You never know who or what will make an impact on you -- someone who shares great ideas for solving a problem, or someone who is always willing to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Oftentimes, this impact comes from someone or some event that you least expect. As agricultural educators, we are impacted by our students, parents, family, and colleagues all the time -- people showing us time and again how to "get off the fence" and make a difference.
It happened to me again this weekend. My son gave me a glimpse of what it means to "get off the fence." While in college, my son took up riding saddle broncs. Those of you that follow the sport of rodeo know this a rough stock event where it is extremely difficult to learn the skills necessary to be successful. I am proud of the effort and time he has put into learning these skills. He may never be an NFR qualifier, but he will always be one in my eyes. He is not sitting on the fence.
My daughter played volleyball in college. I have witnessed the time commitment it takes to play at that level. The hours of practice, the conditioning, and travel time, along with completing her class work. Today, she is a second grade teacher and prepares the same way for her classes. Based on conversations I have had with her administration she is not sitting on the fence.
This leads me into my topic for this message. The NAAE needs members to get off the fence. This organization is full of talented individuals who are needed to serve at the state, regional, and national levels of NAAE. During the national conference, regional vice presidents and secretaries will be elected, appointments to professional agriculture boards will be made, and members interested in filling other leadership roles can be identified. Some of these positions require an MOU to be turned into the NAAE office by September 15th. The MOU can be found on the NAAE website or contact your regional vice president with questions and for help. I encourage state and regional leaders to identify and recruit those members to get off the fence and bring the skills to the table needed for this organization to continue to expand our role in setting policy for agricultural education.
My term as your president is coming to and end. I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve this great profession. It has been a challenging and exciting 15 years of leadership at the state, regional, and national level. I have tried to lead in a direction that increased our voice where agricultural education policy is discussed. We must continue to seek out ways to unify the voice of agricultural education, so we can tell our story. I chose to get off the fence, now it's your turn.
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