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Winter Becomes Spring

Shelby Davies

Shelby Davies – VP

I can still remember the excitement and anticipation that followed a significant snowfall during my years growing up in rural Missouri. As a child, my siblings and I would spend our snow days playing outside having snowball fights, building a family of snowmen, making forts and sledding. We stayed outside until our fingers were numb. Back then, the snow was an opportunity. As I grew up, snow became less of an opportunity and more of a nuisance. The cold and ice meant that chores were harder, I couldn’t see any of my friends as driving could be dangerous, plans that you had been making for months could be cancelled and going outside meant bundling up only to be cold after a few minutes in the elements.

 

Recently, my dislike of winter reached a new level. This winter has been the worst one I can remember.  I can’t count the number of plans that I’ve had to cancel this winter, the times I’ve slipped due to ice and I’ve been cold walking between destinations. The other day while complaining about how terrible winter is and how I was beginning to feel like winter would never end, I saw a quote that said, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” This struck me because it doesn’t apply only to weather.

 

In FFA there are things that we don’t always enjoy doing but can take us to bigger and better places. Filling out record books, proficiencies, or applications, or studying for Career Development or Leadership Development Events can be tedious and exhausting. However, they are important. Those record books can lead to recognition on all of the hard work that you have put into your SAE and allow you to get different degrees in FFA. Studying for your CDE can bring you new friends and the chance to exercise your competitive spirit. LDEs teach you to lead from where you are and give you experience that will prove invaluable throughout your life. Proficiencies allow you to share the hard work you have put into your SAE with others. Applications allow you the chance to travel with other budding agriculturalists to new and exciting places, where you will make memories and friends to last you a lifetime. If we only focus on the annoying things about winter, we will miss spring and its opportunities. Instead, let’s spend the rest of this winter working hard to prepare for spring and its bounty.

 

Join me in being adaptive to new ideas and projects, from a new career development event or even a little line dancing. When something enjoyable comes your way, why not try it? Anything is made possible with a little action and a positive attitude, even learning how to eat every meal with chopsticks. People are willing to help see you through, so take that journey.

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Chopsticks

Andi Montgomery

Andi Montgomery – VP

Back in October, I embarked on a journey that will always have a place in my heart. I met the sweetest people, tried the most interesting food and gained some incredible experiences. This trip was an exchange program provided by Missouri State University to Taiwan’s NCHU. During my eight-day journey I hiked mountains, made my own tea, met local farmers and explored many of the vast agricultural industries on the small island. On the last day, we went to a world flower exposition. As we were looking around, I stumbled across a tent where the sign read, DIY Grass Animals. Instantly, we were sucked in by smiling faces and warm gestures, greeting us in a language we did not understand. Our task looked simple; all we had to do was weave this dried grass into a deer (which stands for good luck). Right? What happenned was a table of laughter as we watched our group leader show us the next step, and as we repeated what we thoughthe did (not always what he had done). The laughter showed the connection we had with simple actions, not words. Together we were happy because we were learning and trying.

 

Join me in being adaptive to new ideas and projects, from a new career development event or even a little line dancing. When something enjoyable comes your way, why not try it? Anything is made possible with a little action and a positive attitude, even learning how to eat every meal with chopsticks. People are willing to help see you through, so take that journey.

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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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Facing Obstacles

Adriene Aubuchon

Adriene Aubuchon – VP

It was Jan. 12, 2019, and a giant snowstorm had covered almost the entire state of Missouri, shutting down most roads. We had just wrapped up 2019 Greenhand Motivational Conferences, and our state officer team was coming back from St. Joseph, Missouri when we became snowed in, bound for a hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri. We had been living out of suitcases for a whole week, sleeping in a different hotel every night, and meeting some amazing members in the northern part of the state. We were all so anxious to get home to our families and catch up on some sleep, but that wouldn’t be the case as we sought shelter in our state’s capital city for two days.

 

You see, that’s the funny thing about snowstorms or obstacles in your life — they come exactly when you need them without you knowing it. Just like this snowstorm had shut down our plans for going home, there will be times when obstacles will hinder what you are trying to accomplish. Instead of being upset, take a step back and try to find the positives of the situation. You see, in those two days my fellow officers and I didn’t let the snowstorm stop us from having fun. We were in awe of the beauty and the stillness the snow had brought us after a week of living out of our suitcases. The snowstorm brought us closer and allowed us to make some great memories.

 

FFA members, in those challenging times when it seems like you will never overcome the challenges, take a step back, take a new approach, have some positives thoughts, wait for the snow to melt, and then face that challenge head-on and overcome it.

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Snowed In

Quentin Carlyle

Quentin Carlyle – VP

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2019 marked the start of the state FFA officer’s tour around the state to put on Greenhand Motivational Conferences.  After a week of many new hotel rooms, fun workshops, wacky skits and amazing new FFA members, Friday brought the last conference for my team.

 

Even after such an awesome week, my teammates and I were all ready to be back home and sleep in our own beds.  As we traveled from St. Joseph to Jefferson City, we realized that this dream would be put on hold for another couple of nights due to 15 inches of snow forecasted to fall over the weekend.

 

As we unloaded our bags into the two hotel rooms we would be stuck in for the rest of the weekend, we had a decision to make.  The two days that followed were not going to be spent the way that we had planned them to be.  We could pout over the outcome and spend the weekend miserable, or we could make the most of the situation and do our best to enjoy ourselves.

 

We chose the second option and spent the two nights playing games, having fun and enjoying each other’s company. Our relationships were strengthened over the weekend.

 

In the same way that my team had a choice, we all have the same choice each day. Frequently in life, our master plan is not followed. It is up to us to not be disheartened and give up, but instead to make the most of unexpected situations, adapt and press on.

 

2019 has a lot to offer. This is a chance to start a new year, step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience new things, change the world around you for the better and so much more. This organization that we all hold near to our hearts is the perfect place to do it. Whether you want to try a new Career Development Event, go to the Missouri FFA State Convention or even interview for a chapter office – this is the time!

 

Go ahead. Make new friends out of your circle, travel somewhere new, try the vegetable you’ve always disliked, fiercely fight for something you believe in, have faith in God’s plan, but above all, don’t be afraid to fall. Remember, if you’re making a mistake at least you’re doing something. Here’s to 2019!

With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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Do Something

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman

                                       

Whew. That was fast. 2018 went by in the wink of an eye.

 

The ball has dropped, the air is crisp and the promise of a new-year resolution is upon us. It is exciting to think about what the new-year holds – but how can we make sure that it lives up to our expectations of excellence?

 

Mistakes. Oh, so many mistakes. As Gaiman said, when you make mistakes that means you are doing something! Now, I’m not writing to tell you that you should make mistakes; I’m here to say that it is okay to make mistakes.

 

2019 has a lot to offer. This is a chance to start a new year, step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience new things, change the world around you for the better and so much more. This organization that we all hold near to our hearts is the perfect place to do it. Whether you want to try a new Career Development Event, go to the Missouri FFA State Convention or even interview for a chapter office – this is the time!

 

Go ahead. Make new friends out of your circle, travel somewhere new, try the vegetable you’ve always disliked, fiercely fight for something you believe in, have faith in God’s plan, but above all, don’t be afraid to fall. Remember, if you’re making a mistake at least you’re doing something. Here’s to 2019!

With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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Spreading the News Over Coffee

Madison Bader - VP

Madison Bader – VP

For me, Saturday mornings mean early shifts at my local coffee shop. I would get there before the sun rose, turn on all the lights, and start the day’s first pot of coffee. No sooner than I would unlock the door, my first customer would be there. That customer is a man by the name of Dave.

 

Dave would come in, leaf through the morning paper that I had laid at his favorite chair, and then make his way back into the kitchen where a small cup of coffee would be sitting there waiting for him. As he laid his money on the counter, we would talk. No topic was too big or too small to discuss in those early morning moments. One of my favorite topics to discuss with him was FFA. I would talk to Dave about where I had been travelling and what I had been doing with FFA, and he would ask different questions and listen.

 

You see, Dave had never known anything about the FFA before he met me, just a girl working at the coffee shop that he went to every morning. However, since Dave cared about me, he was willing to listen and hear about what the FFA does and the impact it can have on the lives of others.

 

With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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Tradition is the Glue

Dillon Reinitz

Dillon Reinitz – VP

There is nothing better than sitting around the Christmas tree with family and a steamy cup of hot chocolate. For me, some of the most memorable moments in my family have happened sitting around the tree. It was tradition for my brother and I to wake up as early as possible, run into my parents’ room and wake them up so that we could see what Santa had brought. Then with our Christmas pajamas on and new toys in hand, we would travel to my grandma’s house for a great Christmas morning breakfast. Tradition is the glue that holds my family together during the holiday season.

 

Glue: An adhesive substance used for sticking objects or materials together (Webster, 2018). It’s hard to imagine that a tradition can serve as glue, but when it comes to doing something as a family; traditions serve as the adhesive that sticks us together. Just as our families have traditions so does FFA, whether it be reciting the creed as freshman, wearing an FFA stole at graduation as seniors, or wearing official dress traditions hold us together as an organization.

 

I encourage you to continue to respect traditions this holiday season. Keep applying that adhesive that hold us and our loved ones together. As you know it’s the traditions that bring us together this holiday season. It’s tradition that keeps our amazing organization moving in a positive direction, and it is traditions that will shape you into the person you want to be. So, grab a cup of hot chocolate sit around the Christmas tree and have a happy holiday season while you participate in your favorite holiday traditions!

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Buy Presents or Be Present?

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“Maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – Dr. Seuss, The Grinch

Oh, Christmas time. By far my favorite time of the year. When December rolls around it means the ending of school, the beginning of a beautifully long break and time with the people I love most.

Buying presentsis always on my to-do list during Christmas. I want to buy something special for the people who love me unconditionally no matter the season. Presents are wonderful and can show people that you care, but instead of buying presents, being present will take you much farther. Being present could mean anything from not having my phone at the dinner table to staying up late with my little brothers making ginger bread houses. How will you be present?

Making treatsis a tradition in our household during the holidays. For as far back as I can remember I have loved sitting at the kitchen counter with my family decorating sugar cookies, putting chocolate on the Christmas candy and making peppermint hot chocolate to indulge in while watching my favorite movie, Elf. However, it is not the making treats that I remember most. It’s the making memories. Christmas time is so special to me because I associate it with vivid memories and moments in time. This year, how will you make memories?

Seeing the lights– there is nothing I love more. Every year when we go to my Grandma’s house we go to Carthage, Missouri, to see the huge display of Christmas lights. Even when we are home, my family will hop in the car and drive around Paris looking at all the decorated houses. This year, instead of just seeing the lights, let’s try and be the light. Be the light in someone’s life by giving them a warm hug or basket of cookies. Be the light in someone’s life by donating to them food or clothes. This is the season of giving. How can you be the light?

Don’t be afraid to embrace the things that are truly most important this holiday season.

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