National FFA Officer Piper Merritt of Oklahoma Prepares for a Busy Year Ahead Serving FFA MembersTue, 21 Nov 2017 11:33:22 CST
It has been close to a month now since Piper Merritt of Owasso, Oklahoma heard her name called during the installation of the 2017-18 National FFA Officer Team, during the National FFA Convention last month in Indianapolis. She has had that time in between to settle into the reality of the situation, but to this day, she says she still pokes her National FFA Officer jacket to make sure it is real. The Central Vice President of the National FFA Officer team sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays in studio this week, to talk about what FFA means to her, and what the year ahead holds in store. Listen to their complete interview, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
"I'm actually not used to it and I don't know that there ever will be a day when I am," Merritt admitted. "It is such an opportunity to serve in this capacity. We're told after, in our training that National Office is a big deal, but we aren't. That humility aspect of it is something that does make it seem a little less real every time I get to do something or represent FFA."
Merritt rose through the ranks in her home chapter at Owasso FFA. Eventually she would serve as a State Officer here in Oklahoma. It was from these experiences, especially those foundational ones starting in the 8th grade, that she credits with her success and motivation.
"I'm so proud to be from the Owasso FFA Chapter. It's my roots; it's my home," she said. "Going through the interview process, I still thought back to the lessons I've been taught through the years of experience with my ag teachers and I know I leaned heavily on their advice and respected their opinions."
While Merritt has had about a month to adjust and mentally prepare for the busy road ahead, it is really not fair to say. The fact is, since the moment her name was called that Saturday evening of National Convention, Merritt has been pulled in multiple directions, and at an incredible pace.
"Immediately after we're elected, we're pulled into a media room where we do about nine interviews and then we go into a reception with the past National Officer team," she said. "From there, we went into four days of training - and then, we were sent home to wrap up our college in- about two weeks."
Quite the task to accomplish just before Thanksgiving, no doubt, but she says she and her teammates are taking it in stride. During the month of December, though, the team will kick off their year with a working retreat in Indianapolis and in Arkansas, where they will develop their keynote and leadership workshops for the year, that will be presented at state conventions later in the spring. After a short Christmas break, the team will journey to Japan in January to gain an international perspective. Upon their return, the team will hit the road to attend various conventions and meetings with members.
It is Merritt's hope during the course of this next year, that she has the opportunity to learn something from everyone she meets and interacts with, and take advantage of every chance to spend time with members and learn not only how she can serve them now, but beyond this year as well.
"It is hard to unpack everything that the FFA means to me," she said. "It's kind of about finding our 'Why' - why we do what we do. I think for me, FFA has taught me how to live a life of purpose and to do that on purpose. I've learned what it means to find something that I'm passionate about and the FFA gives me the tools to pursue that. In my capacity, I became passionate about service leadership and FFA showed me a clear path on how I could do that."
Merritt will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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