Sunday, July 10, 2016
The Conference Center at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center was split into four different sections. Each of the four sections had some hungry, hungry FFA members. Members had the chance to play a human version of the classic childhood game, Hungry Hungry Hippos. Colored balls were set up in the center of the room for members to “eat” with a laundry basket. As one group member would put on their helmet and lay down on a scooter their teammate would be reeling them in and out with the string attached to the scooter. The first goal was to lift up their basket to collect as many balls as possible, but eventually the goal became more challenging. Students were then assigned a color and would only get points for the balls in their basket that were that color. While this was challenging for students, they remained hungry and used that challenge to motivate them.
In life, there are times where we want to lose that hunger for success. Times where we become discouraged because we do not reach our goals and dreams, or that loss of hunger may even come from someone else saying we are not capable of achieving our goal. Your goal could be anything from being awarded a Grand Champion Banner to beating your records at the next sports game or winning an FFA Career Development Event. Whatever the goal may be for you, remember to stay hungry for success. Do not let others discourage you and certainly do not discourage yourself. One may not achieve their goals the first, second, or even the hundredth time, but they could easily be on the brink of success and achieve their goal the next time they try.
During Summer Challenge, attendees had the chance to look into a different meaning of hunger throughout the Hunger for Innovation Project. Participants discussed that many do not get access to quality nutrition and that 40% of all food in the United States is wasted. Through a poverty dinner, tracking food waste and group discussions members began to realize that the statistics related to hunger are more than just statistics. The statistics represent real people that are hurting not only across the globe, but also right in our backyards. Facilitator Jacob Mueller said, “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.” While we continue staying hungry, never forget to stay humble. Many of the things we take for granted are what others would do anything to have.
Just as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson once said, “Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.” FFA members, supporters and stakeholders always remember the importance of remaining humble during successes, hungry during failures and hardworking always.
Hungry to grow and humbled to serve,
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Reporter
Monday, July 4, 2016
There I was, sitting in the back row of the 4th general session of the 87th Indiana FFA State Convention. To me it was the longest, most dreaded session of convention, but to over 400 FFA members, it was an exciting, exhilarating, and adrenaline filled experience. To them it was there chance to be recognized, the Hoosier degree session, where they received one of the highest honors the Indiana FFA Association awards. To me it was the session before I opened that anticipated envelope.
The fourth general session was stressful for every state officer candidate. I sat shaking my leg, holding my Hoosier degree chain in my hand, rubbing the charm with my thumb, waiting for that tap of the gavel, so I could head to Stewart 218 and receive my envelope. The walk from Eliot Hall to of Music to the Stewart Center was even worse, with the sun setting, the breeze flowing, and the adrenaline building, my heart began to pump that much harder. I walked up the stairs to the Stewart Center, looked around, saw my friend and anxiously walked towards him. Only four of the State Officer Candidates were waiting at the door when I got there. I spoke briefly with my friend, then began to pace around the hallway. Mr. Martin and Mr. Hays finally showed up and unlocked the doors to the room. We slowly filed in and awaited the arrival of the "envelopes".
Before we were handed our envelopes, Mr. Martin made sure to tell us something. This is something that really struck a chord with myself. He made sure to tell us that no matter which names where on the paper, that we were all great kids and that we were all very special. I was handed my envelope and quickly left the room. My plan was to walk down to the basement of the Stewart Center and open my envelope in the freight elevator. However, I was unable to await the anticipation, so I opened the letter as I was walking down the stairs. As I was reading the paper I noticed four names before I noticed my own. So, the anxiety was built strongly. That moment I read my name I experienced drastic change. Ever since I witnessed my name on that paper, everything has flown by so quickly. I was installed, moved out of my house, moved into the State Officer House, been assigned jobs, met staff, swung off a rope swing into the lake, set up my office space, and done much more.
The week since I have be elected as the Indiana FFA State Treasurer has flown by extremely quickly, but has been exciting as well. Us State officers had under 48 hours to pack our belongings and arrive at the Leadership Center. Since arriving, we have gone over the simple procedures of being State Officers, met the center staff, swam in the lake, gone to Trafalgar, and begun Blast Off Training. To say the experience has been mind blowing would be a drastic understatement. Being elected as a State Officer is filled with a great amount of enthusiasm and excitement, but that eventually turns into stress, busyness, and anxiety. We have jumped right into our roles as officers and taken on a great deal of responsibility. That is however, what us State Officers are here to do, take responsibility, teach responsibility, and showcase responsibility. We are and we will be required to be the leaders of the Indiana FFA Association and that is a lot to take in, in such a short amount of time.
Being elected as an Indiana FFA State officer brings a lot of gratitude and enjoyment, but the opportunity has such a greater meaning. We don’t become State Officers just because we want that title. We become, or try to become state officers because we want to be that voice, that figure, or that personality that leads the organization and its members. I know without a doubt that the State Officer team three years ago had a lasting impact on myself. The officer team was a body of individuals that I personally looked up to and the source of much of my inspiration. In fact, that team is responsible for much of my involvement in this great organization. With that being said, the 2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Officer team is looking forward to working with all of the Indiana FFA members to make an impact on their lives and to help them find their own envelope, whether that be chapter office, district office, state office, or even congressional office.
The seven state officers are extremely excited to be serving the Indiana FFA association. We are pumped to be ambassadors of agriculture, energetic about the 11,856 Indiana FFA members, and most importantly humbled to have been given the opportunity to advocate for agriculture. Indiana FFA, get ready to go through a transformation in your experiences and become involved in the world of agriculture.
Friday, June 3, 2016
From the moment the final gavel tapped, we faced countless adventures. Whether it was tubing on Lake Tippecanoe during state fair retreat, traveling over 2,000 miles to over 100 chapters during district kick-offs, or taking a trip to Arkansas to learn more about Heifer International, we were able to visit nearly all 92 counties and five different states. This kind of intense travel, intense commitment, and intense schedule would not happen without some support. We would like to say thank you to all who helped make our year successful.
To the group of selfless educators who are not celebrated enough, we say thank you. This year we were forced to leave our own classrooms, but felt at home each time we entered one of yours. You gave us a pep talk when we were frustrated, medicine when we looked sick, and your couch when we looked tired. Most importantly, you gave us your years of wisdom, so that our one year of service could be amplified.
To those who have supported us since before we could walk, we say thank you. Your phone calls may have annoyed us at times, but we always knew that you were there for us when we needed it most. You may not have known exactly what we were signing up for, but never once stopped from giving us your unconditional love and support. From an early age, you taught us the importance of character, and that coupled with your example, allowed us to amplify our role as mentors.
To the group of talented FFA members who made our journey worthwhile, we say thank you. You gave us countless laughs and friendships, traveled many hours to the FFA Center to listen to the lessons we wanted to share, and opened your homes to us when we were too tired to travel any longer. When we felt like we weren’t making a difference, your excitement reminded us that we were. We signed up to amplify your life, but as the year went on, our biggest surprise was how much you amplified ours.
This year was the adventure of a lifetime. We cannot believe how quickly it sped by. Without the support of advisors, our families, and FFA members, this year would not have been possible. This year has amplified our character, talents, and futures. For that we will forever be thankful.
Forever changed and always grateful,
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Officers
Annalee, Brett, Courtney, Joshua, Kenzie, Mason, and Sean
Friday, May 6, 2016
To My #MomSquad:
There are far too many of you to name individually, but you know who you are. To the mom who raised me and the ones who were placed in my life this year, this Mother’s Day is a celebration of you. Mom: I was placed in your life, but that doesn’t mean you had to show me as much nurturing, love, and pride as you have. The same can be said to the eight moms who were placed in my life last June. I was just thrust upon you, as were the rest of your children’s teammates. But you took us into your arms and hearts. You’ve given us homes outside of our own to stop at on late nights or just random days; you have provided food for us when we were hungry or just because we were looking a little worn; and you have shown immense pride in all of us when you share our adventures on social media. I have never met a more selfless, humble, and loving group of women. I am beyond humbled and blessed that God gave me you and your families not only for this year, but for the rest of my life. Thank you so much for all that you have done for us this year and all you continue to do. Have a relaxing and blessed Mother’s Day. You all deserve it!
2015 - 2016 Indiana FFA State Reporter
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Like any good Millennial, I have an obsession with Netflix. My most recent show of choice is the one and only, “Parks and Recreation.” This show is all about Leslie Knope, the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and her enthusiasm for local parks in the small town of Pawnee, IN. I have come to love this masterpiece of cinema magic for a few reasons. First, it takes place in the beautiful state of Indiana. What can beat that, right? Second, it is about local government, which I hope to work in someday. Finally, it is about being passionate about your work, which I would argue is one of the most important things in life.
Before I began writing this blog, I had a binge watching session to finish Season 2 of this glorious show (I know, I’m not that far in. Don’t judge me, Parks and Rec veterans). However, the last episode of that season is set around the turmoil of the government shutdown of City of Pawnee due to the city’s poorly run budget. This causes quite the problem for Leslie’s grand plan for the start of the city’s summer concert series for children. She can’t use any of the local parks because of the government shut down. She will have to get all the supplies donated because she can’t use any of the department’s resources. However, Leslie doesn’t let this stop her from bringing the joy to the children of Pawnee. She overcomes all the challenges and puts on a great concert all for the kids.
This is what I love most about Leslie Knope. She doesn’t give up. She identifies the obstacle, determines how she will get around it, and sets her mind to be successful. Often times, I sit back and wonder, is what Leslie puts herself through really worth it? That’s the difference between Leslie Knope and most of us though. She is so insanely passionate about her work that she makes sure she is successful.
Here’s my challenge: Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do. Often times, we get in such a routine with our work. We go through the motion. We do what is absolutely required of us and nothing more. I fall into the same trap. When we fall into this trap of stagnation and apathy, we don’t do all we could and we aren’t as successful as we could be. Every day, we must wake up, reenergize the passion we feel for our work, and push on to be the Leslie Knope of whatever we do. You might ask, what if I don’t feel any passion for what I do? Well, it’s time to move on because if you aren’t passionate, what are you accomplishing?
In the finale episode of Season 2, Mark Brendanawicz, the City Planner, gives Leslie plans for a future park. While he notes he couldn’t fit everything in that she wanted, such as a shark tank or a roller coaster, he thought it was pretty cool. Just when Leslie begins to think she won’t be able to build a park for a while with Pawnee’s budget issues, Mark says, “I wouldn’t bet against you.” If you put your passion to work to overcome whatever challenges you may face, I wouldn’t bet against you either. Whether you are an accountant, a local farmer, a fresh college graduate, an Indiana FFA member, or even a Deputy Parks Director.
Just remember, be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.
Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice President
Sunday, April 3, 2016
As state officers, we have the opportunity to do some pretty awesome things. We have the chance to travel, impact/be impacted by new people, and become close friends with other state officers. Last week, Annalee and I had the chance to travel to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the Tennessee State Convention. It combined all of those “awesome things” I mentioned earlier, so we knew that it was bound to be a blast.
We endured the seven-hour trek to the Volunteer State, singing along to all the Disney songs I didn’t know (but thanks to Annalee I learned every single one). We stopped for the occasional Speedy Freeze or Diet Coke when the interstate seemed to never end. The terrain constantly evolved from flat, to curvy, to mountainous right before our eyes as we drove further south. I couldn’t soak in enough of the beautiful sights. Time flew by, and before we knew it, we were checking in to our hotel for our stay.
I enjoyed watching our friends from Tennessee put on a great convention. We were able to witness differences and similarities in sessions, watch our friends give their retiring addresses, and reward the hard work of numerous members. Our Association jackets received many odd stares, but we weren’t the only ones. Not only did we attend, but Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Florida state officers were there as well. We had all come for the sole intention of hosting workshops, but the convention became so much more than that. We realized that our time together was limited, so it was imperative that we make the most of it. What better way to do that than by an adventure?
After an afternoon session, a large group of us state officers packed into Mississippi’s big SUV and started driving to wherever the road would take us. We found ourselves traveling further and further into the Smoky Mountains, stopping to take pictures and play in the snow. We then made our way to a hole-in-the-wall BBQ restaurant and ate to our heart’s content, laughing and chatting all the while.
When the gas tank was running low and exhaustion started kicking in, we headed back to Gatlinburg. As we drove, I couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful and refreshed. Grateful for the unforgettable friendships we had made, refreshed from a spontaneous trip, and in awe at just how fun that evening was. Work is great, but a little spontaneity never hurts either.
Make sure to take that trip, attend that fun event, or ditch the map and go to wherever that road leads. Escape the ordinary, because the best gift we can ever have is a lifetime of adventure.
2015 - 2016 Indiana FFA State President