Tuesday, November 28, 2023

How Will You Spread Cheer This Holiday Season?

The Christmas season is upon us!  Yes, it is the season of holiday traditions, bright lights and Christmas cheer, but it's also the giving season.  A time for us to give back to others in our community. In the wise words of Buddy the elf “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” According to my sister, my “excellent” singing voice may not be the best at spreading holiday cheer.  Luckily for me, there are countless other ways we can spread holiday cheer this December and bring happiness to others.  As FFA members we have a duty to be leaders in our community and a key way to do that is by serving others. Let's look at some activities that chapters across the state are doing to uplift others. 

The South Newton FFA chapter participates in the Toys for Tots challenge where they compete with other local chapters to donate the most new toys.  These FFA members are spreading cheer and brightening the season for many children who will now have a toy or gift under the tree for Christmas.    

The Northwestern FFA chapter makes tie blankets for children’s hospitals during the Christmas season. They also make Thanksgiving meal baskets for the homeless and those in need. This chapter brings a smile to both children and adults going through difficult times during the holiday season.  

The Jay County FFA chapter adopts a family for Christmas and buys the family necessities and Christmas gifts.  These FFA members know that an entire family will have a brighter holiday season due to their efforts.  

The Sullivan FFA chapter hosts a community event called Christmas at the Barn for community children.  The FFA members read Christmas stories to children, provide a hot chocolate station, host a petting zoo, and even invite Santa to visit with children.  In addition, the chapter also plays board games with nursing home residents and has a canned food drive.  The Sullivan FFA stays busy giving back to their community! 

The Tri County FFA chapter holds blood drives, adopts a highway, and packs soap for those in need. The Tri County FFA chapter has found many ways to give back to their local community!

The North Decatur chapter is going Christmas Caroling to spread cheer at local nursing homes this year. They are excited to start this new tradition in their chapter.

Learning about all the great things FFA chapters are doing this holiday season has me motivated to spread some cheer myself!  I plan to reach out to a different person each of the 12 Days of Christmas and tell them how much I appreciate them.

My challenge to each of you is to find one thing you can do to bring joy during this giving season. It can be an individual goal like pledging to say one nice thing to someone you do not know very well each day. Or it can be a chapter goal like your whole chapter volunteering at a nursing home. No matter the size of your action, seize the opportunity to spread cheer in your community this holiday season.

Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Season of Thanks

   Thanksgiving goes beyond indulging in delicious food; it is a time to express gratitude and come together with loved ones. Often, I forget to reflect on all the things I am thankful for, so here is a list of all the things I have been thankful for over the past year. 

1. Family

  • My family has been my unwavering support system. They have stood by my side through every triumph and setback since day one. Their constant encouragement, unwavering belief in me, and refusal to let me give up on my dreams have been the driving forces in my life. I cherish them more than anything in the world.

2. Friends

  • Leaving my friends behind has been one of the most challenging experiences, but they have also shaped me into the person I am today. My friends have allowed me to be myself and have supported me wholeheartedly as I pursue my dreams.

3. My team

  • Living with six other teenagers in one house has presented its fair share of challenges. However, these challenges have been positive ones. Whether it's the friendly battles between the boys and girls late at night or the never-ending pile of dishes in the sink, I am grateful for each and every one of them. Their support has meant the world to me.

4. Jesus

  • I owe all my thanks to Jesus, who has guided me through every journey in life without ever letting me down. He has answered my questions and provided unwavering support in the face of any challenge.

5. Oklahoma State

  • My love for the Oklahoma State Cowboys runs deep, but the supportive community surrounding the university is even stronger. When I shared the news of my State Office achievement, OSU showed immense support and encouragement for my year of service. I am excited to see what the future holds as a Cowboy.

6. This Organization

  • FFA has opened countless doors of opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful for this student-lead organization and everything it has done for me. As I embark on my year of service, I am eager to give back to this organization that has given me so much.

These are just a few highlights of all the things I am thankful for! Throughout this year I have been reminded to never take anything for granted and always enjoy the moment. Be thankful for everything this season. 

Thankful always, 

Tanner Weakley