Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fully Extending Our Selfie Sticks

This spring, I was given a gift, and the moment I opened it, I’m confident that everyone on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus heard me scream and laugh with excitement… it was a selfie stick (with a huge bag of Peanut Butter M & M’s to seal the deal)! I immediately tore open the package it was in and snapped my first ever selfie using a selfie stick, which is mildly entertaining to look at and is conveniently located to the right. Over the course of the last four months, this valuable stick has been in my truck and has tagged along with me for tons of adventures – including the State Greenhand Leadership Conference (SGLC).

SGLC is one of the coolest conferences that we as FFA members have the opportunity to be a part of! This camp, along with SLCCL, is held at Deep Portage, up north in the secluded town of Hackensack, Minnesota where the memories are limitless and the cell phone signal is limited (and yes, there is definitely a correlation between the two). At Deep Portage, there’s a HUGE observation tower on top of a ginormous hill. For me, hiking to the top of that tower was always a highlight of the week when I was a camper (see below).
Fast-forward three years to SGLC 2016, when I thought it would be fun to relive my experience as a camper and organize a group to make the trek up to the tower! We formed a group and left at exactly 3:21 p.m. on the Thursday of camp because hiking is some serious business! Over 20 members came together for the hike and we had an amazing time! However, unlike SLCCL 2013, something was different about the hike; I brought my selfie stick.

Today, there are only three alternates to using selfie sticks when taking pictures. The first is having someone from the group take the picture manually, the second is using an automated countdown and the third is using just arms to take a selfie. I’ve found that each of these have some costs associated. Want to have someone take the picture manually? That could be a good option, but the person taking the picture won’t be able to be in the picture themselves and be able to remember that moment, similar to the picture above from SLCCL 2013. Manual countdowns are pretty awesome too, but using one of these means that the person who sets it up will have to run back to the group and probably will be either out of breath or not be ready. Many of us most likely use our arms to take our pictures nowadays, but if you’re anything like me, it’s tough because our arms are only so long, which means that some people won’t make it into the picture.

This is where selfie sticks come in. Selfie sticks give us an opportunity to get ready and look sharp for our pictures, and most importantly, they make sure everyone is included in all of our pictures. Unless we have incredibly long arms or have a relatively small group, selfie sticks are our best bet. At SGLC, every single member who took the time to hike to the top of tower with our group can be found in the picture you see to the right. Why? Because we used a selfie stick and extended it to its fullest possible length.

As FFA members, it is our duty and mission to be the fully extended selfie sticks of our chapters and even of society – to reach out and include as many people as possible. Whether it’s inviting that shy freshman to the first FFA meeting of the year or engaging with thousands of fairgoers at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center, we absolutely need to be inclusive of everyone inside and outside of FFA so everyone knows they are valued and an important part of our community. The start of the school year is right around the corner, so let’s take some time to think about how we will be fully-extended selfie sticks this year and into the future.

Stationed by the Door,

Joe Ramstad

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