National FFA Officer Candidate from Oilton Passionate About Making a DifferenceWed, 02 Oct 2013 17:29:08 CDT
The National FFA Convention and Expo kicks of October 30 in Louisville, Kentucky, and among the attendees will be Brandon Baumgarten of the Oilton FFA Chapter. Baumgarten has his sights set on being elected a national officer during the convention. He has been a state officer and is the past president of the Oklahoma FFA Association. He is currently a student at Oklahoma State University. He spoke recently with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays, and he will appear on this weekend's "In the Field" segment on News 9 about 6:40 a.m. Saturday. (You can hear their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
Baumgarten says he has a dream he wants to fulfill in Louisville.
"I truly want to make a difference in the lives of students, not only on the state but on the national level. I believe there is a difference to be made if we are willing to make it. And serving as a national officer was something that I dreamed about when I was a freshman and first thought 'Wow! How cool would it be to be a national officer some day?'"
Baumgarten is unusual in that when he joined FFA, there was nobody in his family that was remotely connected to agriculture. He got involved in public speaking, farm business management, livestock judging, and the state FFA chorus. He said he was thankful for those experiences and that further fueled his desire to be a national officer.
He said his first experiences as an attendee at the national conventions impressed upon him the power that that FFA members acting collectively possess.
"My mind was blown because you have 55,000 students that are assembled together all believing in the same thing, believing in the same purpose, believing in the same goals. And together you ignite that passion. You come together and realize the difference that can be made. And that's so encouraging. My parents are encouraged when they see it. I'm encouraged when I see it. It's motivating because you realize that there is hope for our generation."
He said that hope grew as he saw himself change by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded him in the FFA.
"I struggled believing in myself a lot of times. I struggled a little with public speaking. I didn't really have the structure to succeed, in my opinion. But when I first got involved I began to realize that I do have a chance, I do have an opportunity. I do have the opportunity to achieve my dreams if I'm willing to believe in them.
"The FFA instilled something in me: the love for agricultural education and a love for other people. Those things together, I believe, have created a passion that can't be tamed. And I will tell you that I'm more passionate about making a difference than ever have been before and that's because of my time spent in the FFA."
Our exclusive coverage of the 2013 National FFA Convention in Louisville is a service of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click here for more information about this youth organization. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
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