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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."




     I have finally understood the old saying that eventually everything comes back around. Although I may never live to see the resurgence of Big Band Music or even 80s hair, sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and find our own niche to get ourselves back on track.

     Throughout my life I have never been more at home than I have been when I’ve been associated in one way or the other with the FFA. From the moment I first put on the blue corduroy jacket and set forth on a path that would teach me leadership and become the start of the most valued and treasured friendships I could ever ask for, the FFA has always been my safe haven of sorts. Even though it was a turbulent time in the organization, as the debate raged on changes that would affect the FFA for years to come.

     Nearly a year ago as I was sitting in the auditorium of the high school at Earlham, I was at that time thinking about where I needed to put forth energy to get myself back onto the track of rebuilding my life and finding a purpose. A few phone calls and a month later I found myself in a room with likeminded individuals forming an FFA Alumni chapter at West Central Valley. Since that first meeting that wonderful group of adults has enriched the lives of the students enrolled in Agriculture Education classes as well as shown me that even though it has been years since we were members, we still can make an impact.

     Even as I often have wondered if the youth of today aren’t just a little less upstanding as youth of my day, the hours I have spent around the young people involved in FFA has given me hope again and shown me that indeed, not all youth are spending this time as part of a lost generation. Their passion and enthusiasm has enriched my life again.

     This past weekend, I was asked to speak at the Iowa FFA Alumni Conference about my/our experiences setting up our chapter and things we have undertaken to support our students. For a day I got the opportunity to visit with some old friends and to make a few new ones. When it came time to give my presentation I was glad for the public speaking training I learned back in my earliest years of FFA, and the applause that greeted the end of my presentation warmed my heart and I wished I could bring that back to share with my fellow Alumni members because they really were the ones who made it all possible. At the end of the day I had lined up three or four opportunities to visit other FFA Alumni chapters to share ideas and also found myself now sitting on the Iowa FFA Alumni Board of Directors as the South Central District Representative.

     So in twenty five years I have basically come full circle. Although I can’t fit into that blue corduroy jacket any more my association with supporting FFA and its members will continue on stronger than ever. For those of you in my reading audience who have either been a past member or who know firsthand the value that comes from being involved, I would urge you to find your local affiliate and become a part of a great organization which makes a difference in the lives of the future of agriculture in this country. Oh, and you didn’t ever have to wear a blue jacket to be a part of the Alumni, so don’t let that scare you off. I’m sure every chapter out there would be glad to have you and your support.

See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.