Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wrapping Up One Semester

Hello Readers!

As Christmas is fast approaching, Florida FFA has been staying very busy! Career Development Events (CDEs) have been in full swing with both Food Science and Environmental Science. I had the opportunity to attend the Environmental Science CDE in Live Oak on my way to prepare for the Middle School Conference. Among other things participants had to test water quality, answer environmental questions, and give oral presentations with their team. Orlando Colonial was extremely excited about taking first place in the Environmental Science CDE, and Okeechobee Brahman followed with a very close second place finish. After making that brief stop in Live Oak, we headed south to the FFA Leadership Training Center (LTC) for the Middle School and Advanced Leadership Development (ALD) conferences.

On Friday, November 11 about 70 very excited middle schoolers arrived to begin “The Quest for the Secret of Leadership.” I didn’t quite realize just how excited middle school students could be, but we had a blast! We spent the weekend searching for a secret treasure map, and also found time to learn the foundations of FFA and the basics of leadership. One highlight of the conference was the scavenger hunt to find the missing pieces of the treasure map. After finding all the pieces, we decoded the message which read “The Secret of Leadership Lies Within YOU!” We discovered the true secret of leadership is not power, intelligence, wealth, or prestige. Truly, the secret of leadership is YOU! Soon after wrapping up the Middle School Conference, Advanced Leadership Development (ALD) kicked off. The National FFA Organization sent Cole and Zac to present all six motivating sessions. Through Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, and various other game shows, we found that leadership happens through others and through service. I had a great time getting to learn with all the FFA members from New Smyrna Beach, Okeechobee, and Fort Pierce Westwood! While learning about service we also had fun re-enacting Bon Qui Qui and resolving some major issues with our pet gopher tortoise named Stanley/ brown paper bag! All in all, it was a fabulous weekend filled with great fun and inspiring leadership!

After the weekend wrapped up, it was time for a visit to the infamous New Smyrna Beach, Florida (which was quite possibly my favorite chapter program yet!). Trevor Williams, Austin Courson, and I felt so welcome in District 6 (insert secret hand sign). New Smyrna Beach officers James, Elise, Eric, Kaley, and Shelby treated us to a fantastic dinner. As if that wasn’t enough, they also fed us breakfast from “Bagel World” (apparently a NSB staple). After a fun-filled visit with Mrs. Harper and Ms. Tueton’s classes, we drove on the beach, IN A CAR! (I think that would be grounds for arrest in North Florida.) We concluded the day at New Smyrna Beach FFA’s annual Christmas party. I had an incredible time playing Ninja, Dirty Santa, and a game I like to call “The present is Alive”! Thanks again for our NSB paraphernalia and for making us feel so welcome!

Coming up next… Christmas! All my siblings are coming home, and I can’t wait to spend time with my wonderful family! Soon after, I am headed to Pasadena, California to walk in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day. RFD-TV sponsored an FFA float this year which the National Officers will be riding on with the State President’s walking alongside it. Be sure to tune in to RFD-TV or NBC on January 1st and I will wave at you! From there, I am headed to China for the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO). I will be keeping all of you updated on my travels to both California and China. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. For now have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and as always… continue keeping Florida FFA “In Motion”!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello again!
About two weeks ago, I attended the Citrus Judging and Tool Identification CDEs in Haines City. These events were held Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at the Leadership Training Center in Haines City. Almost 100 teams from throughout Florida gathered to compete for the state championships. It was the first time I had been to either of those competitions, and I enjoyed them both. Congratulations to Bronson Jr. FFA, Dustin Rain, East Ridge FFA, Megan Shutts, Beth Shields Middle FFA, and Rebecca Knowles for excellence in these events! A few days later Trevor Williams, Austin Gibson, and Caitlin Cribbs traveled to the infamous Chipley, my hometown, to attend the Chipola Federation Wild Game Dinner. I decided to be really brave at this year’s dinner because I tried dove, pheasant, gator, deer, and a variety of other animals. I enjoy trying new things, but maybe I should stick with beef and chicken from now on. I had a blast hanging out with some FFA members from around my “neck of the woods” (Area 1)!
Next, I had a week to relax, spend time with my family, and eat too much food. Thanksgiving was wonderful… and did I mention that the Gators won (a perfect end to a great week)! After having a week off for the holidays, it feels great to get back to chapter programs and Career Development Events. This week, I am going back to Chipley for a chapter program at my high school, and finishing plans for Middle School Conference. Coming up this weekend is the Food Science CDE in Gainesville. Good luck to all participants! Until we meet again… continue keeping Florida FFA “In Motion”!
Caitlyn Prichard

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hello Readers,

Wow! My year as a state officer has FLOWN by thus far! Although State Convention was, at the time, one of the most exhilarating weeks of my life, I have had many more fantastic weeks since June. My year of service kicked off with BLAST OFF (Building Leaders and Strong Teams of Officers) and, shortly after, I also attended NLCSO (National Leadership Conference for State Officers) and SPC (State Presidents’ Conference). These conferences were undoubtedly instrumental in training our entire state officer team in how to conduct conferences, workshops, and chapter programs. They also gave me a little training on the differences of people across America. Throughout this year, I have learned that people from Georgia, though they are some of the nicest in the world, occasionally have trouble with style. (Who knew that boots could be worn with shorts?) Wisconsin natives drink water from “bubblers”. (I think “Water fountain” makes much more sense.) I have also found that people have quite a few misconceptions about the great state of Florida. Apparently, people think Florida agriculture “is just oranges and palm trees”. These people are obviously confused because Florida produces over 200 agricultural commodities. My favorite misconception about this fantastic state is northerners thinking Floridians go to the beach year-round. (They obviously haven’t been to my house in January. It is WAY too cold to go to the beach.)

The summer conferences are certainly not the only learning experiences I have had this year. September was a busy and enlightening month that included CPC (Chapter President’s Conference) and COLT (Chapter Officer Leadership Training). CPC was an exciting weekend that included a Hypnotist Show and “Full Throttle” leadership workshops. Soon after, we held “X-treme Leadership: COLT Edition” which had a record attendance of over 1,400 FFA members and advisors. Only a few weeks later, 13 delegates from Florida traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the highly anticipated National FFA Convention. Voting on constitutional amendments and making committee recommendations filled the first part of our week. The end of the week was full of the most energizing and motivating convention sessions. (I would like to say a special thanks to Marshal Sewell, Carly Barnes, Adrienne Boyette, Andy Mason, Clay Sapp, and Calli Jo Parker for their hard work and dedication in serving as delegates from Florida.) Throughout the week, Florida was well represented by some of the most talented Career Development Event participants and Proficiency Finalist. Blountstown, Williston, Ferguson, and many other chapters were gold finalists at the National level. Congratulations to all of the Florida participants! Between all of the exciting events, I have had the privilege of visiting many chapters for fabulous Chapter Programs. Of all the things I have learned so far this year, one thing stands out: Florida FFA members are the friendliest, most talented, and BEST in the nation!! I look forward to writing to you again next week. Until then, continue keeping your chapters and Florida FFA “In Motion”! Caitlyn Prichard