Today wraps up FFA Week 2017 and I, the slacker that I am, have just now gotten around to talking about it. All this week I have been seeing filters, pictures, posts, tags, and that “share and fill if you’re tagged” stuff for the organization that defined much of my time in high school. Yet I didn’t participate unless my profile picture of me getting my American
Degree counts but it’s been up since October. I partially believe that this fact was due to
the crazy hectic week I’ve had. Anyway, I’m here to try and sum up what FFA means to me, which is an impossible task that I could write for years about.
There are so many things I’ve been able to do through my time in the Blue Jacket. I’ve traveled all over the United States, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississipi, Louisiana, and Washington D.C. In fact, I could probably write an entire post on trips, but I’ll save that for another day.
I’ve been able to participate in FFA Knowledge, Entomology, Parliamentary Procedure, Meats Judging, and Agronomy contests and go to state in all of those. It wasn’t always about winning, it was about the time I spent with friends, learning things I never thought I would want to know, but I can still tell you that a Mayfly’s order is Ephemeroptera which means to live but a day, that dark cutter is caused when an animal is scared and stressed shortly before slaughter, or if you call out division in the middle of a meeting your President (and Advisors) will roll their eyes while everybody else laughs. I also learned how to sleep on a school bus full of loud freshman and to play a WIDE variety of card games (Jacobi was the official card game of the Tipton FFA 2010-2014).
I also learned that just because you really, and I mean REALLY, want to do something and think you have the perfect plan, it doesn’t mean you will always succeed. Whether it was wanting to be an area officer (and not being chosen from your chapter’s round of interviews) or trying to figure out what the heck to do for an SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience for all you who weren’t huge in FFA) project, and let me tell you I had a billion and one ideas for that.
I started out with absolutely NO idea what I wanted to do, my mom’s response was to grow a garden which I did. However, I kept plotting and planning all sorts of crazy ideas, at one point I even wanted to convert one of our old empty hog barns into some type of shooting range (what I was thinking is beyond even me)
thankfully mom and dad shut that idea down REAL quick. I then moved on to slightly more realistic ideas, which included getting a job. As a high school student in a tiny farm town, your job options are very limited, the grocery store, the drive-in (which was seasonal), mowing lawns, or Subway, all of which we either not something I wanted to do or were not hiring. So I got desperate and went into Koechner’s, a family owned poultry trailer manufacturer along with other ag-related odds and ends, where I got hired as shop help. During all of this, my sister and I were wearing down my parents about the idea of owning our own cows and eventually won out. (I just want it known that as I wrote this my mom texted me to tell me we had a calf drop!)
My SAE experience taught me lots of things, working even when you feel like crap (shredded my meniscus fall of senior year, continued to work and do sports on it until it got to the point my knee wouldn’t bend, AKA work ’til it’s broke), work smarter not harder, talk to people because you never know how they can help you or you them, and how to keep a record of receipts and disbursements (Just as Washington kept his farm accounts, carefully and accurately). It also got me to State Convention my senior year of high school where I received my State Degree, and two years later the field of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis where I received the highest honor the FFA can give, my American Degree.
My blue corduroy jacket has been there with me through it all, even if I wasn’t sure how I felt about it in the beginning. I mean how do you think a girl who swore to never wear dresses or skirts would feel when she’s told not only does she have to wear a skirt, but
pantyhose too. Not only was that girl wrong about dresses (I still don’t wear them often but I have them) she also did not realize how much she would come to love that jacket. In fact I can still tell you what is in the pockets of it, even though its two and a half hours away, a lip smackers starburst chap stick, an extra ponytail holder, my scarf, an extra pair of hose (those things rip like no other), and finally a note that I wrote and stuck in there over six years ago at my greenhand conference. On that note are two goals, one was to make varsity in volleyball by my junior year of high school, which I did, the other was to have a successful SAE project (see above if you forgot what a struggle that was for me).
October 22nd, 2016 was, in all reality, the last time I was going to wear my corduroy as a member of the official dress. I knew this from the second I put it on, I knew it as I sat on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium with my parents watching, I knew it as I walked across the stage, as I got my picture taken, and I knew it as I sat through over two hours of a six-hour car ride home in it. While I will never have a reason to wear full official dress again, I know that I’ll still slip it on every once and a while and remember all I learned in it and all I learned from FFA.
As we mingle with others, let us be diligent in labor, just in our dealings, courteous to everyone, and, above all, honest and fair in the game of life. -Official FFA Closing Ceremonies