Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Supporters and Role Models--Thank 'em!!

This past weekend, the Michigan FFA Association lost a very important and influential person from its family. Mr. Rich Karelse, who served as the Michigan FFA State Advisor from 1972 until 1997, passed away Saturday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He will surely be missed by all of those teachers, faculty, state officers, FFA members, industry representatives, etc. that had the pleasure to work with him during their experiences with the Michigan FFA Association.

Mr. Karelse's passing has sparked many thoughts within me the past few days about the value of role models and supporters in our lives. Throughout my involvement in numerous activities, I have been blessed to be surrounded by individuals that have been there every step of the way--ultimately molding me into the person that I am today. Whether that was my parents, siblings, coaches, teachers or friends, my support circle is a huge reason that I have accomplished all of the things I have.

Who is your role model or supporter? Is it your parents that have offered advice when you didn't know what to do? Perhaps it is an older peer that has shown you the ropes of a new activity or in a new place. Who knows? It could be the group of friends you hang out with day in and day out and drive you crazy, but who you know you could never live a day without. Have you thanked them for all they do? Are they aware of the impact they've had on your life and successes?

I often wonder if people like Mr. Karelse know all the people they've touched. In most cases, probably not. I'll admit it, I don't say thank you to all my teachers, friends, coaches, etc. for everything they do. Frequently we take that selfless assistance for granted, never voicing our appreciation for their countless hours of advice-giving, driving, cheering, praying and so much more that some of us will never know. While it may not be possible to thank them all, with this blog I would like to take a second to thank all of the people that have supported me. I encourage you to do the same!

In a few days I will be heading to Louisville, Kentucky for this year's National Junior Summer Spectacular show. We are expecting record breaking numbers, having over 650 youth and 1100 gilts registered for the NJSA's largest event! This event not only brings together kids to show pigs, but also encourages the growth of youth as role models and supporters for each other. Many older members will act as mentors to their"protege's"in the MVP (Mentoring Values People) program, showing them the ropes of an NJSA show and becoming friends--because who didn't want to be friends with a cool older kid when you were little?! It's always great to see programs like this foster relationships that could last a lifetime.

With that, I'm out until next time!

P.S. Thank your supporters! :)

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