In the fifth meeting of Youth Leadership Highlands, we ventured out to the far reaches of
Highlands County for agriculture day. Our first stop was Happiness Farms, a caladium business,
based in the caladium capital of the world—Lake Placid. We learned that location is a key factor
in any occupation, as the city’s year-long heat and humidity provide ideal conditions for
caladiums, allowing them to thrive and flourish. Yet caladium enjoyment is not limited to Florida,
thanks to Happiness Farms, which ships caladiums all over the world.
After we were enlightened to caladium growth and production, we journeyed to Delray Farms in
Venus. We toured the acres of decorative plants and learned the importance of planning ahead,
as some of the plants there take years to grow, which calls for great deal of scheduling and
organization. The expansive variation and abundance of plants was particularly remarkable, and
the efficient management was equally impressive. To conclude our visit, Delray farms kindly
gifted each of us an exquisitely beautiful plant.
The final stop on our excursion was the Smoak Ranch, when the weather produced a minor
obstacle. While God watered the Earth, we were educated about cattle and citrus businesses.
Before long, the skies cleared and we were able to explore the grounds. We traveled a short
distance into the tree-line, where a chain was tightened around three trees, and we were
instructed to pair up with someone of equal height. Then, we had to stand on opposite sides of
the chain and grip each other’s hands, leaning inward as we crossed the line. This taught self-
discipline, as instinct told us to rush across or lean outward, which only would have resulted in
failure. When standing on the chain, it takes a great deal of discipline to lean inward and take it
slowly, yet this is the way to success. In life, we need the same self-discipline to take our time
and to do things the right way, no matter how difficult it may be.
Once again, Youth Leadership Highlands has provided us with imperative skills and a wonderful
experience that we will never forget.