If you are anything like me, you've been there. You jump in the truck and head out on the road, look down and see that the fuel gauge is just barely showing any gas. You press the button to see just how many more miles you can go. Then you think back to the last time you were in that predicament and mentally calculate just how far you can go. You probably neglect to factor in if the driving conditions have changed -- are you carrying the same load, running the AC, is the wind blowing? There's a great feeling of relief when you pull into the gas station and fill up. You tell your buddies how you coasted in and put 25 gallons in your 24 gallon tank! I've been lucky enough to only run out a couple of times, but have pressed my luck many times.
As ag teachers, there are times throughout the year when we are running low on fuel. Spring, for many of us, is probably the time when we ask ourselves, do I have enough fuel to make it through the end of the year? With applications, state conventions, year-end orders, class projects, plant sales, banquets, summer contract plans, etc., the list goes on and on and the load is heavy. Unlike our cars that tell us how many more miles we have left before our tank is empty, we can only look at the calendar to see how many more days until the next time we get to re-fuel. In my experience, there are certain events we attend to get fueled -- National FFA Convention, NAAE Convention, state FFA convention, regional conference, and summer conference. Some of these activities are also the cause of the tank getting low, but it seems that if we can get there, the fuel we receive has some extra octane and boosts us to go back to our programs and continue our calling.
Just around the corner is a great opportunity for you to fill up your tank at the Region I Conference in Wyoming, April 25-28. The Wyoming delegation has been working diligently to prepare a program sure to fuel us up to make it through the end of the year. The registration link and conference agenda can be found at Region I Information - WVATA. Early bird registration is due March 29th. I encourage you to attend this conference to partake in professional development workshops, NAAE committee meetings, industry tours, and professional networking.
I would also like to encourage you all to take some time and apply for the NAAE awards available, or nominate another member or stakeholder for one of the awards. These awards are recognition for you, your programs and your communities. Award information can be found at Members - Awards | National Association of Agricultural Educators . All applications are due May 15th except the Ideas Unlimited for Region I, which is due to the NAAE office April 15th, and then will be presented and judged at the Region I conference.
As I said, there have been a couple of times that I literally have run out of fuel in my pickup on the side of the road, and luckily I have had good friends who were willing to bring me a jug of gas and help me get going again. Throughout my teaching career, I have also experienced times when I've run low on "fuel" as well. At these times, I've been able to count on my NAAE friends and colleagues to fill my tank up again. Please, at any time you feel your tank getting low, know that you can call on me, or any of the NAAE officers and staff, to come to your aid. Good luck with all of your spring activities and I look forward to seeing many of you in April.