If these walls could talk what story might they tell?
Would they share the story of an industry that has changed? An industry that has grown and adapted? Would they share the story of an industry that, no matter the circumstance, can rise from the ashes and meet the challenge of feeding, clothing, and supporting a growing world, an industry that believes in the power of its youth?
In 1988, out of the pole framework of a barn, and because of the efforts of volunteer agriculture teachers, emerged the Indiana FFA State Officer House.
The house has provided a foundation for food, faith, and family for 26 teams.
If these walls could talk they would share the stories of the legends that have spent their days in the house. Outstanding individuals like National FFA Presidents Mark Timm, 1989-1990, and Travis Park, 1990-1991or Indiana’s last National Officer Tyler Tenbarge in 2006-2007.
They would express the joy of housing members like, Lisa Moss Chaudion, Indiana FFA’s first female State President and Advisor, or Joe Kelsey, former Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
Throughout its history, 3 Indiana FFA Executive Directors, 3 Indiana FFA Foundation Directors, all Program Specialists, and 26 agriculture teachers have called these walls their home.
These walls would share about individuals who entered the doors of the house and grew to be top of their class graduates, student body Presidents’, business leaders, scientists, lobbyists, and key proponents for agriculture.
If these walls could talk, would they speak of individuals who joined as one not for the sake of themselves, but for the future of an organization?
They would scream out the story of how seven completely different individuals could learn to love, to grow, and to serve.
They would speak of tears of fear, of joy, tears of frustration, tears of empathy, tears of happiness, tears for knowing that you are part of something more.
They have been onlookers for the thrill of victory and the sigh of defeat. They would express lessons learned, plans that fell through, and teams that pushed on no matter what.
They would share the moments of sadness, the moments the officers struggled, or when the loss of a member of friend shook the team to its core.
They would be sure to include the hysterical times; the times when officers stayed up late watching movies, or the constant bickering of loving siblings. They would share the times when officers, members, family, and State Staff gathered and shared a time of comradery.
They would include the emptiness that is felt each and every year as the team becomes busier and time in the house just seems impractical.
They would share the stories of that first night, that last night, and all those nights in between.
These walls have supported numerous forms of life from insects, animals, and humans alike.
If these walls could talk, they would elaborate on the layers of paint on them or the assortment of decorations that have covered them.
They would speak of dust and construction that has begun to fill the air.
These walls themselves have begun to crumble. These walls have barred their load for years, and are starting to feel their age.
The voice of these walls grows old and weary. It slows its pace and slurs its words. These walls have been moved and changed, but their story stays the same.
Each year these walls feel the tremble of new feet chasing each other through their halls. They sense the passion that can only be felt in the weakest of hours.
They would speak of new beginnings, the beginnings of each team and the fresh breath that they bring to the house, the new spark that waits to make its impact.
They would speak of the stargaze eyes that bombarded the house each march, eyes of capable individuals dreaming of making these walls their home.
Over the last 26 years these walls have been spectators, observers of the pride, honor, and humbling passion held by each Indiana FFA State Officer that has lived in this house.
These walls would whisper the secrets of the “incredible perfection” that is created by an organization that puts youth at the forefront.
As I sit here today, housed, protected, and humbled by these walls, I wonder if these walls could talk what stories would they tell.
Oh, if these walls could talk, what story would they tell?
Living to Serve,
2014-2015 Indiana FFA Secretary
Friday, October 24, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
The worn leather under my hands…high above the world I was perched overlooking the vast hay field. The trees where brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. The air was fresh, it smelled like burning leaves and diesel fuel. Fall was upon us. As I took a trip around my Papole Kent’s farm (Red Acres) I remember searching the field that butted up to my papole’s property. In the distance, a combine was shelling beans and dust was flying everywhere. As the combine collected the beans I thought of numerous by-products that might come from the crop. As the Farmall BN and I rounded the other side of the field I couldn't help but feel the responsibility of farmers. Harvest season is my favorite time of the year.
From a young age I learned how to operate my papole’s tractors, in fact I could drive tractors before I could ride my bike without training wheels. I could not get enough of the rush I felt high above the earth, hearing the sound the tractor made and smelling the ever so prominent diesel fuel. My papole has restored tractors ever since I can remember and only the red ones. His work ethic was a hard one and it showed in all of his tractors. The tractors bonded papole and I. The heritage that existed was intertwined in the frame work of each tractor. The Farmall BN that I was driving previously was my Great Grandpa’s. My papole would tell me of stories about the BN. He told about when my great grandpa first purchased it, how the dents got certain places and how diligently the tractor worked. A staple part of the farm and a piece of history to share with his 4th generation great granddaughter.
Now that farmers are out harvesting, memories stir up from those long tractors rides. Taking walks down the road and admiring the changing crops. Spending time with family, friends and enjoying the beautiful fall season. No matter what part you reside in this fly over state we all know the importance of farmers and admire their tireless work to feed the world. As we drive past the farmers taking the combines another round remember how blessed we are to have such committed producers. I would like to give a shout out to those producers making the food on my table possible. I love farmers, they feed my soul.
Back home in Northern Indiana!
This is my Papole Kent and I going on the many tractors ride I would take when I was little!
Taken in Southern Indiana near the FFA Leadership Center.
You Ag Lovin' and Farmall Driving Indiana FFA NRVP,
Love Lindsey O'Hara
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Is it possible for it to be October already? That does not seem possible! Like Dakota previously said, the team and I just completed three weeks of chapter visits and district kickoffs! We met so many members from across the state and getting to experience all of the different agriculture education programs was amazing!
On Saturday, October 4th, Kathleen and I adventured down to Scottsburg, Indiana to watch the Scottsburg FFA Fall Prospect Beef Show! Congratulations to the Scottsburg FFA Chapter for working so hard and diligently to make this show successful! Kathleen and I not only got to watch the show and talk with a few FFA members, we also ran into the 2013-2014 Southern Region Vice President- Ethan McNeely! It’s always good to see Ethan!
As we are finishing up our last minute preparations so that we know this weekend will be the best it can possibly be. Just know that I cannot wait to see everyone! The team and I will be revealing the theme shortly, so be looking for that on all forms of social media! Come prepared and ready to have the time of your life at SOAR 2014!
Serving with a grateful heart,
It was 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. I was driving; my passengers were all asleep. It was dark, and I was tired. We were somewhere in the seemingly endless Northern half of the state. It was another day of chapter visits, fast food, and district kickoffs. As I drove, I turned the radio off as to not wake up my teammates. The silence combined with the dark created an eerie emptiness all around me. My thoughts were as loud as voices, with no actual voices to dampen them. The hum of the engine kept time as I stared ceaselessly at the horizon my headlights created. The drive wore on. I wore on. Pushing a swath through the undisturbed darkness with my high beams, like any plow-fitted truck pushing through a freshly fallen snow. For miles I illuminated a canyon with walls of corn stalks rising up on each side. Eventually, my course led me onto the main street of one of Indiana’s innumerable tiny towns. A hardware store, a rundown gas station, and one solitary flashing light, these are what they all seemed to share. I had noted these characteristics as I had been through countless other nameless little towns in my travels. I pressed on through the town, my headlights providing brief glimpses of the houses on either side of the street, brief glimpses of the people’s lives who occupied this little town. Again, the hum of the engine kept a rhythm as my thoughts swirled about me, and I began to contemplate the people of those tiny nameless towns.
I had gone my entire life never knowing this town –which I was now driving through—even existed. I was willing to wager that most of the world would live and die having never known that this little one-flashing-light town in Northern Indiana existed. With that, most people on Earth would never know that any of the people in this little town even existed. I was startled by the thought. I was even a bit scared by it. These tiny people in this tiny town could disappear, and the world would be none the wiser. And what’s more, I too was a tiny person, having come from a similar tiny town. I too could disappear along with all the other occupants of my tiny little town, and the world would know no differently. That was a terrible thought. The idea that most people on Earth would never know I existed terrified me.
As I continued to drive, I soon left the little town in the darkness in which I’d found it. And although it was now behind me, it was still very much in the forefront of my mind. The longer I drove, the longer I thought. Light eventually broke over the horizon, painting the sky every hue of red and pink and orange. At the same time a new perspective broke within me. Why should I worry about whether the majority of people on Earth know I existed? There are a few people who will know, and if I am able to impact those few people positively then for what else can I ask? So many of us—tiny people from tiny towns all across the world—will not be remembered or even known by most of the population. But, some will have known us. Perhaps it would be in vain to try and change the lives of every person on Earth, but we can change the lives of some. We may not make a difference to everyone, but we can make a difference to some. We can make a positive difference in the lives of those around us, those who will have known us, and those are the differences that matter most.
2014-2015 Southern Region Vice President
2014-2015 Southern Region Vice President
Monday, September 29, 2014
In only the past couple weeks, it has been incomparably some of the best in my life! Not only have I gotten to travel all across the state, but I have also had the opportunity to meet so many members with the same passion for agriculture that I have! No matter the area of the state or the size of the school, I have been amazed at the amount of potential in students and how much they enjoy getting to spread their wings and meet so many new friends. Not only did all of this traveling let me form new memories with FFA members, but the team got to work with so many students who are not yet in FFA.
By visiting different schools every day, my teammates and I saw so many different school sizes, agriculture programs, and agricultural students. Some schools created a feeling of anxiety as we approached a school culture we may not have known; however, some of those schools had the best students! I can recall a story of a time that made me know why I do what I do.
At a small high school, my partner Skylar and I were presenting to a young Intro. to Agriculture class. One student in particular was very active with our presentation and always volunteered to help with our activities. I was very impressed by their attitude and energy and kept asking myself why they were not in FFA. After class, I spoke to the student and they explained that before our presentation they did not know what FFA was and thought it was going to be a boring activity to get involved in. After the student and their friend walked Skylar and I to the office, they turned away and the student’s friend asked if he would join FFA now that he had seen our presentation. As thought there was a switch that turned on, the student replied with a confident yes.
It is not the glory, the popularity, or the amount of people who know you that make a difference. It is your attitude to make a difference in one person’s life. This student I spoke of instilled a love for one certain quote:
“Do what you love, Love what you do.”
~ Jeff Mallett
Do what you love, have a passion to leave a difference, and never stop believing in yourself. Chapter visits have given me the remarkable opportunity to meet so many amazing students that have taught me to always have a positive attitude, because you never know who you will impact. Who will you impact today by doing what you love?
Loving every moment,
2014-2015 Indiana FFA State Reporter
Monday, September 8, 2014
|Refreshed with a why,|
2014-2015 Indiana FFA State Secretary
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
It is finally September. I can practically smell the pumpkin spice lattes and see the beautiful color change in the landscape. With the month of September comes a busy schedule for the seven of us residing in the state officer house. The next 30 days hold a whirlwind of conferences such as PLT (Premier Leadership Training), LDW (Leadership Development Workshop), chapter visits, district kickoffs, and more. Before that whirlwind has a chance to sweep us off our feet, however, we had the pleasure of spending a couple days at the Hickey’s lake house.
The weather was a perfect 75 degrees and sunny for the entirety of our visit. Between enjoying watching the boys be beaten to a pulp by the water as they went tubing and soaking up the sun with the girls (and not getting burnt I might add), the getaway was much needed and much appreciated. So many memories were created on this trip and there are so many stories I could share, but there is one that is a standout in my memory.
On our second day we started the day off right by being on the water. The boys not only conquered tubing, but also expanded their horizons to skiing as well. After completing both feats, the next item on their checklist was to get us girls to join them. Now, you’re probably wondering why we would be hesitant to join them. In answer to that question, all I can say is that—as much as I love them— the boys act exactly as brothers would, and would not flinch at flipping a tube on purpose to see what would happen to us. Lindsey was the first one that caved and went with them (I learned my lesson on the first day when I went with Skylar). I was a little surprised that she went because she was on the fence about it. It took a lot of convincing, but what finally drew her in was when Skylar said “Come on Lindsey, I promise I won’t flip the tube on you. If you go with me I won’t let anything bad happen.” Later that evening after dinner we were all clustered on the couch (because we seem to like trying to fit seven people on one piece of furniture) eating Oreo ice cream and watching TV. It was a completely ordinary situation, nothing lavish or lustrous to it at all. It hit me as I laughed at the story Derek was telling and joked with Lindsey about her upcoming birthday, these six people are my family.
I found a quote by an anonymous author that states “The bond that links family is not one of blood, but one of respect and joy in each other’s life. Some of the closest family members do not grow up under the same roof.” This couldn’t describe our team any better. When I was inducted into office on June 19 I was so excited not only for the year, but for moving in with 6 other amazing individuals and the potential of gaining 6 new best friends. I so underestimated what was to come. Not only did I gain 6 best friends, I gained 3 sisters and 3 brothers. None of us grew up under the same roof, and a couple of us didn’t know each other all that well when we were elected, but now it seems weird when we’re not all together. Our family may seem a little quirky to some, but for us it’s just the right blend of sassy and loving.
Roughly 74 days ago I was elected to serve Indiana FFA with 6 outstanding individuals. Along the way our team became a family. We may not be related by blood, but we all bleed blue and gold and for us that’s enough to claim ourselves as brothers and sisters. As I return from this Labor Day weekend I realize just how blessed I am to have my actual and adopted family. I’m looking forward to returning and continuing on this crazy and breathtaking journey of state office with my team! Wishing you all a great week and hoping you enjoyed your long weekend!
2014-2015 State Treasurer