When you think of America, what images come to mind? Perhaps Lady Liberty in New York City, fields of grain in the Midwest or maybe the American Flag. When I think of America one image comes to mind, Washington D.C. A city known best for its leadership and power, not only in this Nation but around the world. A city that serves as a beacon of light full of hope, in a time where darkness and desperation are so easily found.
Caroline Tart and I, along with 98 other representatives had the special privilege of visiting this great city during July for the State Presidents Conference (SPC). The theme for SPC this year was “Untitled” and about how we as State Officers can focus less on our titles and more on the opportunities provided to us to serve. We had the amazing opportunity to meet and get to know State Officers from around the country and gain an understanding of FFA and of Agriculture in their areas. We made many new connections, and had the privilege of meeting some outstanding FFA members, U.S. Senator Richard Burr and his staff, as well as the National FFA Officers and National FFA Staff. Being in our Nation’s Capital we had the privilege of seeing many of our National Parks and landmarks in that area including; Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Korean Conflict Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Iwo Jima, Franklin Roosevelt Memorial and even the new Holocaust Museum. We also had the humbling experience of visiting Arlington National Cemetery and seeing how fortunate we were to live in a country where men and women were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in our defense.
However, SPC was not all tourism and sightseeing. There was much work that needed to be done to decide on which delegate issues would go on to the process at the National FFA Convention. Caroline and I were on two separate committees that worked diligently to ensure that all states had representation on those issues that were most important to them. Caroline and I will even have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles during the National Delegate Process. Committees decided on the appropriate course of action for each motion that was made to the group, so that all parties would be equally represented. It was truly an honor to be a part of this process for both of us as we got to see how what we do as a National Organization can impact FFA Members!
SPC was an amazing experience filled with learning opportunities for Caroline and myself. We both look forward to serving as State Officers this year and how what we have learned can help us make an IMPACT on North Carolina FFA Members! Caroline and I will live “untitled” as we serve FFA members across this great state. For us, it is not just about giving back, it is about giving more!
John Stewart, State President