Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christmas in the Keys

Spending the holidays in the blustery Montana weather was apparently not an option for my folks.

We had been planning for a while (almost a full year) to spend Christmas '07 in the Florida Keys. Dad, Mom, Bro and me all packed shorts and t-shirts and boarded a plane.

The progression of pictures on the digital camera was snow, snow, snow, sun, sand and turf. One of the first days, we took a ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park which is 70 miles west of Key West.
It begs to question why the Union army would ever built a fort all the way out here. The fort was finished years after the civil war and never actually saw military action. Apparently, the mere threat of a substantial military presence in the Gulf was enough to prevent action from the Confederates. It created somewhat of an embargo.
It was later turned into a prison and housed famous inmates such as Dr. Samuel Mudd.
Just off the island are beautiful coral reefs and a host of aquatic life. We went snorkling to explore all of the areas.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The New Job

Philanthropy is interesting. I wish I was a millionaire...scratch that, a billionaire...just so I could give money away professionally. Until I win the lottery, I am resigned to work in the industry of philanthropy. At least I am working for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

I will be raising money for students who wear the blue jacket. Right now I feel like I'm floundering with little direction of what I should be doing on a daily basis but I'm learning quickly. It is a self motivated position and I like the freedoms I've been given to attack projects in my own way.
I work in a beautiful building on the northwest corner of Indianapolis and my job will have me traveling around as much as 30% of the time. In fact, I just returned from a tour of the mid-Atlantic region. It is still debatable what region of the country I'll be permanently assigned to. Either the northeast or the west, we'll see.I have been involved with FFA in a variety of positions but this is my first full time position with the organization. It is exciting though that I'll be working with the movers and shakers of the agricultural industry.

The giving structure of our foundation is unique with 90% of our funds coming from corporations and only 10% coming from individuals. This is reverse of typical philanthropic groups. What this means is that we get to work with presidents, vice presidents, and marketing executives from some of the top companies in American and international agriculture including Cargill, Monsanto, DuPont, and numerous others. It is neat that these companies who in the capitalist market compete on a regular basis have joined forces to support education and youth in America. For example, Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet all donate to us. How cool!?!

There is great intrinsic value in supporting youth leadership and agricultural education. These companies see it as an investment in the future of the industry, an investment in future employees, and an investment in future educated consumer and customer.

The job is an adjustment for me physically. Confined to a cubical all day will hopefully not have a significant impact on my waistline. Teaching never seemed like a physical job to me but at least I was always on my feet walking around. I was interacting with people more as a teacher as well. In my cubicle I kind of zone out and forget that other people exist. I'm an extrovert but I still miss the interactions that teaching afforded. Hopefully, I'll be able to strike a balance.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm Back!

It has definitely been a while! After a two month hiatus from the blog sphere, it could have easily been assumed that I dropped off the face of the planet. Not so!

Upon returning to the States I had the privilege of trying to manage my Internet needs with a dial-up connection which was not conducive to blogging. I'm set up now and have returned to the world of blogging but I'm not going to promise that my posts will maintain the regularity that they had this past year.

A lot has happened in the past couple of months and rather than trying to sum it all up eloquently I'll spend the next several posts giving events due credit and highlighting some of the major items and/or turning points.

One highlight was that while I was home I did get the chance to visit friends and family and enjoy some beautiful Monatana weather.