Friday, September 14, 2018

Purpose Fuels Passion

Do you ever feel lost? Like you are wondering through a dark forest with no paths to follow? I have been there before. I was in sixth grade, all of my friends played sports and were athletic and I was the least athletic person in my class. I wanted to be the popular athlete in the future because that was the goal of every other sixth grader. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I did not know my purpose.
Going into seventh grade, I was still trying to fit into this unrealistic expectation of how my life was supposed to pan out: play basketball and volleyball all through middle and high school then go on to become a college athlete. These were my friends’ goals so I thought in order for me to fit in, they had to be mine too.

When school started, there was an FFA callout and I went because my dad was in FFA. Even though in some of my classmates’ eyes it was not the “cool” thing to do, I was immediately sold. I quickly became involved in my chapter through community service projects and contests we competed in. Slowly, I began to realize that my purpose did not lie in sports, but rather in serving those around me.

Because I dared to do something different, FFA helped me discover my purpose. Throughout high school I was able to take that purpose and find the things I am passionate about.  Serving others on mission trips to Honduras, at places such as Circle City Relief, and through community service projects back home. These passions opened my eyes to new perspectives that I would not have gotten otherwise. Taking a part in something bigger than yourself is the most rewarding job ever.

Maybe you feel lost. If you do, I encourage you to think outside of the box and dare to be different even if it is not the “cool” thing to do. You never know what doors that action may open for you. If you have the courage to be different, you will find your purpose which will lead to discovering your passions. Your purpose will fuel your passions.

Be you,
Savannah Bordner

Monday, September 10, 2018

Starting Line in Mind

Now is the time where my teammates and I are traveling across the state for chapter visits and district kickoffs. My first week group consisted of Chyenne, Jarrett, and me. On Wednesday, September 5 we were in district three and decided to stop for lunch at Jimmy Johns. We walked in, ordered lunch, and sat down at one of the booths. If you have ever been to Jimmy Johns you know that they have a wide array of signs throughout the restaurant. One of these signs was hanging on the wall by the booth and we started reading it. It was a list and the title of the list was “16 Things That it Took Me Over 50 Years to Learn by Dave Barry (On the event of his 50th birthday).” One of these numbers stuck out to me...
15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
This is the circumstance for many students we are facilitating to during chapter visits and kickoffs. Unlike some, I was very fortunate to come from a school where FFA was the thing to do. I have noticed that others have not been so lucky. At some schools, individuals are ridiculed for being an FFA member. Those brave members join the organization looking to benefit from it like everyone else does, but also hopefully start a spark for other students to join. This embodies one of the reasons why we have chapter visits. Many of the students we talk to are middle schoolers who have their high school FFA career ahead of them or high school students who aren’t in FFA. It could just take one experience for someone to join FFA.
It’s hard to stand alone. I remember this being a fear for me when I was considering state office. My advisor was always there for me when I had a question or needed advice to improve a project. During state office, I couldn’t just send him a presentation or speech and ask for his thoughts on it. I thought I would be alone. I’ve learned this year that I will have individual projects, but the team will always be there to support me. If I need something to be looked over, an opinion on an idea, or a brainstorming session then my team will step up and help.

The reason we don’t start a project could be because we are too focused on the end goal and forget about the steps to get there. When a large task is presented, we just have to take it one step at a time. Focus on the “now” to reach the “then.” If the goal is to start a new fundraiser, start by determining what the fundraiser will be and what resources are already there. It would be overwhelming to think of every action that needs to be done. Trying something new is a scary feat for many of us, but if we tackle projects in steps it can make the end goal seem more realistic.

Never stop trying,
Brittany Gonzales
State Secretary

Thursday, August 30, 2018


     We have seen it a million times. Someone stands behind a phone to take a picture and says that phrase, “Say cheese!” People smile, maybe say, “CHEEEEESEEE” back, and right after the photo is taken, they have a completely straight face. I have witnessed this so often and I’ll be honest; I am guilty of it too. I smile for the picture and the picture only, and then immediately wipe the smile off my face.

     A group of girls and I were taking a photo and witnessed a “say cheese” moment. I would define a “say cheese” moment as a time where a smile is completely forced and definitely just for the picture. Every single one of us stopped smiling right when we were finished taking the photo. Someone pointed this out to us and I felt as if this was something I could work on. It may have been a small change, but I made it a priority of mine to continue smiling after a photo was taken and to smile more often. I tried this on during the Indiana State Fair and felt so excited to be there. I have found myself genuinely happier and enjoying the little things a lot more as I smile more often.

     I was scrolling through my camera roll and I 
realized that the best photos are the ones with
 genuine smiles. The "CHEESE" moments here
 are some examples:

     A simple smile can do wonders for ourselves and more importantly, the people around us. The “say cheese” moments may seem forced at times. But the “CHEESE” moments, when we are smiling from ear to ear and genuinely excited to be smiling and be present, are some of the best moments we could ever experience. Smile because you want to, not because you have to. 

Keep on cheesin’! 
Sami DeLey

Friday, August 24, 2018

Remember Your Roots

     My accomplishments would be few and far between if it weren’t for those responsible for my upbringing. Most of my values and virtues come from my family; hard-work from my step-father, compassion and responsibility from my grandparents, and love from my mother. While there are many values I developed from them, I continue to build my ideals. I thank my friends for teaching me loyalty, my teachers for persistency, and strangers for humbleness. Unfortunately, I’m not taking this opportunity to personally thank all of you like I should, that’s not the educational experience I want to share at this time. This is a time to reflect on how we all got wrapped up in this beautiful whirlwind.
     My feet didn’t begin running through the fields of corn next to my grandparent’s house; they were sunk in the clay of the pond. I knew that we had a tractor in the barn, but I was more worried about getting my fishing pole out and finally hooking some of the bass in the three-quarter acre pond. The world was barely more than the end of the seemingly endless driveway, and boy did I take it for granted. The time spent worriless on the dock or watching the creek trickle away to meet with the St. Mary’s will never be brought back, but those are vivid memories that remind me of why I keep pushing on when life gets rough.
     As time moved on and I moved away from that little bubble of paradise, I learned the joys and discomforts of agricultural life on my step-family’s farm. I acquired my first hogs for the county fair and started riding in the tractors with the guys. Now, these tractors were a little bit bigger than the International 1046 grandpa would let me ride with him. These were used for what is now over 3500 acres of grain farming. I took these experiences for granted as well, pursuing time to waste rather than learn more about being a helpful farmhand. However, as I moved through my years of school to finally make it to high school, I made the best decision I’ve probably ever made by joining the local FFA chapter.
     Joining the chapter alone is not the highlight, nor are the opportunities that I have taken because of it. The true joy was meeting all of these amazing people I could call my friends. My friends pushed me along to become a better version of me. I was working hard towards my success, but the beginnings as a regular member were where I gained a lot of my perception of FFA. I learned it truly is what you make of it. I decided I could make it be an integral part of my life by becoming a State Officer.
     Through two months of the job, I’ve met a wide diversity of people: the public, members, sponsors, and government officials. Telling them my story of FFA and how it’s amazing is important to me, but there were times where I felt pressured. Fortunately, I was able to return home and compete at my 4-H county fair. The thing about my time with 4-H is that’s how I got involved with FFA in the first place. I was trying to be a club officer, and someone confused those intentions with becoming an FFA officer, so they told me to get involved with my chapter. Going back to my fair, I remembered that there was life beyond my work with the FFA. What really brought reality back to me was the conversations I had with those who were curious about what I was doing nowadays. They ended my final day at the fair with the words “stay humble; never forget your roots.” To keep with this, I remember the feeling of pond clay between my toes, looking at the water and looking up to the blue sky.
     What’s your clay that keeps you grounded? Whatever it is, use that memory to hold you steadfast to your values.
Never forget your roots,
Jarrett Bailey
Indiana FFA State Sentinel

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Blessings and Burdens

Greatness… While there is no specific unit of measurement for such a thing, people strive to achieve whatever they deem fits the description of the word. Despite the term lacking a definite, universal meaning, people toil day in and day out to acquire it. The acquisition of such a thing typically comes after a long period of painstaking work. We exert ourselves to the point that the work we do becomes a burden. Our labor sometimes burdens us to the point where we want to quit; our labor becomes so routine and methodical that we can forget what our end goal is or, worse yet, why we are making such an effort. But the tenacious toil on… still seeking, continually searching for, that individually defined objective.

There are two types of success—lasting and temporary. The latter is typically associated with awards, achievements, and accomplishments, while the former is usually found through positions, jobs, and roles. Temporary successes may be short lived, but they prove we have the ability to achieve lasting success. Many times, the accumulation of temporary successes will result in a lasting success.

If a basketball player consistently scores the most points on her team and is still able to give out double digit assists, that individual will likely be selected as the team captain. If a factory worker is continually able to surpass his quota on the assembly line, that person may be promoted to floor manager. If a soldier is able to frequently outperform his squad mates, he may be promoted to sergeant. In all of these situations the person was able to find temporary success, and by doing so regularly, received a form of lasting success. The work leading up to both was no doubt burdening to the individual, and the recognition that followed was absolutely a blessing, but the process doesn’t stop there.

When we reach the point of success we are blessed. At this point, many of us simultaneously give and receive praise. We give to those who helped us and receive from those who admire us. Our blessings become something we cherish, something we don’t ever want to lose, and we hold them tightly.
After fighting the burden of achieving greatness, then basking in the blessing of having it, we hit a wall that’s existence isn’t known until it is ran into. This wall is the next level of burdens. These are the struggles people only face after having their successful, glory filled moment. The burden of acquiring greatness is known to all who have ever desired it; the burden of having greatness is known only to those who have achieved it. Two burdens arise after greatness has been achieved, and each correlates to a type of success. They are the difficulty of continually seeking more success, and the difficulty of performing the job that came with the previously acquired blessing. It is a euphoric feeling when we achieve greatness, but keeping up with the pace of that unspecified, ever evading goal is tiring and difficult to do.

Regardless of where we are in life, we will always be burdened. It is human nature to desire success, which is why we constantly strive for it even during times that it seems so far away. At all times we should be striving for more. To settle is to go against our nature. If you achieved an award you desired, bask in the glory momentarily then roll on to the next one. If you acquired an officer role or ranking job position, be grateful then focus on the job at hand. If you receive a bonus for an outstanding performance, be thankful then work to repeat yourself. We can never stop striving for more. Whether we are shooting for the stars or just searching for contentment, we must all keep striving. No matter where we are, we will all be surrounded by people who are burdened. We will carry our burdens just as everyone else does. The only cure is to seek our next blessing, and then repeat the process. At no point should it be easy. But it is the difficulty that should propel us to do more. We are all capable of finding and doing ‘more.’

Ease can be found in a life of mediocrity. Difficulty will be found in a life of greatness.

Austin B. Berenda

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

MY Obstacle, YOUR Reward

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to travel back home and as I drove, I took a quick detour to see one of my closest friends, Kaitlyn. Her and I have one of those friendships where we are able to call one another sisters. We have two COMPLETELY opposite personalities but when we are together, there is never a dull moment. Most of our memories consist of goat shows, cleaning the barn, shopping trips, and long talks. The past few months we’ve been pushed to take advantage of short visits with one another. This detour was one of those moments.  

When I arrived at Kaitlyn’s apartment, I was so excited to first, look through her fridge for food and second, see her for possibly the last time until December. Kaitlyn is a few years older than me and is getting ready to move to Oklahoma to start her first full time job. I have known about the thought of her moving since the beginning of the summer, but in only a few days from now that thought will become a reality. She will actually be 12 hours and 3 states away.

As I get ready to knock on the apartment door, I feel my mind recollect that this is the final time I will every knock on this door and the final time I will be able to take that quick detour to see her. She opened the door, I walked in, and we took advantage of the short 45 minute time period we had to chat. I never wanted to have her 12 hours away. I never wanted her to be 3 states away, but I never had a say.

Every now and then, we run into obstacles that we truly wish were not there. Life would be a lot easier having Kaitlyn in Indiana, but that isn’t the case. This is my obstacle right now. However this isn’t her obstacle, this is her reward. Her long nights spent studying and working with tutors allowed her to graduate college. This is my obstacle and her reward. A lot of times, we are so focused on what is making our life difficult that we forget to look at how it is making someone else's better. I challenge you to look at someone else’s life for a moment. See if what you see as an obstacle is actually their reward.
Always trying to see your rewards,
Chyenne Deno
2018-2019 Indiana FFA State Reporter

Friday, July 27, 2018

Time to Reflect is Time Well Spent

Let’s take a step back. It’s time to reflect and see where we are, where we have come from and where we want to be. Here is a quote that was shared with the two-hundred and ninety-six state officers this week at the State Officer Summit, “When you take time to do an action take time to reflect. If you do not reflect on that moment, it is time wasted.” So, with that being said, let’s focus on a moment that relates back to what the fifty-two associations are learning at the very first ever State Officer Summit.
The Summit is a newly constructed curriculum for the state officers to attend in Washington, D.C. During this time, the officers attending work on advocacy, meet with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill and meet officers from across the country. So now that you understand what The Summit is, we can dive right in.

As we attended reflections, I had the opportunity to talk to one of my teammates, as well as reflect on why I ran for state office. Throughout this week, we have talked about advocacy, being a part of this team and in my small group, discussed how to be the best we can be for the members. So this week, I was thinking and reflecting on how I almost did not run. I looked at the amazing individuals running, doubted my own abilities and started putting in my head I was not good enough and that I couldn’t do it. Did I have what it took? Was my “why” for running good enough and did it reflect me? These were questions I constantly asked myself.

As I sat on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial and looked across the river and saw the amazing lights on the Washington Monument glaring into the river, I sat and reflected on my prior choice of almost dropping out. I had allowed those previous questions to affect me and define my abilities and who I am.  Tonight, it hit me on why I stuck with it, left it in God’s hands and trusted the process. This had been a dream of mine since eighth grade. I could not allow those words to define me and set my path. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

To close, I want to leave you with this, “The front of your jacket says your name, the back of your jacket says where you are from, but nowhere on that jacket does it say who you will become or where you will go.” Take initiative, do not quit and make the impossible possible. Where will your jacket take you?

Always believing,
Nathan Deatrick
State Southern Region Vice President