That is, until we forgot a box of workshop supplies in La Pine (oops). Our very first leadership camp as State Officers taught us the importance of our words. We were given specific time with our groups to teach these new officers skills that will last far longer than just one year of service. What we say can either take a person to new heights or drag a person lower than ever before, so be wise in the pursuit of speaking.

Ag Fest – Being from Hermiston, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend Oregon State Fair before. While Ag Fest is a completely different event, I did get to spend some time getting familiar with the fairgrounds. Ag Fest allowed our team to truly advocate for agriculture to a general public that has little to no experience in the vast field (pun intended). Ag Fest provides FREE pony rides, a chance to take home numerous agriculture projects to cultivate back in your neck of the woods, and even hosts the largest alpaca show west of the Mississippi (yes, you read that right). Ag Fest taught our team the importance of knowledge. If someone were to come up to you and say negative things about agriculture, it’s important to know the facts and how to communicate them. Although it isn’t always ideal, often times we as FFA members are the ones that are responsible to change the public’s negative perceptions on the industry we know and love – so use your power well.

Base Camp Training – A week at the beach is my dream vacation. Feet in the sand, the salt-water air all around me, the infinite horizon looming for what seems like forever. This week at the beach, however, was spent learning communication skills, effective leadership learning styles, and creating workshops that will leave a lasting impression on members. Thanks to our facilitator Nessie, we had a blast while learning. At Base Camp, our team developed many ideas and decisions that will best fit our position and the association we have been entrusted to serve. A lesson we learned at Base Camp is this: Always give it your all. If you can put your whole heart into something, it can never turn out wrong. Make decisions for the better of everyone and your choices will always turn out right in the end.

CDE Days – Career Development Events are an amazing way for members to showcase their skills by participating in what they love. Whether that passion be in poultry, communications, or mechanics, there is a place for everyone. While members spent time practicing their events, we got to practice three words that we’ll never forget: catcher, thrower, holder. Preparing for the awards ceremony might have been tedious, but proved instrumental in the success of our performance. Those hours taught us not to give up. We may have been tired, sick of reading the same script over and over, but that endurance and persistence was key to an outcome we could be proud of. Never give in, there is always a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

This last month has been a whirlwind of emotions, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Oregon FFA, thank you for this opportunity that continues to grow into a year-long journey that will never be forgotten. I cannot hold back my excitement in seeing what’s in store for the time to come.

 

Forever Blue,

Dylan J. Westfall

Oregon FFA State Vice President