Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An FFA Opportunity

We just returned from a week-long getaway to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the National FFA Convention. At the culmination of the event the new officers were announced. Seth was named Western Region Vice President! It’s a huge honor and commitment, giving a year of service to the FFA and agriculture advocacy across the nation. He is one of six officers, the others hailing from New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, and Georgia.

With over 500,000 FFA members, Seth’s most important job will be as a role model to high school kids, giving leadership seminars and urging them to think big and believe in themselves. He'll also meet with agriculture industry folks, being the “spirit and face” of FFA. 

Callie flew in from Manhattan, and Anna flew in from Boise as part of her state FFA officer team. I had to pinch myself to realize it all came together. We stayed downtown at convention central, so were available early or late, whenever our busy kids had a spare moment. One evening was pure magic as we sat over dinner listening to Seth recount his recent trip to Brazil. He had waited to tell us about it until we were all together. Another afternoon we gathered in Seth’s hotel room and heard about Callie’s latest dance performance, rich in detail and vulnerability. Another night we walked the streets after dark, ducking into a chocolate/coffee shop for more deep conversation. We so enjoy our kids.

It’s a great experience to walk the streets of downtown Indy during FFA convention. In their trademark blue corduroy jackets, they crowd every hotel lobby, mob the mall, and line the skywalks to and from each convention venue, all 50,000 of them! The kids like to call “heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” to each other as they pass in the escalators and hallways. Even from our 3rd floor hotel room we could hear waves of greeting as they crossed the street below.

The waitress at the local burger joint “Steak n Shake,” and the manager of our hotel, both enthusiastically praised the impressive kids that descend on the city in October of each year. To be excited about youth, now that’s noteworthy!

We stayed an extra day to be part of parent orientation. After breakfast with the officer team, Seth was whisked away by FFA staff. Then Anna left to catch her flight back to Boise. That left Callie and Mark and I. We walked around the now deserted city, no more blue jackets and excited faces, then took a bus across town to see more of Indy. Callie found us a great bookstore with $2.00 used books, perfect for reading on the airplane. They also had magazines for 50 cents. We bought one called Ode - for Intelligent Optimists. After a week of being with the most optimistic youth (or adult) organization in the world, it was very fitting. Mark read it all the way home. 

Anna, Seth, and friend Casey

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