Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My FFAmily

Exactly three months and ten days ago I was elected Kansas FFA State Secretary and man has time flown by. These three months have been filled with new opportunities, countless new friends, and the joining of six friends who have become more like family.  In fact, let me describe to  you what I have learned about these amazing individuals.

Growing up in the same town as Karl and going to the same chapter with him, you could say we were already like family. We have been friends for years and hang out on a regular basis. Bailey, on the other hand, is the one person on the team that I didn’t get to know extremely well in the interview process, but in past three months I have found that she is one of the hardest working and kindhearted people I know. I also learned she is absolutely obsessed with cats and dogs. Lane has been a great person to build a friendship with. He is always looking for new people to create and sustain relationships with, which I believe is truly important in a friend. Kyler Langvardt is always thinking of something that we can do to make our team or any situation better. He is credited with editing and creating all of our videos, and he is hilarious at night when he becomes tired. Last, but certainly not least, is Gabryelle. This girl is fun to work with and makes every situation we have as a team a blast. We also are awesome at dueting any song together.

Working and spending time with these 5 individuals has made my life so much more interesting and enjoyable. I have to admit sometimes we are enjoying each others company so much that we don’t accomplish our work in the most efficient way. I can assure you though, that Kansas FFA is in good hands because the State Officer team has a passion for our members and we work together as a family to share that passion.

Now that I have explained how agriawesome, my teammates, let me tell you a little about myself. I have two amazing parents, Dennis and Eunice, and one wonderful brother, Dillon. My father works for the City of Holton Water Department and also farms. My mother is a 6th and 7th grade Special Education Teacher in Holton, and my brother just graduated from KU medical center this spring with a degree in Health Information Management.

I first joined FFA because my older brother was in it, but the first part of FFA that got me hooked was the FFA Creed. Studying those five paragraphs is what ignited my passion for FFA and I still love discussing the Creed today. My proudest accomplishment in FFA would be being on the 2014 Champion Horse Judging Team at National Convention. My favorite SAE would be my small cow/calf operation. In this operation I run nine pairs and one bull on a rotational grazing system. My ultimate goal is to have a registered Angus and SimAngus herd.

My favorite sport in high school was football, but I had terrible hand-eye coordination so I never got to touch the ball. Instead, I was an offensive guard and easily the smallest lineman on the team.  I was also actively involved in FCA, Student Council, the Jackson County Youth Coalition, Golf, and I enjoyed volunteering at the Heart of Jackson Humane Society. Other than FFA, my all time favorite organization has been 4-H. I love showing cattle and hogs at the county fair, and I was ecstatic to experience showing at Jackson County’s brand new fairgrounds.

As we wrap up, keep in mind that the relationships we build in FFA and other organizations can lead to friendships that last a life time, and some friends that become more like family.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Czech All Out

              This spring break, many of my friends were leaving Kansas to go to Colorado, Mexico, or Florida. I, however, was headed to Cuba. Yes, Cuba—Cuba, Kansas. Growing up in my hometown is definitely much more of a blessing than a curse. Ironically enough, Cuba is only about 20 miles away from Washington and is in the Republic (County, that is). I do live a mile away from Cuba, but there will never be a community that is closer to my heart. Cuba was founded by predominantly Czech immigrants. Cuba, Kansas is a small community of only 150 people.  We may be small, but we are mighty. A sign reading "Czech Us Out" greets the travelers of 36 highway as they pass.  Cuba has been featured twice in National Geographic and once on CBS Sunday Morning. I stole my first piece of bubble gum from The Cuba Cash Store, and I shortly after learned that thievery was wrong (after my mother found out, I personally paid the store owner and admitted my fault). I established a faith in God at the Cuba Presbyterian Church. I was developed into a man in Cuba, Kansas.
Every year the community of Cuba, comes together to celebrate the Cuba Rock-a-thon. Despite the name, the Rock-a-thon is not the largest Rock and Roll festival in North Central Kansas. Forty year ago, the Rock-a-thon began in the local laundry mat with a single rocking chair. The Rock-a-thon has raised over $547,000 for community improvements for Cuba. For a week, the Rock-a-thon provides meals, informational and comical entertainment, community cooperation, and 318 hours of continuous chair rocking. Whether one is five years old or 105, members of the community always look forward to rocking in those sacred chairs. Although, it’s not the rocking in the chairs that everybody gets so excited about annually. The rocking is just a symbol and a small part of the tradition of devotion and love for the community.
              During this year’s Rock-a-thon, I definitely gained a greater appreciation for my community. The thing about Cuba, though, is that we aren't anything special. Much like any great community, it’s not the buildings, great streets, or job opportunity that make Cuba amazing, but it’s the people. We are just a community who cares. If it wasn't for the support through the community, I can firmly say that I would have never even considered running for state office. Rural communities provide valuable experiences that are unique from urban areas.
              During my travel to South Africa, one of the most valuable pieces of information I took away occurred while visiting the Kliptown Youth Project. Kliptown is a small village outside of Johannesburg and is one of the most poverty stricken areas of South Africa. Even though they may not have a lot and even struggle to obtain the bare essentials, they urged the 75 American State FFA Officers to not feel sorry for them. They have each other, and that is stronger than any monetary or gift donation that can be given. Finally, they insisted that instead of returning to Kliptown to assist their development that we should return home and impact our communities first.

             We all come from a community—a community that cares about us and has molded us into who we are today.  Take time to identify those individuals in your life. If you want to see what your future holds, look at your five closest friends—your community. If those individuals have high integrity, are successful, and caring, then you are more likely to have those qualities. However, if those people are unmotivated, inconsiderate, and selfish, I encourage you to consider some challenging decisions in your life. More than anything, provide that community for others. I will never be able to have the impact on Cuba that it’s had on me, but I will sure give it my best effort. Whether your community is in rural Kansas, New York City, or just your closest friends, identify those individuals and thank them. Finally, spend purposeful time strengthening and "Czeching out" your community.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Words, Words, Words

              With the conclusion of 2014, I can say without regrets that it was my greatest year yet. The conclusion of high school brought sorrow, but opened the door to opportunity. Just beyond high school graduation, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve the Kansas FFA Association. Then, attending Kansas State University was a new path for me. New schedules, new priorities, and new relationships developed. Among all of that, the biggest burden that I faced was the realization and independence of purchasing Christmas gifts for friends and family. Christmas is expensive. There is no way around it. This year my wallet took the biggest hit it has ever taken during the Christmas Season. Though, this increase in spending is because I have more people in my life that care about me. I believed that the way to express my gratitude was show it by the dollars I spent. However, the most valuable gift I received this holiday season cost no money at all.
              Every year, all 31 members of the Hadachek family participate in a secret Santa gift exchange. Before each individual opens their gift, their “Santa” is required to say something about the recipient of the gift. Most of the comments made are jokes or funny memories, so I expected the same when it came my turn. I had suggested that my Santa get me a heavy duty water bottle for my trip to South Africa and many long walks on campus. Granted, I received the water bottle that I asked for, but as you can guess, the water bottle isn't what this story is about. My uncle, a former State FFA Officer, had drawn my name. Before opening my gift, he told me how proud he was of what I have accomplished, and it has been exciting watching me grow.
              We underestimate the power we have with words, positive or negative. With every new relationship I have formed, the conversations are what have strengthened the bond. Through every interaction I have had with Kansas FFA members, it is the stories that make each of them unique. There is a reason that leadership conferences hire professional speakers. Those stories inspire us to exceed our own expectations. Finally, words give purpose to the work that we do.
 “With great power comes great responsibility.”  This principal holds true in every situation. There are so many misinterpretations within the world today. Each one of those misinterpretations start with a small error of words. We must be cautious with comments towards others. Several sarcastic, rude, or unwary words can ruin a person’s day and discourage them. Likewise, our words, when used properly, can be a needed apology, and expression of gratitude, or a light in someone’s dark world.
For your New Year’s resolution, I leave you with a challenge. When you interact with friends, ensure that your conversation is constructive. Gain courage to mend relationships that may be broken. Before posting on social media, ponder over the meaning of the post in your drafts for an hour, read it to your mother, and if the message is still necessary and purposeful, post it. Tell your parents or guardians that you love them. Ask your grandparents about their life. Read a book. We have so much to learn from others, and words are the key to unlocking that potential.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Giving Thanks

Fall was cut short as snow fell over Manhattan on Saturday. For over a week students at Kansas State have been regretting not packing that extra coat on their last visit home. Also, across the state high school basketball practices have begun. Just like I miss the beautiful fall weather, I miss lacing up those basketball shoes and throwing on that practice jersey. One never realizes how fortunate they are in a situation until it’s gone.
Enjoy the little things and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. There were so many times that I dreaded going to basketball practice, because I always thought it would be so much easier to take a nap after school. However, basketball is just a sport. There are many other experiences that will come and go just as quickly as high school basketball. Seriously appreciate the time you spend with loved ones, whether that is your family members, a community, or friends. As Thanksgiving approaches, I challenge you to do three things:
1)      Think about the events in your life that you may not enjoy all of the time and find the purpose behind the effort you put into it.
2)      Thanksgiving Day, shut your phones off and have a conversation with those around you.
3)      Tell the people you care about the most how much you appreciate them being in your lives.

      Finally, understand that as certain things come to an end, there will always be a silver lining. As fall comes to an end, think about all of the new calves that are being born across Kansas. Though I may not see my friends from high school every day, I have built new friendships. Even though I will not be serving my community on our high school basketball team this year, I will be serving a much larger community in Kansas FFA.

What purpose are you serving? How do you show your appreciation for that purpose?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quitting Strategically

Change. It’s a wonder to think that everything in our life that we have resulted from some form of change. Whether it’s a change in our taste of music, a change in our daily habits, or a change in the people we associate with, that change will have some type of impact on our future. This past month I have joined the hundreds of thousands of college freshman who changed their living arrangements, study habits, and change in areas of focus.

In high school I focused immensely on sports. After school I would devote two and a half hours of my day to that specific sport that season. However, I underwent a change when I graduated high school, because, despite my five year-old aspirations, I will not be a professional football/basketball/baseball player. Now it seems that every spare moment of my life (outside of FFA) is focused on my academic materials.

“Never give up.” How many times have we heard this from our role models, teachers, or coaches? At the surface this seems like a motto worth following precisely. Although, if I hadn't given up my aspirations of a professional athlete, would I be studying Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State? In Seth Godin’s book The Dip he describes the difference between quitting within “the dip” and strategically quitting to begin something new. “The dip” is a natural occurrence that happens in an effort where there is no hope of success.

The truth of the matter is that not every idea we ever have is a great idea. As kids, almost everybody goes through the “running away from home stage”. After about an hour of boredom, loneliness, and hunger, we head back home, essentially quitting that idea for the best cause. However, if one were to abandon their hope of being an Ag. Teacher after one difficult Animal Science class, “the dip” has conquered another victim. On the contrary, if that individual can’t devote the hours needed to study for the class because of their involvement in too many organizations, then strategically dropping one of the organizations would be beneficial in the long run.

Think about how you devote your time throughout your days. Is it beneficial to your overall goal? If not, do not feel reluctant about defying the old adage of never quitting. There may be that friend in our lives that is holding us back for a number of reasons. Abandoning relationships can be difficult, but if they’re not constructive towards the future, then that relationship has a weak foundation and will crumble in the future anyway. Consider the activities you partake in. What are they accomplishing? Change is challenging, but once one begins to focus their efforts more wisely, success will come. Persevere through “the dip” and quit those unconstructive areas. All of that being said, I leave you with this quote, “Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt”- Seth Godin.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Race

“The real purpose of running isn't to win the race, it’s to test the human heart”- Bill Bowerman

 If there is one thing that you know about me, it’s that I do not like to lose. Especially on a summer night run and my competitor is my brother, Tim. A relationship with a brother is filled with many emotions, but competition is never more evident than with one particular night.  I knew that my 11 year old body was ready to finally beat my 18 year old brother. My plan was to hang with him at the beginning. Then make my move at the end.

We ran for what seemed three-quarters of a mile. I could see the end of the road, meaning our destination was in sight. I took off! It was my turn to show my speed. My brother strayed behind. He didn't have the strength to keep up with me, and my victory was eminent. However, my heart began to beat faster. My lungs started to struggle for oxygen, but I continued to accelerate. Then, I looked up. The target seemed no closer. I began to walk. I had built a sizable lead on Tim, so I decided a break wouldn't affect my goal. As he caught back up, my lungs, legs, and determination did not. I finished strong, but two or three minutes after the victor.

State Conference for Chapter Leaders is now completed. After three days, after fifteen workshops, and after over 300 students absorbed knowledge about Vision, Kansas FFA’s Vision became truly “possible”. Although, one point that must be emphasized is the goal we have for ourselves, for our chapters, or for any aspect of our lives cannot be achieved in a sprint. Just like my unsuccessful duel, even though I could see where I wanted to be, I lacked the knowledge on how to venture successfully. The unforeseen limits immobilized my efforts. When these limits find their way into our missions, we must not allow them to keep us down. We must follow the same advice my track coach always gave me, “Breath through your nose, and keep your legs moving.” These troubles we find in our journey cannot be walls in our way, but hurdles that we leap over. 

At the end of the night, I returned home. Though defeated, I lived to see another race. As we race towards our goals, we must know the “return point”: The place we go after downfall. Throughout this next year there will be defeat, but we cannot wander aimlessly on the side of the road following the tribulation (that would result in an encounter with a Mountain Lion). Whether that “return point” is our faith, our family, or our FFA chapter, we must identify it before we embark on our journeys.

No matter how big our goal is for ourselves, there are always steps that have to be taken to reach that goal. With running, it's one foot in front of the other (and many more chemical reactions that take place within my legs, but let's not get into details). In our goal towards having a successful career, our steps could be to complete high school, attend college, and gain work experience. With our FFA Chapters, it could be developing that Program of Activities, carrying out those events throughout the year, or creating a Vision and mission statement. Whatever steps we may be executing, do it with our best ability. Because one false step in a race, we will find ourselves face first in the ground and at the back of the pack. 

Finally,  this is the second time Kansas FFA has heard or read of my running conquests (I promise my running stories are depleted). I would like to take the opportunity to introduce what my race of life consists of:

1) I live in Cuba... No, not the country. Cuba, Kansas

Cuba is a primarily Czech community. Hada-Chek. Get it? 

2) In Cuba, I have lived 18 years with a fantastic and loving family.

3) With my family I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland this last year.
Just a small taste of agricultural life in Ireland.
What we woke up to every morning.
4)  I was heavily involved in sports, forensics, and band throughout my high school, but.....


This next year will be a race. A very quick race. Almost two months have passed since the state officers were elected. Every moment is just as thrilling as the last. I look forward to the opportunity of serving as Kansas FFA Secretary. Although, the members are what make this organization great. I have a very powerful Vision for Kansas FFA. In order to arrive at our destination, we must take it one member, one chapter, and one day at a time.

Kansas FFA, what steps will you take to reach your goal?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Curtain Call

It’s that time of the year, commonly known as the time of “lasts”. For those of us still in school, we become well accustomed to these lasts, and we welcome them. The last homework assignments, the last tests, and the last days of school before the sweet, sweet beginning of summer break. For some, these “lasts” may also carry a different meaning - the last time that we will step foot into our school as students, the last time we will hang out with our friends before going separate ways, and it may very well be the last time that some of us don the blue corduroy jacket as FFA members. What are some important “lasts” for you? What do they mean for your future?

I can think of a “last” happening very soon for myself. My final exams are next week, marking the last days of my freshman year of college. On the bright side, these final days count down to the time when I get to see some of the best dressed people in the State of Kansas wearing their blue corduroy as we kick off the 86th Kansas FFA Convention. There we will celebrate the last days of our year as Kansas FFA members, and my teammates and I will retire, as well as install the 2014-2015 State Officers.

As I think about stepping onto McCain auditorium’s stage to welcome Kansas FFA members in a few weeks, I think about the stage we all step onto when we take on a new task, or experience something new. Whether it’s going through high school, taking on a new job, or being a part of the FFA, we all have a part to play on that stage, and it’s beyond important that we perform to the best of our ability, for ourselves as well as the people watching.

No one knows exactly how long each scene will last on stage, but we all know that eventually the curtain must fall. The curtain signifies the end of a scene or act, and that the parts of the people on stage are done for a time. Now this may sound really philosophical at this point, but just like a play, we will all see the curtain fall at some point in our lives. For many around this time of the year, the curtain looks like the last day of school. And while I may not be able to see my curtain, I’ll know it when I hear the sound of the final gavel tap at convention.

If it’s anything that I’ve learned from my friends who have participated in plays and musicals, the curtain falling is nothing major. It happens so that the performance can move on, new scenes can develop, and new characters can be introduced. What are major, however, are our performances before the curtain falls. It is through our actions that we have an impact on those around us, and those that stand out and put forth the most effort and passion are the ones that are remembered. How will you be remembered? For your hard work? For putting in extra time to help out those around you? How can we all make sure that the impact that we make is remembered in a positive way?

At the end of the performance, an event called the “curtain call” occurs. A curtain call is when individuals return to the stage to be recognized by the audience for their performance. Think of it like a chapter banquet, or a graduation ceremony. This is the time that lets you be remembered for your passion, and the action that you took to achieve your goals. But who says that a curtain call is a short, temporary event? You might not be recognized for every single thing, but create an impact, and leave a legacy, that will set a standard for those behind you, letting your impact live on for years to come.

Kansas FFA, I’d like to give each and every one of you a curtain call. Being a part of this organization, I know that the fire that it can fuel resides in each of you, and the things that we all can accomplish together are immeasurable. But as you are recognized for what you accomplish, you are also challenged. I challenge all of you to not stop with what you’ve already done, and keep pushing ahead. I challenge you to never quit trying, and always seek improvement in yourself as well as in others. Play your part on the stage, and never quit performing, even if the curtain falls. The curtain always rises again, and lets everyone have their curtain call.

Kansas FFA, I am proud (and slightly sad) to say for the final time as your State Secretary, we out!