Ohio FFA members told to direct their own life-script

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Curtis Zimmerman, keynote speaker

(Our convention coverage continues. Check back for award coverage, etc.)

COLUMBUS — When you go on stage before more than 6,000 people — you need a good plan — a good script — about everything you’re going to say and do.

No one knows that more than the Ohio FFA officer team, which kicked off the 87th Ohio FFA Convention April 30, after months of preparing and practicing.

Building on that same idea, motivational speaker Curtis Zimmerman challenged FFA members to “live life at performance level” — even when they’re not on stage.

“You’re all writing a script — you’re all writing a show — it’s called your life,” he said. “Be the director of your life — have control of the next stage of your life.”

Zimmerman, a Los Angeles native who now lives in Cincinnati, is used to writing scripts for his many speeches and presentations.

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Simon Says …

Part of his script for FFA members included a stellar game of Simon Says, in which he had about 5,500 people turning in circles, putting their hands in the air, and touching the floor, until he ended up with only three members still in the game — who were each awarded a book that he authored.

Zimmerman, who has performed at places like Universal Studio-Hollywood, and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, challenged FFA members to take new challenges — even if it means being uncomfortable.

“The only time you’re growing and changing and becoming is when you feel just a little bit uncomfortable,” he said. “… I call it jumping off the cliff.”

He said FFA members need to edit out the “crazymakers —” those people and past events that bring them down — and get passionate about their potential.

Zimmerman closed his speech with personal anecdotes about how he rose above the circumstances of his own childhood, which was marked by alcohol and drug abuse, a mother who was married six times and siblings “all with a different last name.”

Charitable giving

One of the ways Ohio FFA got passionate this past year was through charitable giving.

Members donated nearly $50,500 to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, and almost $17,000 to CROP Church World Service.

“What you have done will make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children throughout the state of Ohio,” said Ashton Shlagel, of Nationwide Children’s.

Feeding the hungry

Also while at convention, more than 400 members helped package more than 88,000 meals for the Ohio FFA Fights Hunger program.

“We as Ohio FFA members don’t only see the potential to serve others, we act on that potential, too,” said Ohio FFA President Sydney Snider.

The Ohio FFA Convention continues today, May 1, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

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Chris Kick served Farm and Dairy's readership as a reporter for nearly a decade before accepting a job at Iowa State University Extension. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University.

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