Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Paxton Dahmer – President
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Paxton Dahmer – President

Where Does Your Story Begin?

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“Home is the place where your story begins.” Each time I enter my house, the sign in the foyer catches my eye. This simple quote serves as a constant reminder that we have the chance to write our own story, but first, we have to figure out where home is.

Fortunately for Missouri FFA members, our organization serves as our home. When we zip our jackets, we become part of a network of passionate, accepting and loving individuals that support each other through thick and thin. In my mind, and the minds of more than 25,000 other Missouri FFA members, our organization is our home. However, when we think about FFA being our home, what kind of story are we writing? Are we writing one where everyone can feel as if they are home.

 

This reminds me of our area barnwarming my senior year. One particular student appeared out of his comfort zone. He was watching the dance from the sidelines, avoiding interaction. At that point, my friends and I made the decision to pull him onto the dance floor. He immediately transformed from someone who hadn’t found his place to the star of the show! A seemingly simple act allowed him to not only find his home that night, but it also showed him that he had a home in our organization.

 

FFA members, this organization provides you with opportunity for exponential growth, However, you have to be willing to find your home and write your own story. Throughout the past year, it has been a true honor to watch you begin finding your home and writing your stories. I look forward to the opportunity to continue watching you blossom into passionate advocates for our organization and industry. Thank you for a great year!

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What’s Your Plan of Action?

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

We see it every year. As a new year begins — the gyms are full, people begin eating healthier and we all set goals for ourselves to live a healthier lifestyle. While we all have differing methods of self-improvement, one commonality exists among us: we are setting goals.

 

As FFA members, we have the opportunity to do the same thing. We are presented with countless opportunities to develop skills that push us to be successful not only in FFA, but also in the workforce. When we take advantage of these opportunities, we build a skillset that sets us apart from others.

 

As we pursue these opportunities, we are faced with challenges. Our applications won’t always get accepted, we might not win with our career development and leadership development events, and we might not feel fit for the challenge. However, if we set goals, we can overcome these obstacles and rise to the top.

 

Our goals should outline what we want to accomplish so that we can establish a plan of action. You see, our goals are only useful if we actually put them into action. Throughout my own FFA career, I had the chance to set a few goals that pushed me to be a better version of myself. For example, I set a goal with my livestock judging team to win the livestock evaluation career development event at state convention. It was because of that goal that I learned the value of hard work and had the chance to experience what teamwork is about.

 

If you take the time to set goals and strive for greatness, you can and will be the best version of yourself. It won’t be easy. You will have times when you feel like quitting, but by pushing yourself to keep working, you can accomplish your goals and reach your full potential.

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Create Our Own Happiness

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“It is important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy” -Paula Cole

 

Go to class, take notes, do your homework and repeat. As the spring semester begins, it can be easy to find ourselves in this cycle. Although academic success is a rigorous process, we tend to forget to find the glory in each day leading us to lack satisfaction. Think about it. When was the last time you paused, took a breath, and simply enjoyed the moment in which you were living?

 

As 2019 started, I made the resolution to begin searching for the moments that make me happy each day and to embrace these moments. Luckily for me, the new year also brought Greenhand Motivational Conferences. There is something truly remarkable about first-year students forming relationships with other students from their respective areas. As we learned about opportunities within FFA, these members were laughing, dancing and having a blast! These members could have just spent the day keeping to themselves and not stepping outside of the box, but instead they were focusing on the details and creating a positive environment for themselves. They were embracing the moment and crafting their own happiness.

 

These Greenhand members taught me an important lesson. They showed me that in order to make the most out of each day, I need to be able to live in the moment and appreciate what each moment has to offer.

 

FFA members, throughout our FFA careers we have the chance to participate in activities that will mold us into successful adults. These events are wonderful, but sometimes we fail to embrace the moment and make the most of it. As we start the next semester, join me in embracing the beauty in everyday life and creating our own happiness.

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Smile! And, feed the world.

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” -John McAfee

 

It is quite common that we turn on our televisions or open our Twitter feed and learn of an act of hate that has occurred somewhere around the world. A variety of causes can be blamed for these events, but I believe one of the most common is a lack of kindness.

 

Take a moment to think about the last time that someone smiled at you while walking down the street—an act so small that we often take for granted can make an enormous impact. Now consider the domino effect in relation to a simple act of kindness. Imagine how wonderful our world could be if everyone smiled at just one person every day.

 

You see, the impact of that one smile goes far beyond that single moment. As that person goes about the remainder of his or her day, spirits will be lifted. That single smile could change the entire course of a day. That smile could inspire the same in return, creating a chain reaction that can and will change our world.

 

As we listened to the speakers at the National FFA Convention and Expo, we were inspired to make a change. This is wonderful, but far too often we lose that inspiration when we return home. FFA members, the time is now. We can make an impact and change our world, but we have to start now.

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Developing A Personal Brand

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

When I hear someone’s name, I immediately begin associating it with the things that make them who they are. For example, when I hear someone say, Harriet Tubman, I think of her dealings with the Underground Railroad. She stood up for what she believed in and risked her life in the process. Tubman had a foundational belief that freedom is a universal right, and although she was responsible for helping escort over 300 slaves to freedom, she never sought personal glory. In response to Tubman’s selfless acts, she has been branded as a leader that prioritized the freedom of others. She was willing to sacrifice her own freedom to help others. She was selfless. She was invested. She was the leader that the world needed.

Just like Tubman, we can develop our own personal brands. If we invest ourselves in the causes we feel are worthy, we will improve ourselves. For me, FFA was always the cause that I chose. FFA is invested in improving members each and every day. As an aspiring educator, I fell in love with that concept.

A variety of activities will not only improve us, but also allow us to develop our brands. Attending leadership academies, participating in CDE’s and LDE’s, and engaging in community service are great ways to improve your personal brand. When community members see that you are involved in these activities, it will reflect well on you, thus improving your image and brand.

I believe that when we have positive personal brands, it reflects well on our entire organization. It is no secret that our industry is under scrutiny, so as we progress throughout the remainder of our FFA careers, let’s put our best foot forward and work to improve our brands!

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Summer Reflection

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

The combined smell of livestock and corndogs, the sound of cattle and carnival games, and the view of the coliseum, swine barn and ferris wheel can only mean one thing — the Missouri State Fair! With the excitement of the fair, we tend to overlook that it is the end of summer break and it marks the beginning of the school year.

 

The start of school often leaves little time for reflection on the summer. When we take time to reflect on the events of the summer, we remember the time spent at Camp Rising Sun with friends learning leadership skills, the trips to livestock shows with our family, the countless hours spent in the field and so much more. Although these events are all wonderful, I love to reflect on our Food Insecurity Day at the state fair.

 

It was so wonderful seeing more than 600 FFA members from across the state come together for one reason — service. FFA members were energized and ready to continue serving after they returned to their home chapters. As members of a service-based organization, this is a necessity. The fourth and final line of our motto can help to serve as a guiding factor for our FFA careers.

 

A number of several prevalent needs in our home communities. Some communities need assistance in combatting food insecurity, some need volunteers at the community center and some need help at homeless shelters. Regardless of what the need is, we should be willing to help serve at all times.

 

As we start school and get back into the groove of FFA, I challenge you to take your service to the next level. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new and work to make your impact everyday so that you can truly live to serve!

 

 

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Breaking Barriers

Paxton Dahmer, President 2018-19

Paxton Dammer, President

Throughout our high school careers, we often hear our advisors tell us, “You get out what you put in!” This is the case for me, at least. Our advisors are often our main source of inspiration and motivation, and although we tend to dismiss their advice and move along, they are pushing us in the right direction.

 

Missouri FFA offers us endless opportunities to develop leadership and personal skills. As I entered my freshman year, I hadn’t quite reached my full potential. With a push from my advisors, I broke through my shell and discovered the “soft skills” that FFA promotes such as public speaking, teamwork, networking and creative thinking. Breaking our personal barriers isn’t always easy, but it is an essential step in our journey.

 

For me, this happened at HYMAX (Helping Youth Maximize Agricultural Experiences) Academy. Spending a weekend with other members that were my age from each area of the state reassured me that FFA was the organization for me. I still remember learning about methods of “AGvocating” for our industry over the course of the academy. HYMAX taught me countless life skills that I have applied to the rest of my FFA career, and I have no doubt that it introduced me to some of the most passionate people I know.

 

As we finish the school year, I look forward to spending the summer traveling the state and meeting members as we break through our personal barriers and discover success! If we take the advice of our advisors, we have the skills it takes to be successful!

 

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