Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Climb Your Mountains

As I scroll through my Instagram, I am reminded that it is Spring Break 2k16! From beaches in Florida, to being a lazy bum at home, spring break is always a great time to have fun and be with friends. Luckily, I got to hang out with my friends in Tennessee. We had quite a few adventures along the way, but one adventure will be one that I won’t soon forget.
            My friends and I stayed in a beautiful cabin nestled between the mountains. Being boys, we vowed to explore the mountains before our trip was over. On the second to last night, we realized that we had yet to explore. Despite it being midnight, my friend, Matthew, and I set out to climb the mountain that had been tempting us since the moment that we had arrived.
            Let me tell you a little about this mountain. It was covered in green ivy, and was in no way supposed to be climbed. I was convinced that it was impossible, but Matthew would not settle for anything less that climbing that mountain. I told him he couldn’t. He took that as a challenge and before I knew it, Matthew was struggling up the side of the mountain. Our adventure had officially began!
            He grabbed onto any trees, or shrubbery, that he could find and eventually found himself about 15 feet above me, standing on a tiny edge of the mountain. I congratulated him on his accomplishment, and asked how he was going to get down. He replied, “I’m not coming down. You are coming up!” I took that as a challenge, and began my assent.
            After climbing about two feet, I realized that I was wearing Sperries. Boat shoes really aren’t conducive to climbing, and in that moment I realized that my climb was going to be even more challenging while trying to keep my shoes on my feet. I didn’t let that stop me. I would grab a hand full of ivy, and pull until I could find a safe place for my feet. It was a hard climb, but I was making progress.
            About half way up, I looked back to see how far up I had climbed. Sadly, I hadn’t climbed nearly as far as I had hoped. Looking back, I noticed that there was a group of people gathered at the back door of their cabin, watching me and hoping that I was going to make a fool of myself. I could see the look of judgement on their face, and they could probably see the look of embarrassment on mine. I turned my attention back to my challenge, and continued to show everyone in attendance just how one should climb a mountain while wearing Sperries.
            I reached the top of that mountain, although I had my doubts from the beginning. Matthew and I created some memories that night, and nothing will match the satisfaction we felt standing at the top and staring down on our resort. Life has a way of presenting us with mountains to climb. In evaluating them, we tend to doubt that we have the strength, or the tools, necessary to climb it. Do it anyway. Prove yourself wrong. You will thank yourself when you are admiring the beautiful view from the top.  
Forever Imagining,

Mason Gordon
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

We Michigained Some Friends

Back in June of last year, the 7 of us found ourselves sitting in a hotel conference room in Lexington, Kentucky. Four short days earlier, we had been elected as the 2015-2016 Indiana State Officer Team. To say that we were a little overwhelmed would be an understatement. We had been almost immediately whisked away to the National Leadership Conference for State Officers, along with the newly elected teams from Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, and Michigan.

We got to know the officers from all of the states, and formed friendships that have lasted long into our year of service. However, we became especially close to the officer team from our neighbor state to the north. Maybe it was the geographic closeness of our two states, or the fact that we thought the accents of the officers from the northern most part of the state were extremely entertaining, either way Michigan and Indiana hit it off. Which led to us coining the phrase “We Michigained some friends”.

The past two days Courtney, Josh, and I have had the privilege of attending Michigan FFA’s 88th State Convention. Let me tell you, I have never experienced a warmer welcome to an FFA event in my life. It was amazing to see our friends we had gotten to know over the past few months up on that stage. I can honestly say I’ll never forget experiences like watching the two finalist teams in their demonstration competition, which they take extremely seriously, or helping to throw glow sticks into a crowd of almost 2,000 ecstatic Michigan FFA members.

The words “personal growth” are some that we hear over and over again in the land of FFA. So much so that I think they easily become words we say, and not necessarily words we mean. These past few days have really reminded me that FFA leads us to personal growth every single day. Our friends in Michigan were not the same people at their state convention they were eight months ago, and the seven of us officers aren’t the same either. Really, none of us can say we haven’t changed a lot over the last year or so. I think we can all agree that FFA is responsible for a lot of that personal growth.

Watch out folks, Sean is starting to get a little sappy.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been given because of this organization. If I said I was thankful every single day that wouldn’t be true, we all get caught up in routine and things like that get forgotten. However, experiences like the past two days give me the opportunity to step back and realize everything FFA has done for me, and I look forward to the personal growth that’s yet to come.

All the best,

Sean Harrington
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Treasurer