Ohio FFA officer looks back at his year of service

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Ryan Matthews FFA
Ryan Matthews, an Ohio FFA state officer for 2016-17, reflects on his year, and how it changed him.

(Editor’s note: The Ohio FFA state convention is running May 4-5. We reached out to two Knox County FFA’ers — Abby Pozderac and Ryan Matthews — who have stretched their potential through FFA, serving as state officers, to hear their stories.)

By Ryan Matthews / 2016-17 Ohio state FFA vice president, at-large

It really didn’t dawn on me until Ohio FFA Camp that I was truly a state officer. It was at camp that I began to grasp the gravity of the position and how amazing the opportunity would be. Being surrounded by hundreds of FFA members is an incredible experience — and also a terrifying experience. You could say that it was trial by fire.

I was determined to go into camp and “make a difference.” My mentality for the year was set in stone and I was driven to “make a difference.” However, that whole outlook changed over the course of my summer at camp.

I learned two things at camp that set the tone for my year of service and set me on the path that I really needed to follow.

First of all, no one will ever be as confused as those poor FFA members were when they found out that there were two Ryan Matthews on the 2016-17 officer team.

Second, and more importantly, my year of service was as much about members making a difference in my life, as it was about making a difference in members’ lives. Workshops were not just about teaching others, but about allowing the class to teach and influence me.

Read more: Abby Pozderac: I will impact agriculture by educating tomorrow’s leaders

Serving others

To serve, I had to understand and help others find their purpose, but in order to truly serve members, I had to understand my own purpose first. I discovered, not what I want to be, but WHO I want to be.

In my opinion, the greatest concept I learned this year was how important it is to find who you want to be in this world.

How did I want my peers to see me and what kind of character did I want to display? I had to figure out what kind of legacy I wanted to leave and how I could use my talents to impact others.

My fellow FFA members changed my life. It is because of them that I was able to discover WHO I want to be in this world and what my purpose was — to help others discover who they want to be and what legacy they want to leave. Once I knew who I wanted to be and what my real purpose was as an officer, I was able to “Transform” my “Purpose” into actions.

As my year has progressed, I have changed my whole outlook on my position as an officer. I changed my mentality from “make a difference,” to “help others make a difference.”

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help others discover who they want to be and transform their purpose into action, and I am excited to see how members all over the state are impacting and transforming agriculture.

(Ryan Matthews is an FFA’er from Fredericktown High School in Knox County, Ohio. He served as a 2016-17 state FFA vice president, at-large.)

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