Friday, July 20, 2018

Learning from a Weekend Home

The first three weeks of state office have been all about learning. Learning from and about my teammates, learning how we can make the most out of our year as officers, and learning about myself. I think the most invaluable way of learning that has occurred over the past few weeks, has been learning from my teammates.

After reading Sami and Brittany’s blogs, I started thinking about their words and how to apply them to my life. So often, I have failed to listen intently. I have gotten so caught up in the newest song or social media post that I have forgotten to take in those firework moments that truly matter. In high school I was the one that wanted to leave. I wished my time at home with my friends and family away and I could not wait to move on to bigger and better things. I never would have guessed that I would miss home as much as I do right now.

After reflecting on their blog posts, I made it my mission to listen intently and cherish those firework moments. If you haven’t already, check out their posts to understand my learning experience a little better!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go home for my county fair. I surprised my parents on Saturday night and saw some of my very best friends. On Sunday, I decided I wanted to go to the annual 4-H fair parade, and my mom reminded me that it was tradition for 10 year 4-H members to ride on a fire truck and I was immediately sold.

While riding on the firetruck, I was able to catch up with two of my closest friends from school. We talked about how excited they were for college, how my year was going and laughed when we hit a pothole and almost fell off the top of the truck.

For me, this was a firework moment. Because I chose to disconnect and listen intently, I was able to make another memory that I will always remember. Do not wish your life away. Cherish every minute you have with your family and friends because before you know it, your life will be changing forever and all you will have is the firework moments to hang onto.

Always Learning
Savannah Bordner
2018-2019 State Northern Region Vice President

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Firework Moments

The first weekend home. This was an exciting time for my teammates and I as we had been in office for about two weeks. I had everything planned out: dinner with a friend Friday night, see fireworks with another friend Saturday night, and church and a pool party on Sunday. I didn’t realize how much I truly missed my friends and family until I was driving home. The two weeks of office went by in the blink of an eye. As a team, we had already made so many memories together, but I was anxious to get home.
On Saturday, I went to see fireworks with my best friend (besides the six other hooligans I live with right now). Her family met us at the school where we would set up to eat and watch the show. We chatted about what was new in our lives and how we missed each other until the fireworks started. Her younger cousin was sitting on her lap and he was getting impatient. He asked how long the show would last because he wanted it to be over. She told him, “you have to cherish these moments because you’ll never remember them.” A simple response that had the intent to calm down a young child had me thinking about how, not only the past two weeks, but my entire 18 years of existence had flown by and I rarely took the time to slow down and enjoy it.
We move too quickly through life, but the smallest moments can have the largest impact. Like fireworks, memories come and they are so often that we don’t remember specific ones that are the most meaningful. Take the time to collect pictures, start journaling, or in some way document the things you want to remember. Memories are a dime a dozen, but you may not realize how important one is until you reminisce on the good times. Cherish the firework moments.

Let it shine,
Brittany Gonzales
State Secretary

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tune Out to Tune In

We are surrounded by sounds in our world. Music blaring through our headphones, the television buzzing with the latest news or even the constant chatter of videos on our computers. There are an abundance of sounds filling our ears and our minds. We get so consumed and distracted by these sounds and forget to listen to the important things in life. We forget about the birds singing early in the morning. We forget to roll our windows down on a warm summer evening and just listen to our surroundings. We forget to listen to the fire crackle when the sun goes down. We even forget to listen to the people around us. What if we took a second to turn off distracting sounds and tune in to a meaningful conversation?

I have always been fascinated by the concept of listening. I love listening to people talk and learning about them. My teacher once told me, “You shouldn’t listen to respond. You should listen to understand.” Throughout my first week of being a state officer, I have really taken this into consideration.

At times, I find myself driving in complete silence because I am consumed with thoughts. Other times, I have the radio on full blast and I am singing every word to  “Party in the U.S.A” at the top of my lungs (this is probably not good for my sound system or my voice). I have found that it is good to sing along to the radio but sometimes, turning the sound off and giving yourself time to think is very important.

This past week, I went on a drive with my teammate, Austin, to pick up some pizzas. A simple trip that ended up being a great opportunity to learn about my teammate. We could have cranked up the radio in the truck to our favorite old country songs but instead, we engaged in conversation the entire time. We talked about what we liked and did not liked, we talked about how our parents met and we exchanged silly jokes that we shared with each other. We picked up the pizzas, drove back to the house and realized we had not touched the radio dial at all. We tuned out for a brief moment and turned our attention toward something much more important; learning about each other.  
Distractions consume our lives and if we aren’t careful, we may miss out on an opportunity to make a friend, learn something new or learn something about ourselves. Take some time to tune out of those distracting sounds. Listen to what the world has to offer. Instead of diving into a phone, dive into a conversation with someone you have never met before. Be 100 percent present in conversations and always listen with the intent of understanding. The world is a beautiful place with amazing people. All we have to do sometimes is listen.    

Forever striving to listen intently,
Sami DeLey
            2018-2019 Indiana FFA State President  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Exceptionally Blessed

Recently I had the privilege to attend the WYXY Classic FFA All-stars banquet. As we spent the night congratulating 18 very deserving individuals of this award, I couldn’t help but notice one thing. As we moved from one member to the next, it got increasingly harder to describe the sheer amount of accomplishments each person had achieved. Gale Cunningham, the host of the evening, used the word exceptional to describe those 18 individuals. And there is no better word suited for not only those members, but also their chapters and the Indiana FFA. How lucky are we to be a part of this exceptional organization? An organization that loves, supports, and honors both agriculture and those in it. We have exceptional teachers that push us along the way and exceptional supporters that make what we do possible. There are exceptional banquets, service projects, and teams. The list goes on and on for things that are “exceptional” in FFA.

So today, I’m going to keep things short and simple. Take a second to truly realize everything this organization has blessed you with. And thank someone. Thank your advisor for pushing you to your limits and then a little farther to see just how much you can achieve. Thank your parents for driving you to events, for being your biggest supporters, and for volunteering for everything. Thank your friends and teammates for giving you a laugh when needed, a shoulder to cry on, and a helping hand at all times. Simply thank someone for being an exceptional all-star in your life.

Exceptionally blessed, 
Emily Kilmer 
State Secretary 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Change is Inevitable

Inspiration comes from unexpected places. Last December my team went on business and industry visits for about three weeks straight. Each day we would visit and tour an agribusiness or two in the state of Indiana. Our Foundation Director Mrs. Chaudion organized these visits and gave the company the opportunity to put their best foot forward for their business. Some companies were naturally more interesting than others and I believe it was coming near our Christmas break when I discovered this piece of wisdom.
On the drive from one business to the other I glanced out of the window and saw a church Sign that read “change is inevitable, growth is optional.” Of all the things I wrote down that day that phrase is the one that I look back on time after time.
Change is truly inevitable. All around me things are changing; seasons, friendships, and stages of life. Nothing will ever be the same, but that’s the point. If things stayed the same life might get boring. Change is constant. Change is inevitable. Growth, however, is optional. Will you choose to grow or stay where you are? Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Advocating for Agriculture

Just over a week ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C with Natalie in order to advocate for agriculture on National Ag Day. On Monday we arrived at the National 4-H Center in order to go through a seven-hour advocacy training program. Throughout this program, there were multiple guest speakers who informed us about the company they represented, what they do for agriculture, and their tips for advocating. Since writing a book about all these tips isn’t possible right not, here are a few key points we learned.
1. Plant a seed and shine a light:
  • Plant a seed of curiosity in your audience, whether legislature or not, then shine the light on the topic that they now are curious about. By planting a seed and shining a light, you create an environment for that seed to grow.
2. Tell your story:
  • A story is just like a fingerprint, each of us have them and no two are the same. By telling your story, you relate to your audience, who then becomes curious about what you have to say.
3. Show passion:
  • What’s the point of advocating for something if you’re not passion about it? By showing your passion, your audience knows your topic is something you love and something they should pay attention to. 
4. Take control of the meeting:
  • Your message will never be relayed if you stand by and let others in the meeting do the talking. Take control, but do so in an effective manner.
5. Be polite and respectful:
  • This one seems like a given, but if you are advocating about a topic to someone who may not understand or have a different view, it can be easy to come across as a “Know-it-all,” or even let your temper get the best of you. By focusing on this tip, those faults are avoided.

While these are only 5 tips, they could mean everything to your audience while advocating. One final tip we were given at this training is something that we should always keep in mind:
  • Never stop advocating! 
    • We may have been in D.C in order to advocate for a day, but why should it stop there? 
Let’s make everyday National Agriculture Day and starting advocating for the industry we have such a passion for!

With a passionate heart,
Grant Sanchez

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Go With the Flow

Going with the flow is one thing I do NOT do well. I want to know exactly what I’m doing with my day and it needs to be written down in my planner. Some of my teammates, on the other hand, are experts at being spontaneous and they try to get my stubborn self to join their shenanigans. With only 4 months left of state office, it is seemingly impossible to say no to them. Which is how I found myself on Valentine's day at a fancy restaurant with Grant, Natalie, and Wyatt.

It started off as a normal day in the office when Natalie turned and said, “hey let’s go out to a nice dinner tonight!” We had two boys and two girls, so it was perfect for getting a Valentines Day special (we like discounts.) With a little hesitation and much debate on where to go, we finally settled on a restaurant called Big Woods. Dressed to the nines, we headed out. We arrived just in time and walked in for our reservation. Upon sitting down, I quickly noticed that there was only one menu for the night. And in tiny print on the top, there was a note reading “three-course meal, $54 per person.” “Wait?! Guys we have made a mistake!” Laughter filled the room as we debated whether we should just walk out or ask for a different menu. When our waitress returned, Natalie asked for a different menu which was in a better price range and we talked the night away. I was challenged to continue going with the flow as we went to Freddy’s afterward to get ice cream. None of the events during the night were planned out, which did freak me out to begin with. However, being spontaneous allowed us to have an abundance of fun with our friends. I can confidently say that I have never had a better Valentines Day than the one shared with Wyatt, Natalie, and Grant, making memories and sharing smiles. Life is too short, and we must be willing to be spontaneous sometimes. While it may be uncomfortable at first, we must realize that these moments are the ones we will remember forever.

Be spontaneous,
Emily Kilmer
State Secretary