“Aren’t you sad your year is over?”

I’ve been asked a lot lately “Aren’t you sad your year is over?” I answer the same way every time; No. This usually equates to a confused look. 

As I’ve had time to reflect on why my year of service to Oregon FFA has looked like over the last year, I can’t help but be grateful it ever happened. Part of the magic of being a state officer is knowing you only have those 12 months to create your legacy, a footprint that will last forever. This has been, without a doubt, the best year of my life. That’s something that will never go away. I’m not sad it’s over, because it’s never really over. This year I’ve discovered that serving as a state officer is a starting point, not a finish line. It’s the jumpstart to the rest of our lives. While our time of physically wearing the blue jacket may soon come to an end, I know Oregon has an outstanding bunch of leaders ready to fill the association jackets as state officers. When we were elected, we signed on for the long haul (in more ways than one this year). I will remain an FFA alumni, supporter and most importantly remain a positive figure, encouraging members after me to begin the same adventure I started five years ago.

My hope is that their years of membership and service might just change their lives the same way it’s changed mine. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to serve and to be part of a legacy that’s as strong as ever. My heart is full that the 6 of us had the opportunity to experience this year together. As I’ve had the chance to meet the candidates vying for a state officer position, I have never been more confident in the future of our organization and agriculture as a whole. 

So no, I’m not sad this year has come to an end. It’s been pretty great creating our legacy. 

For the last time, 

The 2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Officer Team 

Josiah, Riley, Deidre, Keegan, Olivia and Ellie 

(Post written by Deidre Schreiber) 

It’s been a crazy month!

Though the 2019-2020 state officer team didn’t think we’d still be around, we’re happy to be continually serving a state association that’s making the most of this time.

The difficult circumstance we find ourselves in isn’t what we would have chosen. We couldn’t meet at state convention, many of us won’t have graduation ceremonies, and for some of us fear and anxiety may seem crippling as we’re stuck at home. Despite this, tough times also have the potential to grow us and bring us together.

Though we’re all physically separated, in many ways Oregon FFA has never been more united. Our opening session at the first ever virtual state convention had far more viewers than it would’ve in person. We’ve heard stories of FFA members serving their communities in practical ways. Members, advisors, and supporters have organized Zoom calls to stay in touch and keep moving forward.

We’ve also realized that the coronavirus hasn’t stopped FFA members from achieving amazing personal growth. Members have used their extra free time to prepare for virtual Career Development Events, learn new skills, and deepen relationships.

Oregon FFA has done our best to adapt given the current stay at home order. State staff continues to work hard from home as we make several changes:

Almost all of our Career Development Events will be happening virtually. Farm Business Management and Coop Quiz awards were announced today. Public speakers are currently using Zoom calls to speak to a panel of judges. Other Career Development Events, which would usually take place at CDE Days in Corvallis, will be happening virtually as well. Talk to an advisor for more information if you or someone you know would like to participate.

Our social media pages are far more active than they usually would be. We’ve started highlighting Oregon FFA’s seniors in daily posts in a time that’s especially difficult for them. Additionally, the state officers are making fun weekly videos from their homes. Catch up with Olivia on Mondays, Keegan on Tuesdays, Riley on Wednesdays, Ellie on Thursdays, Deidre on Fridays, and me on Saturdays!

As we look into the future, plans to elect a new state officer team are still coming together. Though the Oregon FFA Constitution and Bylaws state that in the absence of a state convention, the current state officers serve another year, all six of us believe Oregon FFA deserves a fresh team of student leaders. State staff is working to arrange for a virtual Nominating Committee to meet. They will select six leaders and report their slate at a State Executive Committee meeting. At that time, the state officer team will resign to allow the Executive Committee; made up of the district presidents, the state officer, and the Board of Directors, to fill our vacant positions.

Thank you all for continuing to stay positive and push forward with us! We’re looking forward to the future. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who’s being affected by the current pandemic.

~Josiah Cruikshank

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