How a life can change.

Twelve years ago this morning, my life changed.

 I had spent it in La Salles auditorium at the OSU campus waiting for 208 delegates to decide what my next year would look like.  The slate had been revealed, all of the candidate speeches had been given, and then we just had to wait.  Wait for ballots to be cast & counted, run-off's & results to be announced. 

At the end of the morning, I'd wind up on stage with 5 other people who I'd spend the next year with.  Some I already knew - Jo and & I had met four years earlier on the same stage as we competed in the FFA Creed contest.  Others, we'd just met during the "nom com" process that week.

Wes, Brian, Mike, Jo, Gina & Myself
The next year would not be without it's bumps, hurdles & a "Coming to Jesus" or two. 

Running for an Oregon FFA State Office was a big deal.  It's still a big deal.  My year, I think there were about 30 people who ran.  Only 6 of us were elected.  Our state office year was wonderful.  It was challenging, fun, rewarding, exciting, filled with growth, a few tears, and a lot of coaching and memories that lasted a life time. 

One year. 
12 months. 
365 days to make a difference.

To the 6 elected this morning....

Congratulations.  Welcome to the club. It only gets better from here.

Your state officer year has the potential to be amazing.  Let it be that way. 

Whatever happens over the course of this next year, I hope that in 12 years you can look back too and be grateful for the experiences & friendships that resulted because of it.

12 years later - Myself, Wes & Jo
Brian would arrive to convention later, but I was already back on the road for home...
  And for those who weren't chosen this morning.....

Yes, it stinks. And I'm sorry.  I imagine that this was something you've had your heart set on, a goal you've been working towards and a dream that won't become a reality.  You've probably heard that "everything happens for a reason".  And while it probably is not the easiest thing to hear right now - and having not experienced what you're going through - I hope that it's true. 

I hope that there really is something else (perhaps grander?!?) in store for you.  I hope that you experience things you wouldn't get to experience otherwise, and grow as an individual.  I hope you get to go to college and have the most amazing freshman year.  Or maybe you'll meet a lifelong best friend and make a connection with someone who later becomes your spouse.  I hope you take chances, risk boldly & live. 

You will get to do all of these things, in part because your courdoroy jacket is neatly tucked away in a memory box at home.  While you may take the jacket off at the end of convention today, you'll still have the memories, the personal growth, the friendships & the leadership skills that it brought to you as you've worn it these past four years.


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