Thursday, July 13, 2017

30 Days, A world of Difference

This past Sunday, July 8th, 2017, was my first Sunday home as an Indiana FFA State Officer. Not only did I try to cram every single thing I wanted to do with friends into these two short days, but I realized just how different my life is now compared to how it used to be. Looking back to just 30 days ago, it’s difficult to fathom every change that has occurred. June 8th, 2017 marked yet another 20 hour day spent planting the last of the soybean crop on my grandpa’s farm. Our day started around 4:00 AM with the long trip in the tractor to some of our furthest fields and little did I expect the slow day filled with equipment failures that lurked ahead. However, as always, I anticipated the work to come and appreciated the sense of satisfaction that farm labor instilled in me. As my day went on, problems continued. The soil was too dry, the planter was malfunctioning, a tire was going flat, and I was leaving for vacation the next day. It was safe to say that I was a little stressed out. Yet, to top it all off, I had just one week to prepare for State Officer interview rounds at the Indiana FFA State Convention where my fate for the next year would finally be revealed.

This was a fate that I had been wrestling with for weeks. I was constantly asking myself if I was qualified enough to be a state officer or if I would be better off going to college. Either way the uncertainty of what my future held was tearing me apart. Every time someone asked about my plans after high school I was faced with the reality that I still wasn't sure.

But finally, on the 8th day of the month of July, as I sailed across on Lake Monroe, I realized just how much had changed. I was no longer worried about early mornings in the tractor, breakdowns or flat tires. I had achieved my goal of state office, and knew the path that I would follow for the next year. Finally, I had gained the certainty of what was to come that I had desired for so long. Although my life as a state officer may be more focused and routine, I don't think that I would have given up a single minute of my busy life before. There are things that I miss such as the sunrise over Indiana farmland, and the smell of freshly turned dirt on a warm breeze. Just as one of my favorite lines of the FFA creed says, “for I know the joys and discomforts of an agricultural life…,” I too have many positive and negative memories from my life on the farm. Without all of these memories, good or bad, I can undoubtedly say that I would not be where, or who, I am today.

-Wyatt Law

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Here's to the FFA Members

The great majority of 6.62 million Indiana residence aren’t aware that there is an elite group of 12,000 students who are incredible leaders, community builders, and agriculture supporters. These 12,000 students all have a different story to tell, diverse passions to love, and unique purposes they serve. I’ve been lucky enough to not only meet thousands of these people, but be impacted by them. They’ve taught me more lessons than they could even phantom. If you’re one of those 12,000 Indiana FFA members reading this blog – this one is for you.

Most people who know me, know that one of my passions is communications, more specifically, social media. Knowing this fact, it makes sense that one of my goals is to become Twitter famous. To those who aren’t familiar with Twitter, to be Twitter famous means to be well known on Twitter, essentially receiving thousands of likes and retweets on your posts. There was one time this year that I became kinds sorta close to being Twitter famous. As I was leaving Columbus FFA’s banquet, I felt as though a Tweet about how incredible FFA members are was necessary after the impact they left on me. After spending 10 minutes on this one post, I finally created the perfect Tweet that relayed the message I wanted to share in the 140 characters that are allowed. My tweet read, “FFA members are the most inspiring, incredible, and passionate people I know. I’m beyond lucky to be impacted by this type of human.” I believe in every word this Tweet says, but I was surprised at how many other people also believed in the thoughts I had to share. Other FFA members, people who live across America, and adults engaged in this tweet by liking it and retweeting it. I was completely shocked at the reach this post contained until I realized that it only makes sense for people to show this post some love. Who wouldn’t agree with a post that highlights the beauty of FFA members?!
The post that kinda sorta became Twitter famous.

My decision to run for State Office was inspired by all the FFA members I previously met. I knew that I wanted to make a positive difference in their lives and help them become better versions of themselves. What I didn’t expect at all was the difference these members would make on my life. FFA members typically don’t think they impact a State Officer. They normally think we impact them (or so we hope). However, the beauty of this situation is that no matter what type of FFA member you are, you are making a difference.  A quote I’ve recently come across that reminds me of members is, “everything you do has some effect, some impact.” Indiana FFA members have transformed the lives of the 7 State Officers as they showed us their genuine selves, shared their greatest dreams with us, and reminded us why we serve.
Columbus FFA's banquet!

Danville FFA: A chapter that has transformed me for the better!
North Posey FFA: One chapter of MANY that has impacted me!

With all that being said, thank you to every Indiana FFA member. Thank you for transforming my life for the better. In 22 days, my year of service will be over, but one thing that will never end is the love and passion I have for FFA members and our wonderful organization. Here’s to the FFA member who is a Greenhand and is scared yet excited for everything FFA has to offer. Here’s to the FFA member who’s graduating, becoming a proud FFA alum and leaving our organization better than when they began. Here’s to the FFA member who is still debating on joining FFA, but is giving it a chance anyways. Here’s to all FFA members. Thank you for your dedication, impact, and love.

Forever Transformed, Always Thankful
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Northern Region VP

Sneha Jogi

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lights, Camera, Jump In

The girls bathroom was filled with numerous aromas ranging from burning hair to perfume and hairspray. After the final piece of hair was in place, the make-up was touched up and Nathan finished whatever guys do when they get ready, we were camera-ready. Today was not just another day at the State Officer House, today was a day spent filming.

The day started with filming our parent recognition video and followed with filming a few commercials. Next, we found ourselves filming a commercial for PopSockets. We filmed various scenes including dropping our phones on our faces, attempting to prop our phone up on the salt shaker and even dropping our phone into the lake because we did not have a firm grip without an Indiana FFA PopSocket. We tried to be relatively logical and did not drop our actual phone into the lake and instead threw a phone case into the lake to stage dropping a phone. What we hadn’t planned for was the phone cases’ quick descent to the bottom of the lake.

Moments later we were faced with a decision. We could either forget the phone case, keep our camera ready look and have an afternoon full of productivity or change quickly and attempt to rescue the phone case. After a few seconds of pondering, Emily and I darted to our room, changed clothes and were back to the lake.

Now it was time to find the phone case. Luckily, we knew the general area where the case fell in and Logan had goggles so it would be challenging, but not impossible. I strapped on my goggles and descended to the bottom of the lake. I quickly realized that the goggles were not going to be much help when the lake water was cloudy. Nonetheless, I kept diving attempting to find Logan’s phone case. One time I was convinced I had it, but soon realized it was a misshapen branch. The quest continued, but unfortunately the case was nowhere to be found.

Emily and I could have spent hours pondering if we should get in the lake, but instead we chose to just jump in. Even if our chance at finding this case was pretty slim we decided to take the plunge. In life, there are often moments when we are apprehensive and may be nervous about the next opportunity. We might be afraid that the outcome will not be quite what we wanted. Let’s choose to just jump in. How or where we jump in may look a bit different. Maybe it is simply trying something new, stepping outside of our comfort zone or taking the jump to devote time to selflessly serve those around you. Take time this week to put your apprehensions and fears aside and simply jump in, because I know you will make a huge splash.

Taking the plunge,
Leah Jacobs
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Reporter

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Journey Between the Destination

The Journey Between the Destination

During Banquet season, I have covered a lot of miles in my car, used lots of gas and have truly seen areas of Indiana that I have never seen before. I try to embrace Rodney Atkin’s lyrics and “Take a Backroad” as often as I can when I am driving to or from a banquet with a couple minutes to spare.
A gorgeous sunset I captured one evening! 

While adventuring, I have seen many majestic scenes that make each town, county and township unique. I quickly recall the cutest town circle in Paoli, the happiest water tower driving from Bellmont High School, the most beautiful farmsteads in rural Shelby and Decatur Counties and so many more. 
Look closely to see the happy water tower! :) 

Pictures fill my camera roll of these captivating memories. I think about if I had chosen to stay on the main road, I would not have the opportunity to see these neat places. I also would not have new ideas to fuel my dream farmhouse, farmstead and even the most ideal town! Trust me, everywhere we go, our team sees various houses and envisions our dream one that are perfectly planned in our minds- of course, with an unlimited amount of money.
Sometimes, I become so attentive on reaching the banquet – the end destination – that I lost sight of everything else that the journey has to offer. But, when I made the choice to explore, I realized that there is so much more to the journey than the destination.
Isn’t that so much like our lives? We become so captivated by the end destination - a goal, an event, an achievement – that we forget to enjoy the journey of life we are each blessed with.
We live life flying with blinders on, but if we would only take them off, we will realize that there’s so much more to experience.
The journey to our destination is has so much more to offer us than the destination itself. Each journey brings opportunities, experiences and scenes we could never imagine. Always enjoy every moment of your journey that brings you to your destination.

Making the journey count,

Emily Dougherty
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Be an Agvocate

              Around November or December, my teammates and I, as well as Mr. Martin, went out to eat at the small Southern Comfort Cafe right in the heart of the booming metropolis of Trafalgar. At this lunch was one of our team’s weekly meetings, by the way they are usually at the State Officer house, so going out to even this small cafe for lunch was pretty exciting. However, something that was even more exciting was that this was the meeting where one of us was going to be randomly drawn to go to Washington D.C. in March for National Ag Day. So, all five of us put our names on a piece of paper and then put that piece of paper in a hat to be drawn by Mr. Martin. Note, Jessica and Chaela did not put their names in the hat due to the fact they had both already been to D.C. for State Presidents conference in July. Then, Mr. Martin randomly drew a name and low and behold the amazing outcome. The name on the piece of paper was, “Nathan Blume.” I did find it quite fitting because I was the only one out of the bunch that had never been to D.C.
            Why exactly was I going to D.C. you might be asking? Well, National Ag Day is a day that is recognized annually and a day that has a great amount of value on the agricultural industry. A task force of youth and collegiate organizations such as 4-H, AFA, and FFA work together to plan an event in Washington D.C. for several FFA members and college students. The Indiana FFA Association was allotted one representative to head out to D.C. for the event and I was the lucky one that got to fill the spot. Now, to take you through my journey and the importance it played on myself and those that make impacting decisions for the state of Indiana.

              I had to wake up extremely early on a Monday morning to catch the flight and head out to D.C. Keep in mind, I had never ridden on an airplane before, so I was quite a bit nervous. I did eventually make it through security and on to the plane where I anxiously waited for takeoff. The flight lasted about an hour and a half, having my eyes open for only ten of those minutes. Once we landed, I got off the plane as quickly as I could and headed out into the airport, which was crazy. Then came the difficult part, finding transportation. I decided that Uber was the best way to go about getting around this crazy city. Uber is basically a taxi, except you call for the vehicle using your phone and the driver is just driving an everyday, normal car. After I got out of the Uber, which was quite interesting for no reason besides it being odd that someone I had never met was driving me around, I was in the National Mall. I had until early afternoon before I had to be at the National 4-H center to begin the learning sessions. I took as much time as I possibly could to walk around to all the monuments and see what the city was all about. Let me tell you, I reached my 10,000-step goal very quickly that day, as it is no jog in the park to see everything, but I saw just about every major memorial in close proximity, including the white house.

            After my adventures of exploring the monuments and doing some sight-seeing, I had to get another Uber to take me directly to the National 4-H center, where the actual events of National Ag Day would commence. I got to the center, went to my room, and headed to the main conference meeting place where the meeting session was. There were FFA members, college students, and many others from all over that were here for one common purpose, advocating for agriculture. That truly is the purpose of National Ag Day, to advocate for the industry so many of us hold near and dear to our hearts. Once in the room with everyone and after getting to know those at my table, the advocating sessions began. Basically, the reason myself and others were going through these sessions was so we could get to know some Ag Issues and to craft a message that we were going to deliver to our legislators. Everyone in that room was going to be heading to Capitol Hill the next morning to speak to their senators and representatives about agriculture and to formally ask them for their support of the industry. Following the long night of training and practicing the message I wanted to facilitate, I knew that National Ag Day was going to be a success.
            In the morning, the day of National Ag Day, I loaded up onto a bus and we set out for Capitol Hill. Once at Capitol Hill I teamed up with my fellow Hoosiers and we set out to the visits we had scheduled for the day. Throughout the day, myself as well as the others representing Indiana spoke to the legislative assistants of Representatives Rokita, Brooks, and Walorski. We even got to speak directly to Indiana’s two Senators, Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Todd Young. It really was a unique opportunity to speak as a voice of agriculture and to facilitate a discussion regarding the importance agriculture holds and why they should support it. I had the opportunity to advocate for agriculture on National Ag Day and we all have that same opportunity every single day.

            Agriculture is something that is so important to everyone, especially those of us that work within agriculture, support agriculture, and those that believe in its future. Every single day, the general public, including the law makers are getting out of touch with agriculture and the importance it plays within our country. So, I encourage everyone to understand the importance of advocating for agriculture and to do something about it. Whether it be organizing an Ag Day event for the public, speaking with state legislators, or just engaging in a conversation about agriculture with your hair stylist, we have to advocate for agriculture. To all those reading this, be an Agvocate.

Striving to Agvocate,

State Treasurer,
Nathan Blume 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adventure Time

When was the last time you did something spontaneous? Can you say it was this month or even this week? Spontaneity, especially when shared with friends, can give you a sense of happiness and creativity unlike any other.

Earlier this week, after a long day in the office, Chaela, Emily, Jessica, and I made our way to Edinburg for a little shopping. However, this planned shopping trip soon turned into an adventure that included history, corgis, and one beautiful sunset.  

When we left the outlets like most car rides with us girls, the windows were down and the Dixie Chicks were blaring. As we passed through Camp Atterbery, a military base not far from the FFA Center, Chaela and Emily wanted to show us the POW Chapel that was about a mile from the base. After Emily pointed for us to turn, we knew we were in trouble because Chaela was convinced that they had never taken that route to the chapel. We followed the curvy roads for what seemed like forever, not sure that we were even going the right direction. The signs eventually took us to a small structure that held so much American history, but those signs also led us through some of the most beautiful, backroads of Johnson County.  The narrow road with bright green roadsides mixed with a beautiful Indiana sunset reminded me of summer nights back home. 

Just before we reached the POW Chapel we came across a marsh.  Our car slowed as we took in the alluring sunset, but we had to convince Jessica not to steal a fisherman’s swimming corgi.  Soon after, we reached the chapel and were amazed by the intricate murals that covered the walls. We read about the Italian Prisoners of War and how they built this chapel during World War II.  The rich history that lies just miles from our home at the FFA Center was truly humbling as we imagined the people that stood here 74 years ago.

As we left, we decided it was well worth our time to stop and meet Meg the Corgi and have her very friendly owner take our photo with Gods divine creation that covered the sky.

So often in life, I have found myself lost in a busy schedule, or an approaching deadline that I haven’t appreciated the little things in life.  The detour on our way home, a spring evening, and even the company of some amazing people all played a role in our spontaneous adventure. What will your next adventure be?

Loving life,
Logan Glassburn

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Love the Little Things

Emily and I with some awesome Triton FFA members! Their hard work truly paid off with a huge and successful Ag Day!
Schools and communities across the State of Indiana host “Ag Days,” farm tours, and petting zoos in order to educate elementary school students and community members on the importance of agriculture and where their food comes from. As state officers, we are blessed to attend some of these events, and this past week, my teammate Emily and I had the opportunity to attend 2 ag days in 2 different communities.

While at the Triton FFA Elementary Ag Day, I learned a valuable and important message from one of the students in the most unexpected way.

My role at the Ag Day was to lead groups of elementary schoolers around to all of the different stations and keep them on schedule. By the time I had my third group of students, I had learned the best order to make sure that they got to see everything from the reptiles to the donkeys. My third group of students started out like the rest, but at our second stop, I could that one student just wasn’t having a good time. I approached him and asked what was wrong, and he replied, “I don’t want to get my shoes dirty and I don’t like animals.”

At first I just ignored it and decided that the student would just have to miss out on all the fun! But as we walked through the same mud that he hated to get to the next station, I saw something catch his attention. He reached down and picked up a juicy, wiggly, pink worm. My initial reaction was to tell him to put it down before he got in trouble, but as I continued to watch him study it, I could see for the first time that he was actually interested in something. As we got to the next station he pulled me aside and asked if he could keep the worm. I thought about it for a minute and realized that each student was carrying around a cup of soil that they had planted a seed in. I told him, “you can keep the worm on one condition… put it at the bottom of your cup of soil and don’t get it out until you get home tonight.” The student was overjoyed and his mood immediately changed for the rest of the day.

This boy had every animal you could ever want to see, games, and activities at his fingertips, but all he wanted to do was play with a worm. He taught me many things, the first being that you can’t trust elementary schoolers as he ended up hitting his classmate with the worm. The second being that sometimes you can find the most joy in the little things. Yes, the worm was literally small, but this boy knew what would make him happy and he took a moment to share that with me.
These chicks are just another tiny animal that brought so much joy! 
Next time you find something that makes you happy, big or small, don’t be afraid to show that to others and truly embrace it. Whether it’s taking a run in the morning, getting a great deal while shopping, or perfectly buttered popcorn, allow the small things to bring you joy every day.

Learning to love worms, 

Jessica Mars 
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State President