Deer season has arrived in Missouri! This time of year ranks among my favorites as the leaves turn to bright colors, and the hunter orange fills the woods of my hometown. With deer hunting season comes my hope of seeing the “30-pointer.” In fact, I have not shot a buck in seven years as I continue to hold out for that buck of a lifetime. Sitting in the deer stand for hours on end becomes tiring and very tempting to shoot one of the younger deer that passes through. In the end it is all worth it for me when the opportunity to harvest a mature whitetail arises. The quest for these elusive big bucks has taught me several valuable lessons. To be successful in the deer woods I must be patient, persistent and passionate. Patience is key to control the urge to leave the stand or shoot a smaller deer. I must be persistent by spending countless hours waiting for the perfect opportunity. Finally, passion is key because without a love for what you do it is easy to lose sight of the goal.
FFA members, I challenge you all to take these lessons from the deer woods and apply them to your goals within the FFA. Always be patient, persistent and passionate, and success will be right around the corner!
This time of year we all begin to ask ourselves some important questions. While you might wonder what classes you will take next year and how you can improve your math grade, other questions are also important.
Consider this one: “Who is my role model?” Think about who you consider to be your role model. Why do you see he or she that way? What traits do they possess, and can you possess traits like that? When I think about my role model, the traits that immediately come to mind are hardworking, trustworthy and future-minded. I admire these traits and will continue to work to develop them in myself.
Finding a role model and identifying traits you admire in someone is only the beginning. The real challenge is finding oneself. What are you good at? How can you improve your skills to positively impact your family, friends and community? While it is easy to focus on trying to be like others, each one of us is unique and can make a difference like no one else. We might possess some of the same traits as our role models, or we might have different strengths. I challenge you to ask yourself how you can make a bigger difference in the world around you.
Oh, and while you think about these questions, good luck in that math class!
I remember as plain as day the first time I heard that rhythmic auction chant. The way that the auctioneer blended a smooth song-like chant with the never-ending whirl of numbers was incredible to me. Standing in awe I thought to myself, “It’s do or die; I’ve got to learn that auction cry!”
I began developing my own auction chant three years ago when I was given a tape of world champion livestock auctioneers. As I listened intently to these professionals sing their auction chant, I began to feel more disheartened. How was I ever going to be able to talk that fast? It seemed to be an impossible dream, but I took a chance and pushed on. As I researched, I found that the best way to learn to chant was to go slow and try different methods to see what fit best. Because I thought I knew everything, it was hard for me to accept that I should change my chant. As time went on, I noticed that my chant was not only speeding up and sounding better, but that I was also using new and different words and expanding my abilities. I am now a licensed auctioneer and have been complemented time and time again for my chanting ability.
Looking back, I noticed a similarity between auctioneering and my FFA career. Both required me to branch out and expand myself before I could find success. During your time in FFA you will encounter opportunities to try new activities, meet new people and get out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to seize those experiences and enjoy the ride. At times it will be difficult and you will feel that bit of fear in the pit of your stomach, but that fear is only holding you back. Whether it be giving a speech for the first time or running for chapter office, you must release that fear and lunge head first into the unknown.
I took the chance and worked hard to change my chant. I took the chance to compete in creed speaking my freshmen year. I took the chance to run for a state office. You, too, can take a chance. Seize the opportunities!
When I was learning to drive, one of my favorite things to do was take my family’s farm truck out in the pasture to practice. One evening, as I was headed back to my house, I took a short cut through an area in the pasture where we fed our cows hay during the winter months. I began driving on top of what I assumed to be solid ground. Halfway through the shortcut, the truck started to sink into the ground. Not wanting to stop, I pushed my foot down on the gas pedal to go faster only to be stuck in the mud with my tires spinning. As I looked out the driver’s window, I noticed what I had presumed to be solid ground was in fact loose hay spread on the surface, covering the muddy ground below. My shortcut had caused a much larger problem. Every day, we encounter shortcuts that seem the easiest route for us to take. Though tempting, these shortcut actions inhibit us from being the best versions of ourselves and lead us to overlooking important details. I encourage each of us to full-heartily complete tasks, from committing to a contest team to giving a speech in class, with the best of our abilities we can gain the most from these experiences.
I remember being in the third grade, dreading each day of school knowing that no matter how much I willed that day, or that school year to go by faster, it never failed to drag on and on. Now as a freshman in college, I can’t believe how fast the first half of the semester has gone. Not only have I finished some of my classes already, I’ve also done what I had once thought impossible: taken a college midterm.
For some of us, the school year or even just the year in general, seems to get slower and slower while we anxiously await the next holiday, shopping trip or FFA event While this might seem true, we often forget that time itself is a force to be reckoned with. The interesting thing about time is that it is something that can only be taken and used, rather than given back. How we use the time we have been given is up to us just like the opportunities that are presented to us through our FFA careers.
One of my favorite stories is that of the Greek God Caerus, who was the personification of opportunity, luck and favorable moments. Caerus was known to be mischievous and quick, yet easily caught by the hair hanging over the front of his face. But once he had passed by, if you missed his front hair, you could never again grasp him, the back of his head being bald. The moment of action is gone with his hair and an opportunity not fully taken advantage of cannot be recovered.
What a great representation of how we must approach opportunities! Within our FFA careers we will be faced with many opportunities. These chances for success range from contests to making networking to even learning experiences. We must grasp the front hair of the opportunity per say or we will miss it as it passes us. Rarely are we ever given another chance to take that same opportunity. While we might be wishing this year to go by faster and faster and wishing for that sweet feeling of freedom, we must remember to not let opportunities pass us while we are wishing them away. We must grab the opportunity as it approaches and embrace it with full confidence of reaching success.
At seven years old, I spent my summers traveling the state with my market show hogs. My hogs were my best friends, and I had a specific routine with them every single day. This routine included washing, walking and feeding them twice every day. Morning and night, my dad would come to the barn with me to complete the routine and make sure it was completed correctly.
One morning, I pleaded with my dad to let me take care of the pigs by myself. He was hesitant to this idea, but in the end, allowed me to. I ran up to the barn that morning and did the chores. Later that day, after the chores were done, I was with my grandma. As I was helping her bake in the kitchen, I heard the phone ring and it was my dad. He asked me about that morning, and explained that I had forgotten one vital piece of the morning routine: I had failed to shut the gate! I was so embarrassed I had forgotten the most important part.
Sometimes, we are quick to shut our gate to opportunities and stand behind the fence scared or worried we won’t succeed. However, succeeding and failing are both a part of growing. To succeed, we must open our gate to the amazing opportunities FFA offers in making lasting memories with your friends in the FFA.
Missouri’s National FFA officer candidate is Jacqueline Janorschke. From the DeKalb FFA chapter, Jacqueline was the 2016-17 State FFA Secretary.
From communications to mechanics to livestock judging, 25 career and leadership development (CDE and LDE) events help FFA members complete as individuals and in teams to sharpen their leadership skills and agricultural knowledge.
Individuals and teams who received first place at the Missouri FFA Convention in April will represent the state at National FFA Convention. Here’s a list of this year’s CDE and LDE participants.
The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activities (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.