Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Alexis Wilkinson
missouri ffa association, national ffa association
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Alexis Wilkinson

Start With The End In Mind

Alexis Wilkinson - VP

Alexis Wilkinson – VP

I parked my car, stepped out and walked to the beginning of what would be one of my favorite adventures I have ever encountered. I was standing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains with the head of a two-mile trail in front of me. A trip to the mountains would not be complete without a pleasant hike through the scenery. I was excited to take on this new adventure to the top of a mountain with a beautiful waterfall. Of course, two miles doesn’t sound like a lot, until you start the trek upward going over wet, rocky terrain with steep inclines on the side that would make you quiver just looking down. I was absolutely exhausted and had no idea how much further laid between me and my destination.

 

As time went on, with each step I took, I started to regret my decision to take on such a long hike. However, I couldn’t turn back now. If I turned back, I would forever wonder what it was like to be at the top of that mountain at that waterfall.

 

After what felt like hours, I finally pushed myself to reach the top. I could look out and see for what seemed like miles and miles of mountains and trees. The waterfall flowed down the side of the mountain and crashed at the bottom. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was in that moment, I realized that the long hike was worth it…and that I needed to hit the gym before my next hike!

 

Sometimes in life, it might seem like you just keep hiking, not knowing when you’ll reach your destination, whatever that may be. You might want to just give up but giving up means turning around and walking right back down that mountain, losing all of the progress you have made. Life gets tough at times, but you have to just remind yourself why you started. Think about your end destination. One of my college professors always says, “Start with the end in mind.” On your journey, when times get tough, think about where you are going and how great it is going to be when you get there. As soon as you get there, all of the hard work you put in will pay off. Just keep pushing yourself, and hike that mountain!

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This is a No-‘Comfort-Zone’ Zone

Ocean air, salty hair? More like no air, sweaty hair. Ah, FFA Camp. The most wonderful event of the summer. A time of growing, leadership and meeting new people.

 

This summer, many FFA members will have the opportunity of attending Camp Rising Sun, where they will learn how to be Linked to Lead. It can be easy to regret coming to camp. You’re forced to stay in a wooden cabin with strangers and no air conditioning for nearly a week. You step off of a bus into what seems like the middle of nowhere, surrounded by strangers, and that doesn’t seem like a great time to most. Yet, this is where growth happens – out of your comfort zone.

 

Although I never had the opportunity of going to FFA Camp, I spent a weekend of my summer before senior year at Area Officer Institute (AOI) at Camp Rising Sun, where we attended workshops and presentations to learn how to be the best leaders we could be. I imagine my experience to be similar to those attending their first time at camp.

 

I was scared. It was miserably hot and I looked an absolute mess in front of all these people I had never met. By the end of the first day, I was ready to go home. It was too hot, and I didn’t want to play in the ag Olympics anymore. I thought to myself, “What if these people are judging me?”I was leaving butt prints of sweat everywhere I went, and I couldn’t kick a ball to save my life. I was over it.

 

Looking back on AOI, I don’t remember much besides these few details, but that’s because I let them take over. I was so wrapped up in my own misery that I didn’t allow myself to have as great of a time as I could have. I now wish I had valued my time at AOI and focused more on the talented speakers and presenters that stood before me. You can learn so much in FFA, but you have to be willing.

 

This summer, whether you are attending FFA camp or not, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Take a risk. Learn something new.

 

So many opportunities in FFA will lead you to great things. Don’t let your fears or doubts get the best of you. It is easy to pass up an opportunity because you are scared of what might happen. Instead of thinking of all the things that could go wrong, think of what could go right. The only hindrance to success is your own comfort zone.

 

In FFA, you can learn great things, meet wonderful people, and have loads of fun. So step out of your comfort zone, have a great summer, and make the most of your time as an FFA member!

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