When you run for state office one of the things people tell you about is all the opportunities that you will have. Every one talks about the people you get to meet and the impact that you will have on them. Personally I couldn’t agree more. I think one of the biggest benefits I’ve found as a state officer is the people you get to meet. But those people that I’ve met aren’t just from state office, but they are all from FFA. Because while we focus on the people we meet as state officers those opportunities are similar to those that everyday members get to experience. I think that these interactions can be split into two different categories. Those interactions for fun and those for business.
Lets start with the business interactions that FFA members get. The first thing that comes to mind for me is the advocacy day at the state house during FFA week. This is the biggest time for members to meet important people. Anyone who’s experienced this day would agree that it’s a great opportunity to impact their legislators. The goal is to form connections with those making decisions. And that is the goal of FFA, to make connections. Those connections are one of the many benefits of being an FFA member.
Those business connections go further than politicians. They extend to the local level as well. Throughout the state local chapters are supported by local businesses. Those local leaders and other professionals form connections with us that last a lifetime. For them that blue jacket we wear is exciting and promising. I think those connections are the most important. Those are the ones that are more personal and impactful. Those are the people who see you every day and will help you later. All of these business and political relationships we form as FFA members are important. Because those connections help you and others as long as you make them.
The other groups is fun connections. These connections are the ones we make with other FFA members. We hear all the time about the close friendships that people make through FFA. I think the best part of these connections is the fact that they are from all across the state and nation. They help to expose us to cultures different from our own. While we might not always consider our far away friends from FFA our best friends they remember the connections that we form. I was reminded of this the other day when a past state officer form Delaware told us about the Indiana state officer he met five years ago and still knew her name. Those fun connections help keep FFA fun. They are the reason that people look forward to state and national events. To see who they are going to meet next.
I think if I’ve learned one thing from state officer it’s to cherish the connections that you make. The business ones are important because they will help you and you are impacting them. And the fun relationships are just as important because they are the foundation of our organization. We are a student lead group and we work best when connections form within the students. FFA is a place for connections to form. And I think one of the best things to learn from FFA is how to form those connections and how to use them later. Because that is the best life advice FFA can give.