Friday, January 11, 2019

Review & Look Forward

First Six Months
Team: Being on the Team, Sami
I’ve been on many teams before: sports teams, chapter officer teams, student council and more. However, I have never been on one like I am on now. I live and work with my team, which has taught me a lot. I love the relationships I have built with my teammates. We can be serious and professional but we can also let loose and have fun. I am also going to be very honest, being on a team like this is not always easy. Disagreements may occur, but working through them has helped me and the team grow so much. Whether it was waking up early to water plants at the State Fair, orchestrating opening skits for conferences, or taking car rides to business and industry visits, it’s safe to say I have six best friends that I get to have this once in a lifetime experience with.

General Public: State Fair, Nathan
As we reflect on the last six months of office and look forward to the latter half of our year, my mind takes me back to some of the best weeks I had in August. The hot days and long, fun nights of the state fair. Whether it was interacting with the featured farm families, FFA members and the public, or the late nights spent with friends in the barns, the Indiana State Fair was one of my favorite things this year. Although we over watered, and killed many plants… the memories made were amazing.

Members: Chapter Visits and Conferences, Savannah
Everyone always talks about how time flies. That statement is very relevant when reflecting on the past six months of state office. Much of the first half of our year was spent with members. Whether
that was during September when we were traveling the state facilitating in many different FFA chapters, or the five weekends that members traveled the to the center during conference season. These interactions with members have been one of my highlights of state office. It’s amazing how we are all so unique in our interests, backgrounds, and perspectives, yet everytime I talk to a member I am able to connect with them and find common ground. I can’t wait to continue to build on these relationships over the next six months and make even more.

Sponsors: B&I Visits, Brittany
Indiana FFA has been continually improving since we were first established, and the officer team has witnessed first hand one of the reasons this is possible: our sponsors. December was filled with business and industry visits. We traveled the state to learn about the values and opportunities of each company. Visits often consisted of one-on-one interactions with employees, meeting with CEOs and/or founders, and getting a tour of the facilities. This was my favorite part of the first six months of office because it opened my eyes to the different ways I could see myself working in the agriculture industry. I honestly did not put much thought into internships or other career opportunities for the future. Now my teammates and I have taken a step into the industry and created strong relationships with businesses that we will foster throughout the rest of our year and going into college.

Last Six Months
Kick Starting the Year: Ft. Wayne Farm Show and FFA Week, Jarrett
Being on the other side of the veil: a phrase that you may have heard before. If not, it means that you’re seeing the inner workings and other perspectives of something you had experienced
previously. This opportunity has been made available to me as I travel back home to the Ft. Wayne Farm Show. For many years I went to the show with my FFA chapter and talked to people I knew who were promoting their businesses. Now I get to go help spread news of the Indiana FFA Organization to them and meet with members that lived just down the road from me. Then, I move on to members in areas of the state that I have never seen before with FFA Week. From meeting members for Page Day at the State House to speaking with members at their school, I am beyond excited to enjoy these experiences. Seeing state officers come to my school was something that intrigued me. Seeing them come and just casually mesh with the members; laughing, joking, and sharing their wisdom was fascinating to say the least. Now that I get the chance to do this, I should probably think of some profound advice to give and decently funny jokes to tell.

Traveling Indiana: Banquet Season, Austin
I remember being a sixth grader at my first chapter FFA banquet, I had not yet acquired an FFA jacket, so I was wearing a dark blue shirt in an attempt to fit in. I stood in the back corner of South Newton’s ag room examining the wall, on which all of the past state officer portraits were hanging. When my father came to find me he asked what I was doing, to him I declared, “I am going to do that one day.” The chapter banquet was my initial inspiration to strive for more in FFA; eating incredible food, socializing with friends, and looking forward to the year to come were the activities I loved. I am beyond thrilled to be conducting banquet travels, sponsored by CountryMark, around the state. I’m sure that visiting all the chapters, seeing their accomplishments, and enjoying the nights with their members will be a rejuvenating blast from my past.

Rounding off the Year: State Convention, Chyenne
It is crazy to think that state convention is less than six months away. My teammates and I have been brainstorming ideas since before we released the new theme, Surge! This week in June at Purdue University holds a time for FFA members to meet up with friends they made from earlier in the year, compete in their favorite LDE’s and see Elliott Hall of Music busting with energy. Our state officer team is beyond excited to recognize members for their achievements and dedication. Talking about the end of this year may bring a tear to my eye, but it is the beginning for seven new individuals. As we round off our year with state convention, we will be able to meet the 2019-2020 Indiana FFA State Officer Team!!

"We are ready for an amazing rest of our year!!" ~ 18-19 SO Team

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Giving Thanks

        As Thanksgiving approaches I think there is no better time to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. Ever since I moved out of the house I have this new appreciation for the little things in my life. Here are a few things I am thankful for.

             1. My family. In high school I was ready to move on to bigger and better things, but now I

realize that I had it all right at home. I am thankful for all the life talks I had with my dad either in his office after school or riding together in the combine during harvest. I’m thankful for my mom and all the sacrifices she has made and continues to make for our family. I’m even thankful for my annoying little sister, I miss our car rides jamming out to our favorite songs. I appreciate these three more and more every day, and I would not trade them for the world!

             2. My friends. After graduation my friends moved all over,
some joined the military, others went to college, and one is even in Cambodia. Even though we have all gone our separate ways we still find the time to text and sometimes get together. It’s always fun to reminisce on all the memories we made together and to make a few more.

             3. Finally, I’m thankful for my mom’s home cooked meals. My teammates and I do cook at the house, but nothing beats coming home and eating a good home cooked meal.

As we celebrate what we are fortunate to have this Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful for the little things. Take the time to tell your family and friends that you love them and savor that amazing Thanksgiving meal.

Always thankful,

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Where It All Started

We are over half way through conferences and this got me thinking about where I was a year ago. FIRE 1 was last weekend and it didn’t hit me until we were almost finished with the conference that this is the last conference for so many members. A year ago, I was in their shoes, but it doesn’t feel like it was just a year ago. There is one part of that weekend I remember distinctly: reflections. Now I can’t tell you exactly what all the reflections were about, but what happened after reflections still crosses my mind often. My best friend, Mercedes, and I were sitting there in the EMR, thinking instead of going to the dance. I look over to her and see there are tears running down her face. She says to me, “This is where it all started. And this is the end.” In that moment, I lost it and the tears started streaming down my face too.
           Let me take this back to the beginning that Mercedes was talking about. Imagine freshman Brittany traveling to The Indiana FFA Leadership Center for the first time to attend SOAR conference. I had no idea what to expect and I was nervous. We file into the dining hall area to start the first session and soon after I sit down, a friendly face sits right next to me. We start talking and the nerves slowly begin to disappear. Throughout the entire weekend we wanted to sit next to each other and hang out as much as we could. Little did we know that we would still be friends to this day.
           Now back to the moment where we were sitting in a puddle of our own tears in the middle of the EMR, I began thinking about the future. Mercedes and I both planned to run for a state office. That night we talked about how great it would be to live in a house together and plan conferences and travel the state. I told her, “This is NOT the end.” Even if we didn’t make it in a state office we could still be involved in the organization in other ways. In the end, Mercedes decided not to run for a state office because that was the best decision for her. While I was sad she wasn’t running, I knew she was doing what was right for her future. State office isn’t for everybody. Thankfully, we are still great friends and she supported me through the entire process.
           We attend conferences to learn about FFA, service, and leadership, but the bonus is that we make friendships that last way beyond conferences. Even as your paths may take a different route, like Mercedes and me, you will still have that connection with them. Sitting in the EMR a year ago, I was shocked at how long ago my very first conference was. Keep in mind to embrace every moment at conferences, and other FFA events you love, because time doesn’t slow down.

“It’s not where you go, it’s who you meet along the way.” The Wizard of Oz
Enjoy every moment,

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Dog Blog

“Hello, my name is Moose DeLey. I love running in circles, chasing things and SQUIRREL...and I really really love food. I’m not talking about that dog food stuff but that people food is where it’s at! In fact, I can smell dinner cooking in the kitchen and I CANNOT wait to beg for some leftovers. I’ll be more likely to get some grub if I sit, lay down or shake hands. People love that stuff but I’m really just trying to get some food. Then, I’ll go sprawl out on the couch, maybe take a nap until someone pets me. I live a pretty good life if you ask me.”

Those are a few words my dog would most likely say if he could talk. One of the things I miss most about home is my six year old golden retriever, Moose. Now Moose is not like most dogs. He sleeps a ton, is scared of EVERYTHING, squeals and walks in circles when you talk to him in a high pitch voice that I like to call, “the doggy voice,” rings a bell on the door when he wants outside and he does not bark at all. He is such a good boy and I would claim him as “the goodest boy” but that’s just me.

My mamaw and I were having a conversation about my cousin’s dog being very sick and how he wouldn’t last much longer. I got sad for a moment and then my mamaw mentioned that most dogs live a pretty good life. That really got me thinking.

People provide amazing lives to their beloved dogs and pets. We want what is best for them and we love them unconditionally, even when they mess up and chew up shoes or do something they aren’t supposed to. We take care of them, forgive them for their mistakes and give them the best life we possibly can.

We should push ourselves to treat people like we treat our dogs. I’m not saying play fetch with them or feed them dog food, but we should treat people with the same kindness and love. We should tell people, “Good job!” We should give them credit for doing something new. We should build people up, not tear them down. Take care of the people around you, forgive them for their mistakes and even love them for who they are. We give our dogs a great life so let’s make it a goal to also give the people around us the best life we possibly can.  

- Sami

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Alternate Path

We all desire success in some way, shape, or form. However, we rarely implement the actions needed to achieve what we hope for. We want to be financially stable, but we don’t make time to balance our checkbooks. We want to possess higher intellect, but don’t open a book or do any independent research. We want to make more money, yet still only put in the minimum hours and effort at our place of work. We want to be physically fit, then don’t dedicate time to go the gym or go for a run. In all of these situations our mind is in the right place, our mind can envision us performing the task, then our body does not execute the steps that our mind seemingly sees as easy.

Our desire fills us, it pushes and pulls on our mind, but our body never comes through on its promise to fulfill the mind’s desire. After the mind realizes that the body is not responding, it thinks harder; it tries a different strategy of dreaming bigger. Now the larger, more impressive, more desirable hopes and dreams engross us. We become excited, and we truly want to reach our goals. But alas, our body often falls back into its old habits and never attains what our mind desires. Finally, in a panic, our mind changes directions. It begins to set smaller goals, hoping to somehow get in touch with the body, and convince it to do something. While this final effort sometimes generates a breakthrough, it can just as frequently result in the same failure as the others. With the body still unresponsive, with our physical being unable to meet the demands of our physiological one, we lock up. We enter a form of psychosis.

At this point our entire being goes through a phase of unresponsiveness. The body has nothing pushing it, and therefore no reason to strive for more; the mind has no faith that any of its goals will be fulfilled, and therefore has no reason to desire anything. We fall into a path, a path that many of us are unaware we are even on. A path of simplicity, a path of little or no accomplishment.

As children, we are often praised. Praise, from both adults and our peers, pushes us to be more successful. But as we closeout our childhood the commendations become less frequent. As we enter adulthood, they become scarce. Our accomplishments and the recognition from our peers pull us out of the simplistic path. But when that recognition ceases, it is much harder to get out of that rutted, frequently used, well beaten path.

I remember working on the farm with my paternal grandfather when I told him I woke up at 5:00 every morning, and went to bed at 8:00 at night. He told me that Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I still remember this event explicitly and I can recall my thought process immediately following. I found that, aside from the ideal of waking up early, this quote could be adopted to many situations. Deter from the path most people take, and we will find more success than most people find.

Prosperity is not found on that conventional path. While we all can find our own small successes with one foot on that pathway, we will not be able to achieve greatness until we abandon the common path and go our own way. The percentage of people who take the standard path is exceedingly high, while the quantity of people who find their own way is exceptionally low. The amount of success attained varies inversely with the amount of people on that given path.

Why does a basketball player stay in the gym for an extra two hours after practice, when she knows her teammates are at home resting? Why does an author continue submitting his work to new publishers when he has previously been turned down? Why does a paramedic take an extra 24 hour shift after she just finished her last one, even though she knows she could be at home with her family? Why does an entrepreneur dedicate an hour to playing with his children, when he knows he’ll be up later finishing paperwork?

We all have the ability to make decisions that set us apart from everyone else. We all have the ability to implement these actions. But in order to truly find our success we must do both simultaneously. We must knowingly step off the path of monotony and take our own path if we truly desire to be triumphant.

-Austin B. Berenda

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Take Time to Thank

There’s a stack of books on the desk in our office.

This stack of books has a decent variety to it. They’re books written by political figures, war heroes, music icons, professors, and more. The pages tell about their lives or their experiences through fictional characters, and how they can relate to the readers. I even have my high school year book in the stack. However, there is one book written about spiritual guidance. While the content is extremely beneficial, it’s how I received the book that truly matters.

This book was given to me by my mother. She gave it to me during my junior year of high school, a time where I was struggling with myself. I was unsure of how I could be a good person while struggling so much. School was concerning me, clubs were concerning me, life was concerning me; and I was taking it out on the wrong people: my mother included. We often clashed, and it wasn’t pretty; then again, the truth isn’t usually pretty. Despite all the arguing, she loved me all the way through. She loved me as much as she had the day as I was born or as much as she loves me now (she may not have liked me as much though, there is a difference). She saw this book and thought it was just what I needed; I thought it was overpriced paper. She gave it to me and I sat it on my shelf.

We overcame that time together. She lifted me up with the help of my whole family, and we figured things out. That’s why we have family. Yet, that book my mom gave me still sat on my shelf. It waited for me to be ready to remember those hard times and give me courage to face the hard times to come.

When I was elected to Indiana FFA office, I decided to pack up a small library to take with me to Trafalgar. Among the books I had read and planned to read, I saw the book my mom gave me. I realized I was ready for those old memories to resurface and opened it up. The very first page was filled with a message from her, telling me that she was always praying for me even in trying times. I continued to read, discovering passages that would remind me of my virtues. This was the gift I needed not just back then, but whenever I need to remember those that have been there for me no matter what.

While the book was a great gift, it was the words from mom that really made it special. Her words of encouragement and love let me know that I’ll always have someone pulling for me. I’m blessed to have a support system so strong, and I hope everyone can find those that will be there for them as well. Don’t forget to take time to thank those who have been there for you.

I know that I can’t thank those who are there for me enough, but hopefully this is a start.

Thank you. Most importantly, thank you mom.
- Jarrett Bailey

Friday, September 28, 2018


Anything new is always either scary or exciting. When something new comes along it can grow a person or even a family. Yesterday I got a text from my mom that read, “Family pics are on Facebook!” Within two seconds of reading the message I instantly start scrolling through Facebook trying to find our family pictures. The first picture I found was an image of my brother, sister and I.

My family was always just my Mom, Dad, brother, sister and me. A family of five full of love. However, as of today that family of five has grown by two family members.

My sister now has a husband and my brother now has a soon to be wife. They are both new additions that grew our family. I am full of love when I look at our pictures and I am thankful everyday for the people in my life. This next picture I am laughing so much because of the funny faces my brother and brother-in-law are making behind the camera.The picture shows three people, but it was affected by more than that.

Growth doesn’t always have to be scary. We all have blessings in our lives and if we look clearly we can find every little joy we encounter.
~Chyenne Deno