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

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