Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Coming back home

This past week I got the privilege of heading back home for my county fair with my team. As a team, we were asked to work the Johnson County Indiana Farm Bureau's milkshake booth. This was a far different experience than what I had ever had at this fair, however. 

Growing up I was never in 4-H so the fair to me was all about the rides. I loved riding these rides with my family growing up and I have fond memories of the midway with them. As I got into high school and joined FFA my freshman year, something that I got the honor of doing the summer of that freshman year was work at Indian Creek FFA’s Ice Cream booth where we served, what we had called “the kool thing”, homemade ice cream to the fair goers. I continued to work this booth throughout my FFA career and grew memories right there making ice cream alongside my teammates and friends. 

As I went back to my county fair this time in a different role as a state officer I got to do many different things and experience things I never thought I would. I watched my first queen contest ever, listened to my teammates' experiences with their animals at their fairs, and also experienced a fair for the first time as an adult. While I was working at the Farm Bureau’s booth I couldn't help but look over to Indian Creek FFA’s tent, watching the kids who are in the same shoes I once was in. I found myself thinking, “What does their fair experience look like compared to the experiences I have had? Where will their journey lead them in life?” I look back on my time inside that same exact tent and reflect on what my experience was like and how it helped me get to where I am today. Some of the best experiences I have had with supporters and members have come from inside that tent. Where you come from doesn't define you but what it does do is help you find your home. 

What the Johnson County Fair taught me was that my home wasn't my physical house or anything like that. It was the people around me, it was the FFA members that I had such a strong bond with, it was the mentors that helped me get to where I am today. I challenge you to think to yourself, who is my home?

Find your home,
Garrett Bolin
Indiana FFA Sentinel

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Records Are Meant to Be Broken

It is that time of year! We are in the midst of the county fair season. Most people look forward to their county fair to enjoy carnival rides, concerts, lemon shake-ups, or exhibiting their projects. My brothers and I, however, anticipated nothing more than my county’s Supreme Showmanship contest. Being the youngest sibling, I sat ringside watching my brothers dominate the showring. Both of my brothers acquired two county Supreme Showman titles meaning I had big shoes to fill.


I looked forward to the day when I could compete in the Supreme Showman contest just like my brothers did. As a fifth-year 4-H member, I secured a spot in the round-robin tournament representing the sheep barn while my brother, Hayden, represented the beef barn. Naturally, the sibling rivalry emerged stronger than ever. After spending every night that week working with fellow 4-H’ers to become more knowledgeable and a better showman, it was finally show day. Before the competition began, Hayden and I wished each other the best of luck and focused on the tasks that lay ahead. That year, I was named Newton County’s Supreme Showman. I had not only beaten my brother, but I started on my own journey. I developed one goal: beat my brothers’ record of two Supreme Showmanship titles. Throughout the past nine years of my 4-H career, I have acquired five Supreme Showmanship titles breaking not only my brothers’ records but my county’s record.


As a ten-year 4-H member, I have the opportunity to strive for another win. But I have come to a realization. I was motivated to set my goal so high because of the people who supported me. My brothers are my biggest supporters and coaches. As I near my end as a livestock exhibitor, I look to the younger members. I reflect on the example I am setting for them. As much as I enjoy achieving, I love watching others succeed.


The Newton County Supreme Showmanship record is five consecutive titles in a row. I set that record not only for myself but for generations to come. I understand this is a difficult record to beat, however, it is not impossible. I hope, one day, someone beats that record. After all, records are meant to be broken.


Break records,

Stephanie Berenda, Northern Region Vice President


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Introducing your Indiana FFA 2024-2025 State Officer Team!

Ethan Wolheter - Indiana FFA State President

Hello Indiana FFA! I am Ethan Wolheter and I am overwhelmingly excited to be serving as your

2024-2025 Indiana FFA State President. Proudly from LaGrange County in Northeast Indiana, I hail

from the Prairie Heights FFA Chapter and District 3. I have long worked in my family’s garden growing

all kinds of produce and being a vegetable enthusiast. I’m an avid sports fan, especially when it comes

to Purdue athletics. I’m a 3rd generation FFA member and am more than enthusiastic to meet all of you

soon!



Christina Caldwell - Indiana FFA State Secretary 

Hello Indiana FFA!! My name is Christina Caldwell and I am so excited to serve you this year as your

2024-25 State Secretary. I am a proud representative of the Connersville FFA chapter in District 9. I love

all things agriculture and love building relationships with all members no matter their background. I can't

wait to meet as many members as possible throughout this next year! I aim to spread joy like glitter to

everyone I meet! I can't wait to see all of y'all soon!



Stephanie Berenda - Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice President

Indiana FFA, are you ready for an amazing year? I am Stephanie Berenda - your 2024-2025 Indiana FFA

State Northern Region Vice President. Although my hometown, Earl Park, is located in District IV, I

proudly call the South Newton FFA chapter and District I home. My love for agriculture started as a

young child playing Barbies in the cab of my father’s combine and working show cattle. Since then, my

love for our industry has expanded to advocation and diversification. I cannot wait to connect members

around the state. See you soon!



Cale Williams - Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President 

Hello Indiana FFA, my name is Cale Williams and I am beyond humbled to serve this year as your

2024-2025 Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President. I hail from the Terre Haute South FFA

Chapter in District VII and am from Cory, IN. Being a third-generation swine farmer, my family and I

are heavily invested in agriculture. Additionally, as a second-generation FFA member, my family is

deeply passionate about FFA. Throughout my four years of membership, I have participated in many

CDEs and LDEs, attended numerous state and national conferences, and have enjoyed my SAE

experiences. Aside from FFA, some of my greatest pastimes include showing pigs at the local, state,

and national levels; spending time with my family; and going to Disney World!! I can’t wait to spend my

year with each of you. Whether we meet in the FFA Pavilion at the State Fair or at a conference later in

the fall, I can’t wait to hear your stories and how they have shaped you into the amazing individuals you

are today. Let’s make this a great year, Indiana FFA!!



Ky Baker - Indiana FFA State Treasurer 

Hello Indiana FFA! I am so excited to get to know everyone. My name is Kyatalin Baker but I prefer

being called Ky, and I am from Switzerland County way down south in District 12. My FFA journey

started on my family's little farm and grew from there, I joined the second I was eligible. I have enjoyed

competing in numerous contests but my favorite has always been Chapter Meeting. Conferences are

going to be a blast this year because a little fun fact about me is that I LOVE to dance. Be ready for

some fun dance moves this year! I am so thrilled to serve as your 2024- 2025 Indiana FFA State

Treasurer!



Sienna Alexander- Indiana FFA State Reporter

Hey Indiana FFA! My name is Sienna Alexander, proudly serving as your State Reporter. I come from

Monrovia, Indiana in District VIII. Although I am from a rural community, I am a first-generation FFA

member and have no agriculture background. During my year of service, I am most looking forward to

meeting all of the members, and helping others find their passion in an organization I am lucky enough

to call home! I joined my school’s FFA chapter in eighth grade knowing nothing about the organization,

but have since found my passion for agriculture and leadership! Outside of FFA, you may find me

spending time with my friends and family, swimming, or even competing in pageants! When I'm not

wearing the iconic blue corduroy you can almost guarantee to find me decked out in pink, or lots of bold

jewelry! I cannot wait to meet you all very soon!



Garrett Bolin - Indiana FFA State Sentinel

Hello Indiana FFA! I am beyond ecstatic to be able to have the opportunity to serve the over 14,000

members over the course of 2024-2025 as your Indiana FFA State Sentinel! I grew up in Johnson

County and got to call Indian Creek in District 8 my home. I didn’t grow up with a background in

agriculture, but when I heard about FFA during my freshman year, I knew I had to join. It was with FFA

that my love for agriculture blossomed to where it is today. Throughout my time in FFA, I realized that

FFA is for everyone, no matter their background. I competed in multiple CDEs and LDEs throughout

my four years of FFA, my favorite of which was the Chapter Meeting contest. Some things I love are

video games, the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and talking to new people. I am so blessed to call Indiana

FFA my home and I cannot wait to meet all of you over this next year!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Discovering: What's Ahead!

For the final time, your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Officer Team!


It has been the joy of my life to serve the 14,497 Indiana FFA members alongside my six very best friends. This year, I discovered a community of people that exemplify what it means to live boldly and love unconditionally. I discovered more simple joy and love than I ever would have thought possible. Ultimately, I discovered the selfless service of Indiana FFA, its members, and its advisors as I have been met with more great love, grace, and acceptance than I could ever deserve. This year would not have been the same without the six people that I call my teammates. They truly are the most loyal, loving, and lively bunch of people and I could not have been more blessed to live, work, and serve with them for one of the most special years of my life. Indiana FFA, not only did you climb mountains with me this year, but you moved them for me, and I am immensely grateful to have lived this year with each of you and for each of you.


With an Abundance of Love,

Kelby Roberts

2023-2024 Indiana FFA State President



This year I was able to put 20,000 miles on my car. I am grateful for these miles as they brought me endless laughs, unforgettable memories, immense growth, and kind friendships this year. Each and every one of you have left an indelible impact on my life. From roller skating, visiting the arch, taking part in Ag Olympics, and even getting freezing water dumped on me, I am thankful. At the beginning of the year they told me I would be fortunate enough to leave a positive impact on you all, but I got lucky because you all left a positive impact on me too. It is my hope you all will continue to discover Indiana FFA and let your heart grow!


With a growing heart, 

Maddie Denton

2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Secretary



It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun. When someone asked me what State Office is like I told them it's like having a fever dream for a whole year. The numerous opportunities I’ve had this year is unheard of. All of this was possible because of all the Indiana FFA members who have a passion for agriculture and leadership. We need to keep this passion alive and continue to bring more individuals into this organization. Thank you for such a successful year!


Proud to have served,

Conner Keeslar

2023-2024 Northern Region Vice President



One year, a lifetime of memories. Throughout this year I have had countless opportunities to meet so many of our 14,000 Indiana FFA members.  Whether I was touring the Owen Valley greenhouse in the rain, getting soaked by a bucket of water three times at conferences, telling ghost stories with the North Montgomery FFA chapter, or playing laser tag with the South Putnam FFA chapter, I was having a great time. I would like to thank every chapter for welcoming me this year. 

Thank you to every FFA member I've had the honor of interacting with this year. Each one of you has impacted me in a major way. Thank you for everything and always remember to pursue your passions.


Thank you for everything,

Blaine Wagner

2023-2024 State Southern Region Vice President 


This year has been unforgettable. It began with all seven of us rushing excitedly onto the stage, unaware that it would soon become the best year of my life. Whether it was countless ice cream runs, early morning workouts, or even mushroom hunting in pitch-black darkness, the memories created are ones I will never forget. Among my favorite moments were traveling on the road for district kickoffs, chapter visits, and banquets. The support, memories, and encouragement from Staff, my team, and the Indiana FFA members have meant the world to me this past year. Thank you all for an incredible year!

Thankful that I’ve found my people,

Caden Sixberry

2023-2024 State Treasurer



The places, people, and opportunities that I discovered this year will never be forgotten. The countless chapters that invited me into their classrooms with open arms, members at conferences and contests that always greeted me with a bright smile, and the many trips that my six new best friends and I took on, like Washington D.C., Gatlinburg, and St. Louis. I am forever grateful for each and everyone of you that have embraced me with acceptance and love this year. Thank you for the countless reminders to always play the role of me this year. Indiana FFA, never forget, you are the greatest role you will ever play!


Beyond Grateful for Y’all,

Carson Rudd

2023-2024 State Reporter



365 days full of highs and lows, joys, and memories. To this day this year still feels like a fever dream, but to every member that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with I can’t thank you enough for leaving such a huge impact on me. To every chapter visited and person talked to thank you for welcoming me with open arms and helping me be my true self. I am forever grateful for my 6 teammates. It's been a year full of laughs, tears, and memories. Thank you for living this life with me. I am so grateful for all the late nights, early mornings and wild ideas we have had this year. Teammates for a year, family for life. Indiana FFA, Live in the Moment!


Go Pokes, 

Tanner Weakley

2023-2024 State Sentinel



Indiana FFA, you have forever impacted our lives. It has been a great pleasure to serve our growing membership, all while making memories and having the most fun! We cannot thank you enough for all that you have discovered alongside us this year, and for showing us what it means to lead with a heart for service. We look forward to watching the growth and momentum of the future you will discover!


Discovering What’s Ahead,

2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Officer Team


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Discovering Washington FFA!

This past weekend, I had the coolest opportunity to attend the 94th Washington FFA Convention and Expo! In honor of our convention theme, Discover, I knew I had to tell you all about all the crazy adventures that came along with it!

 

Flying Solo-

Washington State University is about 2,000 miles and 30 hours away from the Indiana FFA Leadership Center. With all of this ground to cover, I decided to fly by myself for the first time… ever! I won’t lie, this was a little intimidating. Thankfully, everything went smoothly. I was able to see the Northern Lights up in the sky, visit the tiniest airport with only two gates, and made my way around Seattle’s airport without getting lost, whoop whoop!


Washington State University- 

Washington held their State Convention at a college campus, similar to Indiana holding our State Convention at Purdue! WSU’s campus was absolutely stunning! The rolling hills made for a constant walk uphill, but the views were worth it. Washington’s biggest commodities are apples and wheat which showed as every hill was filled with wheat fields and pasture grass. I am so lucky I was able to see such an agriculturally rooted state!


WA FFA Expo- 

The last few days I was able to move around the expo and connect with so many businesses and industries in the West! It was so neat to see our similarities and differences! I was able to learn about AgWest Farm Credit, the University of Idaho Natural Resources, and my personal favorite WSU College of Veterinary Medicine! 


Workshops-

I had the opportunity to present two workshops to Washington FFA members! All of the workshop attendees were super interactive, willing, and overall fun! I sat in and assisted with some other Visiting State Officer’s workshops too! I’m so thankful I got to help others learn some new leadership skills while also building mine as well!


Sessions-

During my time in Washington, I was only able to attend the opening session. Although I was only able to attend one session, I was able to see how much fun Washington FFA is! From literal dance breaks during the session, shouting WAFFA WAFFA WAFFA in the crowd, or listening to the coolest talent performances, it was a party! Washington FFA also has apple judging and potato judging! How cool is that? I have to give a big thank you to the amazing 2023-2024 Washington FFA State Officers for creating these awesome sessions!


Now I won’t lie, Indiana FFA has and will always have my heart, but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy discovering a new part of FFA and the world! I know I will carry these moments and lessons with me as we head into the 95th Indiana FFA State Convention next month! See you all there!

See you all soon!!!! :-)

With love, 

Maddie Denton, State Secretary


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Discover the Memories of the Year

As the time is ticking down and knowing that the final days are here I can't help but think of some of my favorite memories of the year. 

  1. Attending State Officer Summit; where I made some lifelong friends across the country. 

  2. The Great Indiana State Fair; getting to meet and talk to members while enjoying the state fair. 

  3. Conferences; a time to meet even more members but also develop a passion for teaching the younger generation. 

  4. National Convention; getting to reunite with other state officers from across the country and enjoy national convention on a different side. 

  5. Business and Industry visits; expanding my knowledge about the agriculture industry and interacting with industry professionals. 

  6. FFA Week; traveling the southern part of Indiana, meeting more members and exploring other ag classrooms. 

  7. Attending Oregon’s FFA State Convention; reuniting with friends from across the country and learning more about Oregon agriculture. 

  8. Banquet season; traveling the state to visit chapters to honor members and their hard work from the year. 

As the days pass by and the tasks pile up, I find myself cherishing these moments the most. I am grateful to every member I have crossed paths with for contributing to what has been an incredible experience. To my teammates, your unwavering support and acceptance have meant the world to me. Let's hold on to the memories we've created as our time together draws to a close.

Tanner Weakley, State Sentinel 


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Slow Down and Reflect This Banquet Season

As an FFA member sometimes it feels like you never have time to slow down and reflect. As soon as one CDE has finished, that means it's time to start prepping for the next one or writing your proficiency or running for a chapter office. However, throughout that busy schedule there is a perfect opportunity to reflect on your year: the chapter banquet. This is the time when every member is rewarded for all their hard work and success throughout the year. After attending five chapter banquets so far this spring, I put together a list of three things to do at your chapter banquet.



  1. Reflect on your year in FFA. As you receive your hard earned recognition for your success, reflect on each CDE, LDE, and event you attended and consider all the great memories made along the way.  These are the memories that will truly last a lifetime.

  2. Celebrate your fellow chapter members.  When one member succeeds the whole chapter succeeds, so it's important to honor everyone's success. Be sure to take some time to learn the accomplishments of all members and congratulate them for their success.  These are the people who helped  get you where you are today so be sure to acknowledge them for all their hard work.

  3. Set Goals for the next year. As you reflect on your personal memories and the success of your chapter, it is time to start planning how to make next year even better. Consider what your teammates have done and what you appreciated about this year. Then it is time to set some goals.  These goals could include trying a new CDE, improving your SAE, or forming better connections with members at and above the chapter level. These goals provide a firm foundation to make next year even better. 

After you reflect, celebrate, and set goals you have truly honored this year of FFA.  Now it's time to build off the success from this year to make next year even better. If you have already had your banquet go ahead and start setting those goals.  If your banquet is coming up be sure to take that time during the hectic schedule to reflect, celebrate, and set goals for the future. 


Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President