If someone were to ask me what my very first memory of the Indiana FFA Leadership center was, I would chuckle, and then begin to describe my first chapter campout. Here’s some background information about this trip: I was in 6th grade, I was only known to the older FFA members as “Luke’s sister,” and the only thing I knew about this mysterious getaway was that everyone called it Raglafart. As we began the three-hour drive to what I later learned was the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, anticipation, as well as carsickness, grew with every curve and hill. When we arrived that night, my friends and I ran from the dam to the Band Tower, and covered every acre in-between. We screamed in the dark, stayed up all night, and truly made memories that will last a lifetime. As we left the Center that weekend, I felt as though I had found my home.
It’s easy to think back and recall all of my best memories at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, but it’s more difficult to think where I would be, or even what I would be, without those experiences. For the past seven years of my FFA career, I have looked forward to camps, conferences, and any other excuse that would bring me to the Center. Whether that was once a year or multiple times a year, each time I visited it felt like home.
Up until a few days ago, I don’t think that I had come to terms with the impact that this place has made on me. Upon the recent launch of Indiana FFA Foundation’s Pay-It-Forward campaign, my teammates and I decided to make a promotional video entitled “101 Reasons to Love the FFA Center.” The idea of this video was to create a humorous reminder of just how many great things our center has to offer! As we began to brainstorm I continued to think back to that first trip to the center, my first camp, and even my first night here as a State Officer. It made me think of the 11,856 current FFA members and what the Center means to them. Indiana FFA Alumni members, Past State Officers, and every other group that visits the Indiana FFA Center each year. Whether it is an FFA member that lives five miles down the road, or five hours across the state; an FFA Alumni that enjoyed the Center years ago, or a junior high member that has years of memories to make, the Indiana FFA Leadership Center has and will continue to be their home.
For the past 48 years, our Leadership Center has welcomed thousands of guests each year. No matter who you ask, young or old, they all have a story about how The Indiana FFA Leadership Center became their home.
There’s no place like home,
Indiana FFA State Sentinel