From arriving at the Westin Hotel on Monday October 17, to our departure this past Sunday, I can honestly say that there was never a dull moment! The most excitement on Monday came from the reuniting of friends, and making new ones! The Indiana FFA State Officers were privileged to attend The National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO) in Georgia this year, rather than the traditional Illinois location. At NLCSO we made friends with the Associations from Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. Being able to see the members of these teams again was awesome! It is truly an amazing experience to be able to meet and befriend such a diverse, unique group of individuals! Not only were we reunited with our southern friends, my teammates and I were excited to see our good friends from the Illinois FFA Association as well, whom we met and worked with at the Farm Progress Show.
Seeing our friends again was just one of the many exciting parts of National Convention! Tuesday morning began the official start of the delegate process with delegate training, followed by our first committee meetings! This year, there were 6 committees created to address certain proposals. The committee meetings, to me, were very enjoyable. It was an awesome experience to use our parliamentary procedure experience to discuss and pass various motions and proposals to create the best form of a committee recommendation to present to The National FFA Organization. Another exciting, amazing aspect of the delegate process and committee hearings, was the fact that there was only ONE adult in each room of 50 plus students. The adults were simply there as super vision, or mediators, if needed. Their position allowed for the entire committee hearing to be ran by the committee chairs and members alone. Allowing a room of 50 to 80 students to discuss and debate topics to recommend to The National FFA to consider was an eye-opening experience for me! To see all of these students between the ages of 16 and 20 making informed decisions and recommendations with such professionalism was awesome and to be a part of that; even better. I was honored to be among FFA's finest doing what America's largest youth led organization does best; MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The excitement continued throughout the official business sessions. As we broke out of our committees, we gathered as one large delegation body to discuss and vote. Once again, seeing and experiencing the amount of knowledge, passion, and determination from my peers being focused toward passing proposals was incredible.
Once the business side was completed, it was time for some fun! Once the delegates were finally able to attend the 1st general session, we were all pumped! The team was lucky to have been in the photo/video shoot for the convention song, and seeing ourselves singing and dancing on screen was so cool! The National Officers did an amazing job presenting the sessions as well as their retiring addresses! The high energy sessions made convention even more exciting! As a state officer team were privileged to meet with Senator Mike Pence as well as Congressman Marlin Stutzman and Senator Richard Lugar during convention. Mr. Pence shared comments with us about convention, and entertained questions from myself and the team during a brief meet and greet. Also, we were able to meet with Congressman Stutzman and Senator Lugar to discuss the Farm Bill commonly known as REFRESH. Both experiences were very unique as well as exciting.
Indiana had an extremely exciting and memorable week at the 84th National FFA Convention! On Tuesday night, we were very pleased to hear that our National Officer Candidate, Morgan Gadd, had made the cut to the final 20 National Officer Candidates. Although Gadd was not elected, we are extremely proud of her, and know that because she is an amazing and intelligent individual, there are many opportunities in store for her. Also, as the week wound down, we were excited to find that Indiana's very own Eastern Hancock had won the National Livestock Judging Competition, and that North Miami placed second in Dairy Cattle Evaluation!
The team and I are now looking forward to and planning for out Seeking Opportunities Achieving Results (S.O.A.R) Conference. Convention Was definitely an absolute blast. I am currently missing all of the friends that I was able to see again, as well as the new friends that I gained! Unfortunately, convention is over, but the memories and achievements will be with Indiana FFA forvever.