Saturday, July 9, 2016


“Ohana—it means family & family means no one gets left behind.”

This is my absolute favorite quote from the movie, Lilo and Stitch. You see, this movie is all about accepting and loving one another despite differences or weaknesses. Lilo does not care that Stitch is not a “regular” dog nor does she dwell on his mistakes. Lilo and Stitch are family.

This past week, I had the amazing opportunity to spend five days with 154 Minnesota FFA members from across the state at the State Greenhand Leadership Conference, or SGLC. At this conference, we engaged in group
discussions to better get to know one another, pushed each other past our limits on the rock wall and while climbing the tower, and made life-long friendships with people we had never
met before.

One day during recreation time, a few friends joined me on a walk up to a tower that stands 150 feet high. As we started the trek up, my friends, Katrina and Joshua, suddenly stopped. The tower was higher than expected, and they didn’t really want to continue the hike.

In most instances, many people                                                                                      would let them stay where                                                                                                          they were and continue on but                                                                                                   not the friends I was with. I                                                                                                         watched as fellow members                                                                                                        pushed their friends to                                                                                                                  conquer their fears and                                                                                                                continue on up. As words of                                                                                                         encouragement filled my                                                                                                      ears, I experienced the true meaning of family. Our trek up may not have been the fastest, but we all made it: no one was left behind.

My teammate and friend, Wendy, really made that thought stick as she touched on this during her reflections on the Wednesday night of camp. She talked about how each of us have something to give. Each of us are have unique talents, strengths, loves, and dreams, but together we have it all. On Monday of SGLC, we arrived as individuals ready to find ourselves. As we left Friday, we left as Ohana, or family: “As Family We Go.”

During the week, we grew from strangers to family. We not only found ourselves in the blue but found each other. As I left Deep Portage that Friday, I knew that this would not be the last time I saw these members and friends.  You see, as family we will succeed. As family we will impact. As family we will go. As family no one gets left behind.

Thank you greenhands for a week of a lifetime. I can’t wait to see you all again.

Stationed by the Plow,

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