As I was enjoying a cup of coffee and finishing up my mid-term grades the other morning, so I could head out for Region I Conference, I got a text from the conference coordinator that said, “The Roads Are Closed!” So, just how do you hold a conference without the coordinator or the host state? Well, you do like we all have done when the technology glitches during a lesson, you adapt and improvise. Fortunately, the roads finally were cleared and our conference went extremely well. Sheridan, WY was our base for the week, and during that time it snowed about the entire time with the largest flakes I have ever seen. We were able to get out and about, though. We toured a family-owned wool mill, a greenhouse specializing in developing edible learning lab setups, the Sheridan College of Agriculture, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs, and the King’s Ropes. We offered several workshops for our members to gain knowledge from each other. Additionally, our committee and business meetings went smoothly, with great discussion to further our organization. We had Ideas Unlimited presentations from seven individuals, all of whom gave us awesome ideas to use in our classrooms. For the second year, we offered a program for our preservice teacher student members, which is a great way to introduce them to the NAAE family.
Regional Conference is a great time for us to get together and share experiences, frustrations, celebrations, ideas, and build bonds. Our group was very well taken care of by the host state, with a prime rib dinner one night and a guest speaker who spoke on the importance of spreading the good message of animal agriculture. The next night, we traveled up into the base of the Big Horn Mountains to the Eaton’s Guest Ranch, the oldest dude ranch in the nation, where we were fed a Cajun feast! We took time to honor the memory of one of our former Region I Vice Presidents and NAAE Presidents, Tom Parker, who passed away this winter. All in all, our conference was a memorable one and we thank our Wyoming delegation that made it happen!
When it feels like the road is closed, take a look for an alternate route, or wait for the storm to pass. As we near the end of the road for this school year and prepare for our next road trip, take time to reflect on your program successes and shortcomings. Set some goals to accomplish for next year. Also, take a break and recharge your internal batteries, so that you can be the ag teacher that your programs need.
Enjoy your last few days of school!