Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Road Ahead: What It Means to Be A NOC by guest blogger Matthew Dodson

The FFA jacket that Matt will
wear during his candidacy
[Editor's Note: We are proud to have the 2013 Pennsylvania FFA National Officer Candidate, Matt Dodson, share about his opportunity to run for National FFA Office]

At the end of June the Pennsylvania FFA Association held their 84th State Convention on the campus of Penn State University.  It was there that I received the honor of representing Pennsylvania FFA as the 2013 National Officer Candidate.  What exactly is a National Officer Candidate?  Every state has the opportunity to send one person each year to the National FFA Convention to run for a position on the National FFA Officer team.  Each candidate must go through an intense interview process which includes personal interviews, writing exercises, stand and deliver speeches, among other tasks.  At the end of the interview process, SIX candidates are chosen to represent the National FFA Organization for the next year.

[To Learn more about the National FFA Officer Selection Process, visit: ]
Until October, I will be spending plenty of time preparing for the process.  I will be going through practice interviews, meeting with business and industry leaders, and learning as much FFA knowledge as I possibly can.  In fact, from July 17th to the 21st I traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin to attend the FFA Alumni Development Conference getting to know some awesome FFA Alumni members and gaining skills to better advocate for the FFA Organization.  

So the big question is WHY do I want to become a National Officer…this is a question that a person should ask themselves when making any decision or pursuing any dream they may have.  To me being a National FFA Officer is an opportunity to serve.  This is something that is at the center of my passions and life principles.  Let me paint a picture of what this looks like and why it is so important.  One weekend I helped to chaperone our youth group's trip to Baltimore, Maryland to attend a Christian conference.  After attending one of the evening sessions, a youth whose name is Cesar had with him some leftovers from his meal that night.  While we were walking, he noticed that there was a homeless man sitting along the sidewalk not too far ahead.  Realizing that the man needed those leftovers more than he did, Cesar went up to the man and offered him the food.  Immediately the man rejected his offer.  Disappointed Cesar walked away wondering why the man had not accepted the gift.  This young man had what I call a heart of service; meaning that when he sees someone in need he does what he can to help out in a loving way.  It did not matter that his act of service was rejected; the important thing is that it was offered.  Too often, we forget what service means. 

In the FFA Organization, our motto states in the last line, "Living to Serve".  My heart of service is in representing FFA members and doing my best to provide them with quality opportunities to improve their lives and their future.  As we look to the future we face many challenges.  These young people need as much encouragement, support and mentorship as we can realistically provide them.  I strongly believe that each one of us has the opportunity and ability to make a difference.  Our heart of service determines where we make that difference.  So why do I desire to serve as a National FFA Officer?  My heart of service goes out to helping these young people strive to be the best they can be.  I believe in mentoring and supporting the future leaders of tomorrow...FFA members!
Alumni Development Conference-
Matt travels to various events as a NOC
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Matthew Dodson 

Guest Blogger

2013 Pennsylvania National

 Officer Candidate 

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