Addy, Aaron, Madi, Quentin, Trey, Garrett, Sydnie, Hunter and Taylor,
I saw you Saturday afternoon as you retired your office. I watched all those big emotions cross your face, if only fleetingly. Joy and sorrow. Triumph and pain. Energy and weariness. It’s one of the reasons why I stay in the shadows the final moments of convention…because my heart aches for you in those moments. And I hurt for me, because it means I have to let you go, just when we all hit our peak. It’s one of the hardest parts about my job…watching the little birdies leave the nest.
But you’re my team now. You will forever hold a piece of my heart, just as all the other teams I’ve coached over the last two decades do. Some of you will become my most cherished friends. Some of you will return to work next to me at future conventions. And some I will only keep up with through social media as life takes you in a different direction. But you are my people now. I will always be someone you can count on and I will always be in your court.
I know this week is weird. It’s hard to return to everyday life after convention. There are friends to reconnect with, homework to finish and sleep to catch up on. But it all feels a little…empty. Last week you were practically immortal, raised up on a pedestal for all the world to see and admire. And now…
It’s okay to feel a little lost. It’s okay to feel a little out of sorts. Because retiring your office is hard, y’all. It’s hard letting go of something you worked for and cherished with all your heart.
But this is not the end of your story. Each of you is beautiful and kind and blessed with amazing gifts that need to be shared with the world. Your state officer chapter has ended but there are many, many more chapters left to write for each of you. The past year has been amazing, but in no way are your best days behind you. You have so much more to give this world, and I for one, can’t wait to see what you accomplish.
FFA still needs you. That convention you just finished? It’s put on almost exclusively by past state officers and members. The scholarship you received? Donated by past members. This organization is only what it is because past members step up to help make it so. Remember that in the years to come and pay it back however you can.
Other organizations need you, too. There are groups out there thirsty for leaders and volunteers with your skills. Find one that fuels your passions and get involved. It won’t be the same as FFA. It just won’t. But you will find new things to be excited about, friends and work that fill your soul.
Take care of one another. No one else in this world can understand what your year of service meant like your teammates. Be there for each other, always.
And finally, thank you. Thank you for sharing your lives with me this year, for sharing your hearts with the other 3,000 Wyoming FFA members. It’s a big, hard job that in all reality doesn’t pay very well. But it’s an important job. Somewhere out there are members you inspired to step out of their comfort zone and work toward greatness. Those members will ultimately go on to serve as officers and lead and inspire others, just as you have. It’s a beautiful cycle that is at the very heart of service and FFA.
You are all welcome on my convention team next year, and in my home anytime. My life is so much more rich and full now that I’ve met the Brain, the Doer, the Musician, the Craftsman, the Teddy Bear, the Caretaker, the Writer, the Entertainer, the Friend.
Until next time,