Thursday, July 17, 2014

Enjoying Every Moment and Making Every Day Count

Good morning Indiana FFA! Today is a beautiful day! As I sit here in the office, I cannot help but feel blessed to have woken up this morning with the opportunity to make today a great day! Each day is a gift and that is why it is called the present! Let's make every single day count!

Like the State Northern Region Vice President, Miss Lindsey O'Hara stated previously on a blog she submitted, the National Leadership Conference for State Officers in Springfield, Illinois was two weeks ago. It was a blast! We attended the conference with state officers from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri! We all had a great time and we cannot wait to see our friends that we met at NLCSO throughout the year!

Here lately around the state officer house, we have been very busy! Last week was Summer Challenge! I am pretty sure I can speak for everyone when I say that we all had a blast! Whether we were swimming in the lake and sliding down the slide, or maybe we were shooting some hoops on the basketball court or even serving it up on the volleyball court, there was never a dull moment during camp. Members had the opportunity to utilize the new ropes course that were just installed not too long ago as well! The National Western Region Vice President, all the way from the state of Oregon, Mr. Jason Wetzler joined us during camp and he shared some of his memorable childhood experiences and some lessons that his grandma taught him growing up. Thank you to Mr. Wetzler for joining us last week! I would also like to send a huge shout out to Dow AgroSciences for sponsoring Summer Challenge and also to Tobacco Free Johnson County for also sponsoring the camp and canoe trip that the campers thoroughly enjoyed on Wednesday. Sponsors, thank you for making Summer Challenge possible for the members of Indiana FFA. 

On July 13, the state officer team went to the Johnson County Fair to serve ice cream at the Farm Bureau booth! Also, our very own, former 2013-2014 Indiana FFA State President, Miss Allie Abney was crowned as the 2014 Miss Johnson County Queen! We are so proud of you Allie and I know that you will be a great representative for your county! Have fun with the rest of your week at your county fair and good luck at the State Fair Queen Pageant in January! 

This week has had a great start! Tuesday morning, the 2014-2015 Indiana FFA Executive Committee had the awesome opportunity to visit Elanco in Greenfield, Indiana. The Executive Committee is made up of District Presidents, Section Directors, Band and Chorus Presidents, and State Officers. While at Elanco, the committee members had the opportunity to tour Elanco's facilities and learn about the background of the company. While at Elanco, we all also had Insights training which was a cool program that helped distinguish what style of leadership everyone uses. We all learned that whether we are calm, cool, and collected or even if we are loud and like to take charge of most situations, we are all leaders and we all possess similar leadership traits! Thank you to the staff at Elanco for helping us out on Tuesday and to those who facilitated training! We appreciate your support to our association! Executive Committee training was rapped up yesterday at the Leadership Center with a session lead by Mr. Martin, the Indiana FFA Program Specialist. The committee set goals that they hope to strive for as individuals, as a team, and goals that they hope the state of Indiana will achieve by the end of the year. I cannot wait to get to work with the members of the Executive Committee throughout this year! 

Tomorrow the state officer team will travel to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to meet with the Director, Mr. Ted McKinney. We are excited to share some of the goals that we have set as a team and some of the goals that the Executive Committee has also set for our state association. 

This weekend is our first official weekend home! It will be nice to spend some time with our families! On Monday, State Secretary, Mr. Skylar Clingan and myself will be headed to Washington D.C. for the State President's Conference! We will have the opportunity to meet other state officers from around the U.S. and we will also be voting on proposals that have been made by other states. I personally cannot wait to be a voice for the state of Indiana and to meet other state officers from across our great country! 

I still cannot believe that we have officially been in office for four weeks! I feel like we were just voted into office a few days ago! As a team we are so incredibly pumped to see what ways God will use us this year! I cannot wait to meet all of you! Like I said earlier, every day really is a gift so we might as well make the best of it! I know that I will enjoy every single day that I am blessed with this year as I serve our state! I am going to leave you all with a quote. I actually posted this on my Instagram just yesterday. "Once we make the decision to give of ourselves, God will provide the opportunity." I am ready to make every day count and I am pumped up and ready to give of myself and serve Indiana FFA! Make today a great day! 

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Living the Dream

The 2014-2015 Indiana FFA Officers has taken over Trafalgar, Indiana! Since we arrived on June 22nd it has been action packed with Blast Off and fun team bonding activities in our free time! 

Tuesday Miss. Sam Paschal from the National FFA Organization arrived. She was excited to teach our hungry minds with skills to use as state officers. Each session was directed with a themes. Some of those include but are not limited too  how to communicate, understanding our strengths and find how they benefit the team, executing short statements to advocate FFA and five positive influence actions. 

After we finished up the evening at Blast Off we worked diligently on the Fall Impact and, utilized our time to relax to bond with each other. From swimming in the 5 1/2 acre pond, to exploring the outdoors and finishing up the evening with a good movie we never had a dull moment. 

Finishing up this week we will be heading to NLCSO conference in Springfield, Illinois to further our talents and skills! The officer team is much excited to host West Region Vice President Jason Wetzler to come facilitate Summer Challenge here at the center!  

 Session during the Blast Off training in the Fellowship Center.
 Team after working in the office on the Fall Impact.
 Playing "King of the Mountain" on the super awesome slide!
Derek and Dakota before we headed out on the open road for a team bike ride!!

Hope to see you all very soon at Summer Challenge,
Lindsey O'Hara
Northern Region Vice President 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Story behind the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center

     Over five months ago when I packed up to spend two weeks at home for Christmas break, I threw a few books I hoped to read in my book bag. Many of these books had been sitting on my desk all of the first semester of state office. When I was faced with some free time, I picked up the first of a couple great books that I read over break! The first book I read is one that bears an incredible story near and dear to the heart of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, The Journey is more than the Destination by Cathy and Frank James. A book about how a Christian family dealt with the grief of losing their teenage daughter. As I read the book I was hooked after reading the families precious moments with Valerie James. I quickly learned that Valerie was always bearing a smile, optimistic, radiant, and faithful. Her story is incredible - she was actively involved in many activities throughout her ever too short life but held a spot close to her heart at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center.

     In the early evening hours of June 20, 1997, the life of Valerie Victoria James ended as the result of a car accident. Valerie was a vibrant, enthusiastic, beautiful Christian teenager. She was an integral part of her community and school, her favorite organizational activities, and her close knit family. But Valerie's death started her family on a journey to overcome their overpowering grief. One way the family coped with the lose of their daughter was by giving back to a place Valerie loved, her family lead the efforts to build a chapel in the woods at the Indiana FFA Center. Although the family is quoted saying that "God thought and acted on a much grander scale than we could have imagined" and now that chapel in the woods is now known as the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center.

The family is quoted saying that "God thought and acted on a much grander scale
than we could have imagines" and now that chapel in the woods is
now known as the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center.  
      This center can be rented out from the Indiana FFA Leadership Center which will accommodate over 100 people for theatre style seating. It conveniently was built with a full kitchen, two fireplaces, an outdoor deck facing the center's lake, and five hotel-style rooms which will house 20 quests overnight.

      Valerie's story in The Journey is more than the Destination can purchased

     I would love to have known Valerie, but after reading The Journey is more than the Destination and having had the opportunity to spend many hours in the beautiful Fellowship Center her family built "to honor all those who have touched the lives and hearts of the FFA" studying, spending time with FFA members, and reflecting, it has made me feel as if I personally am connected with Valerie and her family.

     I hope you consider reading The Journey is more than the Destination and after finishing it I encourage you to plan a trip to stay at the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center with your family, FFA chapter, church and/or work group - you will not be disappointed! Renting the beautiful Fellowship Center opens the doors to explore all 170 acres of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, swim or fish in the 5 1/2 acre lake, participate in team training through our newly renovated ropes course, and most importantly make memories that will last a lifetime. More information can be found on,, or by calling the Center's office at (317) 878-4570.  

Smiling for Valerie,

Allie Abney
Indiana FFA State President

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Banquets and State Convention and Fish, Oh My.

May marks the end of banquet season. Since March 18th the seven of us have been flying around the state and have attended a total of 93 banquets, averaging about 13 per officer. Whether it was being the farthest I had ever been from my house alone or showing up late and having to speak as soon as I walked in, I had quite a few learning experiences along the way. I had four banquets one week that were each about three hours from the Leadership Center, so I definitely had some quality singing time in my car, but the long hours definitely paid off when I arrived at a banquet. I had a fantastic time at every banquet I went to and met some pretty awesome people. It was great to see our members awarded for all of their hard work. 

While all of these banquet shenanigans took place, our days were spent in the office. We are about chin deep in state convention preparations and the water is rising fast. Everything is really starting to come together. I can’t spill all of the surprises, but I’m the chair of the 6th session on Thursday afternoon (the elections session), and you’re not going to want to miss it. I can't wait to see everyone there!

Both of our summer interns have arrived and we are happy to have Mallarie and Shelby here with us. Along with them, we have several more new arrivals to the center. First, Cam and I bought some desk fish. He got two but is down to one already, and I have one named Bo-bo and he’s crazy. He loves to pick up rocks and smash his fish face into the tank walls. It’s kind of interesting to watch. 

Our other new arrival is a drum corps. Yes, the whole center is booked out to a drum corps. Sarah welcomed them and told them how happy we are to have them and they said “until you are trying to sleep and we’re drumming all night.” The next four weeks might be very exciting with them here but we are happy that they are.

I did not catch that fish, I just wanted to feel cool. 

I’ll keep you up to date on how the fish are doing.

With Love,

Shelby Sigman
Indiana FFA State Reporter

Monday, April 28, 2014

Beginning the Journey


The Indiana FFA has been blessed to have thirty-seven Indiana FFA State Officer Candidates for the 2014-2015 Indiana FFA State Officer Team. Within this group, there is great potential for the Indiana FFA Organization to mold into our next leaders. Until then, these individuals have a great journey to be enjoyed.

               This past weekend many of the candidates joined together at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center to help with our Spring CDEs: Floriculture, Small Engines, and Practical Forestry, view an Executive Committee Meeting, convene for the State Officer Candidate Open House, and get to know one another. Their journey will most importantly be marked by the time they spend together and the relationships they build. Their journey is arduous, but it can be rewarding.

               As a candidate last year, I pray for each of these candidates. I pray that they all find a “heart to serve” and a “mind to work”. I pray they build lifelong relationships and find immense personal growth throughout the process. My biggest wish is that these candidates have fun.

               I have gotten to know many of the thirty-seven in my time in FFA. They are talented, have huge hearts, and bright personalities. I feel close to them and love them all dearly. I wish each of them the best, not in becoming a state officer, but in life. These candidates all represent how the FFA can develop individuals. For seven, it will be a continued process to grow and serve, but for all thirty-seven, it will be a process that will continually serve them in their future endeavors.

Best Wishes,

Ethan McNeely

Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President



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...


Look like this!