Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teammates for a year, Friends for a Lifetime

With 63 days, five hours, 59 minutes, and eight seconds left on our "Time Left to Impact FFA" clock, it's safe to say that time has flown by way too fast. This morning us girls were packing to go home for the weekend, but as we packed I started to noticed that we are slowly starting to move our extra clothes back home.  For me I'm not sure how to react, but for Kayla she is in complete denial. She told me that I shouldn't worry because when we come back on Monday she will have clothes to fill the empty areas in our closet.
Over the course of this year my teammates and I have had such a blast. My teammates are some of the greatest people I know. I would just like to take a moment to thank each one of them.

Allie, we have had some great talks while traveling to chapter visits and FFA events. I'm so glad to have someone to have deep conversations with about life and faith. Thank you for always being so positive you definitely knows how to brighten someone's day. You are a great friend and role model to many FFA members across the state of Indiana. 

Kayla, I admire you for your drive and your ability to focus, because even as I write this my mind is running in a million directions.  I never knew one of my best friends would live in the opposite corner of Indiana. Thank you for running with me and sharing my love for softball, even though we haven't really played much this year. I can't wait to come down to Posey county and learn how to shoot a gun, ride a four wheeler and do whatever else I miss out on up north.

Ethan, even though you and I are completely polar opposites I could have never asked for a better southern region vice president. I know I can always count on you for great fashion advice. You are also a very talented volleyball player and have made me enjoy volleyball again. You are going to be a great agricultural lobbyist one day.

Shelby, your love for America, Ted, soil judging and FFA is very evident. On our trip to D.C. I had the opportunity to get to know you even better. I noticed your fear of pigeons is definitely real! You are a blessing to this team always willing to get the job done when maybe no one else wants to. And you always know how to have fun!

Sarah, your dedication to your faith is something I have always looked up to. I'm so happy that I have someone who shares the same love for dance as I do. You are a great leader and I know you will be successful in whatever oath you decide to take.

Cameron, you have definitely been the prankster of the house. And you have a great taste and many different genres of music. You know how to have a great time.  Thank you for always being positive and always being bursting with energy. Just remember Cam you are sent from heaven:) haha.  

Thank you all so much for a great year and have a wonderful weekend home!

 
 
 

Just a fantastic picture of us at the Christmas Party
The night before our last camp (LDW)
Fall Pictures
 
National Convention
Will You Answer the Call? (LDW)
Our first Indiana Association Jackets1
 
Thank you all so much. I can't wait to see what the 63 next days hold for us!

Love you all,
Rebekah, Bekah, or to Cameron...., BECKY!!!!!!
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just Breathe

"Just breathe!" In the first week of district conventions, I have said this more times than I can count on 10 fingers. It's quite ironic since last year I would have been the one pacing in the hallway about to pass out. 

In the past two week, districts 5, 7, 4, 9, and 11 have all ran successful contests. Contestants, advisors, and district officers alike might be thinking "Pff easy for you to say!" But no need to plead the fifth here! I speak the truth. Answer these questions: Did a couple contests run long or off schedule? Did your judges leave comments on your score sheets? Did you and/or those in attendance enjoy their time catching up with old friends or make new ones? Were you exhausted by the end of the night? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you were a vital part of a successful contest!

Why? Well if you were at a convention where a contest ran over, be thankful for thorough judges. Be thankful that, even if a contestant was late or some other circumstance caused the contest to get off schedule, all entered contests got the opportunity to present the material they had worked so hard to prepare. 

If your scorecard looks like a judges ink pen exploded all over it, be thankful for the advice because trial and error is how we grow! The fact that you competed puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the person who stayed at home, no matter where you placed. 

FFA: Food, Friends, and Agriculture. We all know it's true. If you had the opportunity to mix and mingle with those attendance, you were at a successful contest!

If you were more than ready to go to bed after convention was over, then you did something right. Maybe it's because you stayed up all night finishing your project like Aaron and Caleb from McCutcheon. Maybe you spent the whole day walking back and forth down a 1/4 mile hallway to make sure all the rooms were ready like Kelly from Riverton Park. No matter what your convention prep story is, if you gave it your all physically and mentally, you were a piece of a successful contest. 

What determines a successful contest is not who walks away with plaques. It is what happened leading up to that first gavel tap and what happened before the last one.

I've been there. I know district convention causes advisors to wrinkle, parents to gray, and students to pull their hair out. But, even so, take advice from one with experience, one who has had total freak out moments, one who read the same Farm World articles multiple times to glean as much information as possible from them, one who turned every quiz bowl question in a Powerpoint slide so her team could practice: Just breathe. Remember, your brain needs oxygen to function. 


Do not let convention make you look like this...



Love,
Kayla

Look like this!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Week to Remember - FFA Week 2014

As many of the followers of the Indiana FFA may know the week of February 15-22, my teammates and I celebrated National FFA Week. As we prepared for FFA week I spent a lot of time reminiscing on all of the great memories that I had made during FFA Week throughout high school. My high school FFA Weeks were some of the best weeks I had during high school and I was so excited that I had the chance to spend another year celebrating as a member. One of my favorite FFA week activities in high school was Tractor Day. My senior year my great friend, Harlee and I rode my Dad's cab-less Case IH Tractor to school on one of the coldest winter days… I still remember jamming to Florida Georgia Line's famous song 'Cruise'! 


Harlee and I after we made it to the school my senior FFA week!
I was blessed to spend National FFA week in Northeast, Indiana within some of District II, III, and VI. Not having any idea of what to expect, my schedule quickly filled with speaking engagements, classroom sessions, and various activities that chapters were hosting. At the beginning of FFA week, I was honored to introduce Governor Mike Pence at the Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast! It is so hard to select my favorite memory from such a fantastic week.

Throughout this blog find pictures and quotes from the Indiana FFA State Officers with highlights from our National FFA Week experience.


Ethan McNeely the State Southern Region Vice-President said that "the Monday of FFA week was absolutely amazing for me! We met at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture with its new director, Ted McKinney, and other ISDA staff before meeting with Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. While in the Lt. Governor’s office, we discussed our upcoming project based on promoting agricultural education as STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Afterward, we had a luncheon with ISDA staff and some of the Lieutenant Governor’s Cabinet. Throughout we mingled, and interviewed with Hoosier Ag Today. At the time, I had no idea my interview on the Lt. Governor and State Officer Project would end up being shared on Facebook by Dr. Marcos Fernandez, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs at Purdue University. It was so exciting to see our work to advocate for agricultural education at the state house beginning to spread amongst others!" Ethan spent his FFA Week in Central Indiana. 

On Monday of FFA Week, the Indiana FFA State Officers were also presented with a Resolution declaring it National FFA Week in Indiana by the House of Representatives. Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Affairs was quoted saying that the “Indiana FFA plays a very important role in Hoosier agriculture as it prepares new generations of leaders in this vital part of our state’s economy.” 

Shelby with the Tri-County FFA Chapter for Euchre Night!
Shelby Sigman the Indiana FFA State Reporter spent her FFA week in District I and parts of District II. Amongst spending the week in Northern Indiana, Shelby participated in numerous chapter events. Shelby and I were even fortunate enough to go skiing with the Tri-County FFA chapter on Saturday of FFA Week. 

Rebekah Frey the Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice-President's FFA week was spent in District V and VI. Rebekah stayed busy facilitating chapter visits, petting zoos, and various planned FFA activities at many schools in central and northern Indiana. 
Rebekah bowling with the Norwell FFA Chapter! 
FFA Week was the first time our team had been completely on our own to travel from school to school and to present classroom curriculum. Thankfully chapter visits and district kick-offs which we did in pairs in the fall were good practice in preparation for a very busy but amazing FFA Week for the Indiana FFA State Officer team. Kayla spent her FFA week in Districts XII and most of District XI. The pictures and captions below are from Kayla's National FFA Week! 

"I spent my Tuesday helping the East Central FFA educate their school about animal agriculture. All the animals,  which included goats, sheep, calves, piglets, rabbits, and chickens, were brought in by FFA members. Even though Keith's calves kept trying to milk my hand,  I had a blast hanging out with this chapter and their school! After the Broken Bucket Basketball tournament between Hope FFA and Columbus FFA on Wednesday evening, a group of the Columbus young ladies invited me to eat supper with them. These girls found one of the ways to my heart: they took me to eat Mexican! They also earned a place in my heart from all the gut wrenching laughs we shared that night! Thursday night, the Batesville FFA hosted a 'gun' show! Not really. It was was a hay bale throwing contest. I was pretty proud of my 8 ft throw, even though the longest throw of the day was twice that. After the contest I got the opportunity to chat with and get to know their skilled officer team." - Kayla Hoenert, Indiana FFA State Secretary

District X hosted Cameron during FFA week! 

"FFA week has been one of my favorite memories of this year. It may  have been because of the amazing people, the awesome food or maybe the  fact that it was a time that validated what I want to do for the rest  of my life. During my classroom visits I felt a sense of ease and  excitement. FFA Week 2014 made me that much more  excited to become an  Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. Thank you to everyone who I had  the opportunity to meet during FFA week and for making it EPIC!" - Cameron Frazier, Indiana FFA State Treasurer


Sarah spent her FFA week in Districts IV and VII! Below Sarah shares her favorite FFA memory. 

"My favorite FFA memory during FFA Week would have to be spending the entire day with the McCutcheon FFA Chapter for their ABC's of Agriculture petting zoo.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with the members and taking pictures of all the groups of elementary students that participated.  I also really enjoyed spending time after school hours with the members, where they took me to the igloo for the very first time where I enjoyed a delicious vanilla coke. A day filled full of friends, fellowship, and advocating agriculture; it was perfect!" - Sarah Dirksen, Indiana FFA State Sentinel

It was great spending a week traveling across the State visiting with passionate Indiana FFA members. I was thoroughly impressed by all of the FFA week events that I went to, it was evident that our members bleed blue and gold. My FFA Week came to an end by partaking in a long time tradition with the North Miami FFA Chapter... church, lunch at Pizza Hut, and laser tagging! It was a great way to reflect, unwind, and have a great deal of fun before heading south to head back to the Indiana FFA Leadership Center. 


Attending church with over 45 North Miami FFA members.
My teammates and I collectively visited over 75 Indiana FFA Chapters and traveled 6,888 miles throughout the state. FFA week was one of the best weeks of my life and I am truly thankful that I had the opportunity to spend it with Indiana FFA members in Northeast Indiana!
Forever bleeding National Blue & Corn Gold, 
Allie Abney
Indiana FFA State President
2013-2014



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Look in Our Office

Have you ever heard that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they keep their room or maybe their car? One day Shelby pointed out how different each of our desk spaces are... Her thought really got me thinking. Trust me, we spend a LOT of time at our desks. Time that consist of writing curriculum, checking emails, working on our online classes and of course checking social media.

I started with my desk, which usually consists of piles of receipts, but today has FFA Week prep, LDW prep and my Communication 114 class work. Looking past the papers on my desk I see candy, Chewy Sweet Tarts, left over from the movies the other night. On my cork board I see pictures that remind me of home, friends, my FFA Chapter, and pictures of the day I found out I would get the chance to serve as an FFA state officer. Next to the cork board is a small metal dry erase board that sometimes get used and other times hangs there as decoration. Under that, taped on the wall are various quotes that remind me to stay humble. Lastly, I notice that my desk seems organized. Well on a good day...

Next is Sarah's desk, which we jokingly call the most boring desk in the office. When I took a closer look, I noticed pictures mostly of her family and friends. A wooden cow that was undoubtedly left by a former state sentinel resides there as well. At the beginning of our year, there was a list of possible churches that she could attend while being away from home. I think simplicity describes Sarah's desk and her way of life.


Beside Sarah's desk is Shelby's. We're not sure who came up with the spacing, but the reporter's desk is by far the smallest. You can usually find Shelby burning something - I mean anything from paper to pens. I think she's taking this whole Ignite thing to the next level. Looking at her desk the first thing that catches my eye is her GIANT computer screen, where she can be found watching The Lord of the Rings. Another thing that I see is her love of America displayed by the small flag on her cork board, the flag in the window and the stocking cap next to her screen. Shelby is definitely one of a kind. 


Moving onto Ethan's desk, which you can tell is a little over the top. The fact that it's January 21st and his Christmas decorations are still up is a question all its own. Looking past the Christmas decor I see his big picture from state fair that reminds him of how far he's come in his FFA career. Also notes from camps remain on his desk. I'm pretty sure he even went through some today. Although this is known as the most unused desk in the office, it still has a character all its own.  


The Northern Region Vice President is stationed by the window. Well in this case. Bekah's desk can be described as an artist's desk. At this space in the office you can find her working on an art project. Whether it be a present for someone, a doodle or even something for an up coming camp, art has been made there. In the window sits a little metal dancer. On her cork boards displays pictures of her family and her days in high school. On the other, art work from NLCSO (National Leadership Conference for State Officers) that was drawn on the table during sessions is hung up, art from our own camps, and a piece of art reminding her of her faith. Oh and a random picture of a cat. An artist desk that reflects just that but she seems to always know where everything is.  
                             

Following Bekah's desk is Kayla's. The typical secretary desk in my book, by that I mean she has notes for everything what she needs today, tomorrow, next week and probably even the one after that. I also see some DIY projects scattered across the space like window with lights, her weekly schedule board thing and the flowers in her vase. I think someone really likes Pinterest, cough, cough, Kayla. I see some pictures of her year as a state officer on her board along with the thousands of sticky notes. Lastly you can always find her computer open working on the next deadline for camps, the Impact magazine or school work. That is one desk that is definitely USED.


The last desk in the office belongs to Miss Allie Abney. Her desk can be described as in your face, super colorful and full of expression. You know the saying a pictures worth a thousand words? Well Allie literally has a thousand pictures. They may be on her board or her digital picture frame that is always zipping through, or on her Mac when we is reminiscing through old photos. Another thing I notice about her desk is all the words of wisdom in the form of several quotes on her wall. Quotes that can be used in any situation in life. I also see her love of the FFA, her Belted Galloway Cattle, and cheetah print. 
                             


The office of the 2013-2014 Indiana FFA State Officer Team is a place that of course work gets done, stories are shared, random dance parties take place, some team meetings happen, but above all a place where memories are made.

Forever Blessed,
Cameron Frazier
State Treasurer



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrate!


I realized today that I reached 500 tweets. Went from no social media to 500 tweets in 6 months whoo! And just as I was about to tweet about it, I thought to myself “Is this really the mile marker I want to celebrate right now? Seriously Kayla?” No, no it is not. 2013 was never about the number of Facebook friends I had or the number of people who followed me on Twitter or Instagram. For me, today is about celebrating all the dreams I have reached and the goals I am closer to achieving. It is about realizing that I stuck to goals from freshman year all the way to senior year and actually made them a reality. Now as everyone says in their “Year in Review” posts, 2013 was not all roses. But today I am celebrating those things, too. I saw a quote recently that said “Failure is not the end. It is a step.” Today I am rejoicing for those steps.

And, as in every typical “Year in Review” post, there is the New Year’s resolution at the end. But mine is simple: to just be the best that I can be. For me, I don’t need the start of a New Year to set some new resounding goal. But it is a great time to recharge and prepare to continue along my path with an amped up and zealous attitude. I’m not scoffing at people who set flamboyant New Year’s resolutions. If you do, I sincerely hope that you stick to it and reach every resolution you set for yourself. But don’t forget that each new day is a chance to better yourself in some way, shape, or form. In 2014, do not wait for 2015 to set new goals for yourself. Start right then and there!

What will you celebrate today? Most importantly, will you celebrate these things not only today, but for the next 365 days and beyond? How will you guarantee that each new day is an opportunity to make a better you for yourself, for Indiana, and for the future of agriculture?
see Evansville WAY down at the bottom!? do you think we could do something like this for Michigan?

Love you all,

Kayla

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Season of Giving

As I left the Indiana FFA Leadership for the last time for 2013, Ethan, Shelby, and I made our way south through the rainiest rainy weather we had ever seen to help the Crothersville FFA Chapter with their 25th Annual Toy & Food Drive. Not having any idea of what to expect, I soon felt right at home when we arrived as everyone was gathered within Ms. Maxis's, Crothersville FFA Advisor's, classroom eating a home cooked breakfast before the festivities started. 

As I visited with many of the members that I had previously met earlier in the year and making new friends,  a group of the Crothersville FFA chapter officers led me to their gym to show me where all of the boxes they had prepared to deliver were. It was incredible… the gym was completely packed with food and toys for 93 families within their community. They raised over $10,000 to buy all of items to make 93 bundles which were prepared for peewee, small, medium, and large families. Madison Isenhower, Crothersville FFA Chapter Secretary, said "we will get emails, letters, phone calls, and sometimes some people will even come to the school" to figure out which families are most in need within the Crothersville community.



Pictured below is what a large family in need would receive. 


They also passed out fruit baskets to over 165 families who have lost a loved one. Crothersville FFA purchased all of their fruit for the baskets from the Brownstown FFA Chapter. 



FFA members had been hard at work since the last drive ended, raising money from various events such as their annual craft show. FFA members spend hours sorting the food and toys into categories according to the different sizes of families, preparing fruit baskets, and making delivery plans prior to the delivery day. 

Delivering the items was the easy part and it was great to see the community come together to truly help those in need. The volunteer firefighters of Crothersville participate in helping deliver to the families and because of the rain, we were not able to ride on top of the big firetrucks, so instead we rode in trucks and various SUVs packed full of items or FFA members. The Jackson-Jennings Co-op even allowed the chapter to borrow a stock trailer. Pictured below is the local Sheriff's SUV full of items for a family as well as the stock trailer with items for about 6 families. 



Helping deliver food and toys to various families within Crothersville was one of the most humbling experiences I have had serving as an Indiana FFA State Officer. I asked Madison why she loved this event so much and she responded with, "it's all the happy faces and everyone being so thankful for everything they get! All the chapter members that show up to help is such a great way to show leadership and getting to experience all the weather situations…". 

The families receiving items from the toy & food drive were surprised, happy, and thankful. I am blessed to have spent the day with the Crothersville FFA chapter truly putting the last line of the FFA motto, living to serve, to action within their community. Everyone deserves to have a Merry Christmas and for 25 years the Crothersville FFA Chapter has made sure of that. 

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7


Merry Christmas Indiana FFA members, thank you for blessing my teammates and I with a great first half of the year! 

Full of good cheer,

Allie Abney
Indiana FFA State President
2013-2014

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tis the Season

Today is the day. Today that clock rolled over to show that we were exactly halfway done with our year of service. It’s hard to believe it! It seems like just a week ago that we were anxious State Officer candidates waiting to find out who the nominating committee selected to serve the over 10,000 members of the Indiana FFA. It seems like several days ago we were living at the state fair and enjoying all kinds of deep fried foods. It seems like yesterday when we were on our three week tour of the state for chapter visits and district kickoffs. I guess it’s crazy how time flies when your having fun! As I look back at the last six months of serving as the Indiana FFA State Reporter, I have so many memories. From the good, like when we got the opportunity to go underground zip lining on our fall retreat, to the bad, like when our gavel tap photo went public, I can honestly say that I have been so blessed and have enjoyed every second that the last six months had brought me.



            I told one of my friends that my term was halfway over and he responded with a simple question: What are you going to do with the half that you have left? Simple but loaded. I’ve been looking at it all wrong. I noticed that my year was halfway over not that I have a half of a year ahead of me. So what am I going to do with it? Hopefully I’ll get to see a lot of familiar faces and meet some new ones. Hopefully I’ll get to visit some chapters and be shocked and in awe at the amazing programs that cover the state. Hopefully I’ll make more memories with the 10,000 amazing Indiana FFA members. Oh but those are all maybes. You want to know what I’m really going to do with my remaining 182 days? You’ll just have to wait and see.






With Love,


Shelby Sigman
Indiana FFA State Reporter