Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Just One Spark...

In July of 1776, the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies as one free nation, the United States of America, no longer a part of the British Empire. Ever since then, July 4th has been recognized as one huge party to celebrate our declaration of independence - full of barbecues, family gatherings, parades, and of course, fireworks. For me, fireworks are probably the most exciting part of my family’s celebration that day. After a long day of lounging around the boat on Pokegama Lake, or exploring the town of Grand Marais, like I did today, fireworks are hands down the best sort of entertainment to close out a rather important holiday.
I remember watching my first fireworks show as a child in Fraser, Colorado. My family of three would drive our Subaru into a huge, open field and park, waiting patiently (or however patiently a 4-year-old could wait) for the show to start. Then suddenly, color would light up the sky, flashing in bright hues of blue, green, yellow, red, and then my personal favorite, purple. These colors lit up the sky accompanied by a big boom, and sometimes a short fizzle as it faded into the night. I was amazed by the beauty just one firework could have and the impact the light had to the darkness around it.
When I was a freshman, I was always waiting for something extraordinary to happen. At this point, I had lived a rather adventurous life, full of hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, walking across the glaciers of northwest Montana, and exploring the switch-backed trails of Colorado. As I entered high school, I only wanted to continue these adventures and satisfy my hunger for more. When I walked into the agricultural education room for the first time, I never would have guessed a new adventure would just be beginning. I was approached by a rather intimidating man, who introduced himself as Mr. Linder, who asked if I liked horses. Hesitantly (and rather terrified), I answered with a short ‘yes,’ to which he sat me down and started pulling up various judging classes, rattling along as he went. A few hours passed and I became more and more comfortable, realizing this teacher was getting more and more excited with every answer I gave. 

A few weeks later, Mr. Linder registered me to participate in my first ever region Career Development Event – horse judging. I was terrified walking in. I remember my freshman year of regions as a jumble of horses, anxious advisors, multicolored cards, and long sets of oral reasons. However, once we finished, I came out qualified for State, and a little surprised of myself.
Now, many years later, I can compare my freshman self, and all of us as FFA members, to those fireworks.
Fireworks need just one spark to set them off into a frenzy of color, light, and awestruck beauty. FFA members are the exact same way. Every member needs just one spark, maybe from an advisor, chapter officer, fellow member, or even you, to set themselves into an incredible leadership frenzy, lighting up the world around them with their unique styles and colorful qualities. When we spark other leaders, the world around us can change as we know it, and even spark others to do the same.
What was your spark?
Who needs that spark ignited in your life? How can you spark others?
Today, I watch fireworks light up the sky, and I smile because I know FFA members can do the same.
Stationed by the flag,


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