State Sentinel Caleb Johnston, New Plymouth FFA
When you look back on the years, there are generally a few moments that were turning points in your life. Whether it be meeting your best friend, playing a sport for the first time, or overcoming a lifelong fear; these are the experiences that you will never forget. In the FFA, we are proud of entrepreneurship and skill developing opportunities, but something that isn’t talked about as often is the personal development and relationships we gain through this organization. I am fortunate enough to have not one, but two memories through FFA that have altered the path my life has taken.
Think back to your first State Leadership Conference (I already have chills lol.) The pre-session games, the light show, the loud music, and the roar of the crowd when they introduce the state officers: there’s nothing else like it. During my first State Leadership Conference, I made countless friends, swapped late night stories, and was fortunate enough to win creed speaking. To this day, I still get goosebumps whenever I hear someone recite the creed. Being introduced to the culture of FFA ignited a spark in me that has only grown.
The second memory is one that I have kept somewhat a secret. The summer after my junior year was extremely challenging for me. I went through a very dark period of life that felt like it just wasn’t worth it anymore. The last thing I wanted to do was go to a conference in Washington, D.C., but I had already signed up for it, so I went, dragging my feet the whole way there. It only took until the first morning of the Washington Leadership Conference to meet the first life changer, Alyssa from Missouri.
We met while waiting to board the subways to go see monuments around D.C. As soon as we started talking I knew that I had found a lifelong friend. Later that same day I met Trey from Wyoming and Alexis from Florida. All of us had come from very different walks of life, yet in that moment we had become family. I’m not sure anything bonds people like the FFA does.
Without FFA, I wouldn’t be as driven or have the skillset that I have today. But more importantly, without FFA, I might not be here today writing this blog entry. Whatever you do in life, whether it be in FFA or not, I encourage you to take in every moment, because you will blink and it will become a memory.