Cowboy Logic: "If everything seems to be going
well, you have obviously overlooked something."
Being from Oregon, I thought this title was a little iconic. One hundred seventy-three years ago, a huge migration sent pioneers from the Missouri River valleys to the famed fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon. This 2000 mile trip took many months and many lives, but eventually connected the East to the West and colonized this great country. When I was a junior in high school, I made the reverse trip from Oregon to Kansas City -- it only took me on two airplanes and only about five hours of travel time. A few years prior to that, FFA members would take the train or buses as state delegations, and would be in Kansas City in two or three days. The pilgrimage would start on the west coast and pick up state delegations throughout the western states until full. There were many stories and fun had by all!
My fondest memory of the National FFA Convention has to be when I was serving Oregon as a State Officer. That year, we were able to stay in Kansas City with the other State Delegations. (Oregon is still banned from Kansas City hotels for reasons no one will talk about). I thoroughly enjoyed being down on the floor of the convention, yelling chants with the FFA members, and getting the convention hall fired up for the sessions. I have always been in awe of the 50,000 plus students in their FFA jackets, their energy, the laser light shows, and the crisp professionalism of the National Officers. Seth Derner was the National President that year. I thought that he had "hung the moon" and he knew who I was. What else could be as exciting and as thrilling as watching that many high school kids with positive attitudes and a love for agriculture.
In my second year of teaching high school agriculture, it was my turn to take a load of students to the National FFA Convention. That year, it was in Louisville, KY and I had a big group. I will never be able to appreciate the alumni and parents enough that helped me on that trip. We took the crew to the Corvette Factory, the Kentucky Horse Park, Makers Mark, and to Churchill Downs. I absolutely enjoyed showing these students places and opportunities they had never seen before. I realized then that teaching ag and being the FFA advisor was something few people will ever understand -- but giving these kids that experience and seeing their excitement during a National FFA Convention session was worth all the time away from home and the trials of getting them there.
I hope that your trip to National FFA Convention is as rewarding as mine were. I hope that you appreciate your students and share with them their success. These are opportunities that many of your students would not have without your time and dedication. As the planning comes to an end, and the trip finally takes off -- make sure you haven't overlooked something -- because you will!