On Stage Impact, Off Stage Connection
State Treasurer Melanie Searle, Burley FFA
In April 2015, I attended my first state FFA convention. I sat in the CSI gymnasium listening intently to a retiring address, impressed with the experiences and the stage presence of the retiring officer. As he brought his thoughts to a close, a tingle ran up my spine and I was compelled to become more involved in FFA and make a positive difference in my chapter. I left the convention that day with a renewed sense of motivation, but soon I forgot the speech and fell back into my original routine. Though it was a well-written and well-presented address, it did not change my life. However, it was because of that retiring address and sharing my experience with my advisor, that he took me under his wing, invited me to events, encouraged me in CDE’s and urged me to be involved, and my life has never been the same.
Although it was an on-stage retiring address that served as the catalyst in my FFA career, FFA made the biggest difference in my life off the stage. The lessons I learned in the FFA organization lied in failures and successes, falling short in Creed Speaking and qualifying for the National Land and Homesite Evaluation contest, the pig relay event that fell apart, the Conduct of Meetings team that didn’t place, the friends from across the state made and a place found. The FFA has impacted my high school career and will affect the course of my entire life.
Whether it was finding a CDE that fit, a leadership opportunity that stretched, or an event that empowered, I was pushed out of my comfort zone where I could grow and develop into the person I have become.