Ever go back to a place that you used to visit as a kid and have one of those deja vu moments? That's exactly what happened to me at the Florida Trail Days and Annual Conference event a couple of weeks ago.
Here's a little bit of background info on the event - the Florida Trail Days and Annual Conference is a gathering put on by the Florida Trail Association. It's a gathering of Florida hiking and outdoorsy-type folks, most being members of the FTA. It's a really great event filled with seminars, group hikes, notable guest speakers, kayak demos - you get the idea, right? Speakers included famed Florida landscape photographer Clyde Butcher and authors Sandra Friend, Johnny Molloy, and Bill Belleville.
So where is the deja vu moment, you ask? Well, the event was held at the Future Farmers of America Leadership Training Center in Polk County. As a youngster in middle and high school I used to come here quite often for FFA events, but of course that was some years ago! After high school, I hung up the blue-and-gold corduroy jacket, but held on to the values and leadership skills that I learned from my time in FFA.
As soon as I saw the building, I felt transported back to my youth. I heard and felt those old memories in my head resurface, and I felt comfort in visiting a place that I know helped to shape me into the person I am today. I closed my eyes, remembered the faint diesel smell of an old school bus, heard the chatter of kids talking about things that seem so important when you are that age, and felt excited to be going somewhere, anywhere. During a guided night hike, we listened to the sounds of nature, and this hike was exactly the same as I remember them being as a kid. Nice!
So, returning to 2010, here's a short video clip of some of the events going on at Florida Trail Days. I believe the event will be at the FFA Leadership Training Center again next year, and I look forward to more deja vu moments!