It all came down to this.We had our training, two long weeks worth, and it was time to apply it. On a very, very long van ride home with Mr. Davis at the wheel and John as co-pilot, our discussion constantly went back to us saying “I just can’t wait to be with the members.” Now maybe this was because we had been in hotels stuck with only state officers for the past few days; though this is a possibility, I think that it had more to do with the fact that we were elected because of the members and our love for them. Members, here we came.
Week one of SLC began with we officers meeting on a Sunday afternoon to begin the preparation. From practicing opening ceremony, to practicing flag raising, to preparing workshops, we wanted nothing more than for it to be just right. It had been a year since we had seen the beautiful White Lake FFA Camp, with its lovely blazing hot temperatures, and we were infinitely excited. Every one of us had memories there that we had made with past state officers, and now it was our turn to have that kind of an impact on our members.
IMPACT. It’s a simple concept that means so much. This was our theme for the week, and we knew that every single individual could make an impact, whether in themselves, their chapter, or in their community no matter how small the deed.
This all started with our small group meetings that Monday night. I have to give a shout out to the wonderful members from Hobbton, who made one heck of a great small group! This time spent with members is one that we officers hold dear to our hearts because it was the first time we really spent one on one time with any members as an officer. Lets just say the impact that members had on us merely began there.
In our workshops, those possibilities that members had to make an impact were discussed through topics like Advocacy, Fundraising, and ........ Now this was the first time that we as officers had presented workshops on this scale, as well as the first time we had we had ever worked together. Anticipation doesn’t begin to describe how we felt! However, the nerves left as soon as we began to see the smiling familiar faces of the members entering the room. We knew that the one thing that mattered the most for that week was that everyone had fun and learned a little something along the way.
Some things were more fun to learn than others...things like the fact that we don’t give out our numbers in movie theaters, that Michael Jackson and Elvis just can’t get along, and where we ladies as some crazy potential dates would put a wedge of cheese. That’s right, I’m talking about Wednesday Night Live! Amidst the workshop preparation and hanging out with awesome members, we officers were devoted to being sure that we would make some members laugh come Wednesday night. I’d say we were pretty successful!
From making members laugh to creating a serious moment, we did it all that week. Thursday night for vespers, we chose to reflect as a group on “impact.” Each of us chose a story that personally touched us based on the impact others had made. For example, I was moved by the influence FFA members across the nation had on hurricane Katrina victims by starting the Seeds of Hope Campaign.
It was a beautiful night on the lake, and every member and advisor sat silent at the end of the pier as we officers proceeded in one by one holding candles. As if we had done it a million times before, we said the vespers that we had prepared with a deep emotion that we all felt. We said one by one “You can make an impact,” and blew out the candles. A chill ran down my spine as we said in unison, “We can make an impact.”
As we fell backwards and let the warm water take us in, all I could think was that WE were now a team. WE were now a family. And WE had made an impact in the amazing members that we had the privilege of being with all week.
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was the beaming faces of my teammates as we all grabbed each other for a hug. There was no place we would rather be in that moment. We then turned and watched the people that meant so much to us exit the pier. Those individuals that we had spent just one week with had impacted us in a way that is simply indescribable.
Our first week with the members is one that we will NEVER forget!
Katie Cauthen, State Vice President