Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leaving Convention with Intention

I can’t believe National Convention has already come and gone! It always amazes me at how fast this week flies by. While at convention, our team and two other phenomenal representatives from Minnesota had the opportunity to serve as delegates in the organization by making choices and giving recommendations on how the FFA can continue to improve and grow. When we weren’t in committee meetings or business sessions, we were making connections with other members from across the nation, signing the Minnesota line in the convention signature books, meeting up with old friends, or getting caught up in the thrill of convention!

Even if you haven’t been to national convention before, you have probably heard about the “sea of blue jackets" that takes over the city of Indianapolis for the week. It’s always been mind-blowing to me that I can feel so at home when surrounded by thousands of strangers. Everyone at convention seems excited for the competitions, sessions, speakers, the career fair, or any of the countless other opportunities convention holds. Each member seems to get caught up in the electrifying inspiration of keynote speakers, star finalists, and the many successful members highlighted for their achievements. I’m sure that just like me, many FFA members from across the country left convention with ideas of chapter activities, goals for the coming year, and a sense of refreshed motivation to make an impact. But after all of my years at National Convention, I know this feeling doesn’t last long, and it’s only a matter of time before it wears off.

In my middle school years, I attended a church youth conference in the Twin Cities. Just like at FFA convention, we were all excited to be involved and have a good time. However, one of our leaders said something that has stuck in my mind for all of these years. He told us, “When we’re here together, we’re like players in the football huddle. We’re excited to give it our all to be successful. But then we have the choice to either go onto the field and take action after we leave or back to the bench. Usually, we find ourselves sitting on the sidelines for a few months until we have the chance to get back in the huddle.” I have found the same thing is true for many FFA members as we leave convention.

Huddles can look different for everyone.
 They are the events, places, and people that inspire us!
We spend hours and hours listening to keynote speakers and retiring addresses, exploring the career fair, and making mental plans for our upcoming year, but if we choose to simply go back to our everyday lives once we go home, what does it matter? If we don’t take anything away from our experiences at convention, was it worth traveling the hundreds of miles to Indianapolis? Whether we are in jerseys or jackets, the huddle is the place where inspirational words and stories are shared. How ridiculous would it be if all of the football players left the huddle and sat on the bench for the rest of the game? It’s just as crazy to leave convention and simply continue our lives as we did before.

We spend the entire convention learning how to push ourselves to learn more, serve others, and become better, so it only makes sense that we take the time to put these new ideas or skills into action. We need to take the time to sit down and think about what we really took from our days at national convention. If we thought an experience was life-changing, we should let it change how we live our lives.  

Even if we didn’t attend national convention this year, we have huddle like opportunities any time we come together with people who push us to be better!  It may be at a big event like national or state convention, at a leadership conference, or during a  conversation with our FFA advisor or with a friend. We can carry on the same motivation from the huddle by finding small ways to remind ourselves of our intentions or surrounding ourselves with those who will keep us accountable.

If we write down one goal or one message we want to remember and keep it in a place where we see it every day, we are much more likely to actually change our habits. Personally, I am a huge fan of sticky notes, so I post quotes, reminders, and goals on sticky notes on my ceiling and around my room. We can also ask others we trust to help keep us accountable in the process of enacting this change in our lives. Talking to friends, advisors, and parents is a great way to make sure we continue improving and striving to reach the goals we set for ourselves at convention or during any time in our life. We need to find ways that help us put the inspiration we gain in the huddle into action on the field. How will you choose to take action?

Stationed beneath the rising sun,

Katie Benson

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