Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Having a Foundation

In-person state convention, gone. State Officer Summit in Washington D.C. gone. FFA Pavilion at the Indiana State Fair, gone. These are the events I’ve missed out on so far as a State Officer and I sometimes ponder what my experiences would’ve been like in a normal year. While I’ve missed my only opportunity to attend Summit, I’m still thankful to have attended multiple in-person conventions already. Despite missing these events, it was my Indiana State Fair experience I remained optimistic for. When the state fair was cancelled, I tried to stay happy by reminiscing on my time spent at the State Fair in the FFA Pavilion in years past. The FFA Foundation gave me the opportunity to spend over 20 days at The Great Indiana State Fair and experience the FFA Pavilion. The Foundation has given members from across the state the opportunity to volunteer at the Country Market. I even had the opportunity to promote Indiana Agriculture when I worked in the Country Market. On top of that, I helped raise money for scholarships. It’s because of groups like the Indiana FFA Foundation that remind me of the awesome experiences before Covid-19. It’s important that the Foundation is able to continue making these experiences even in a new world. Let’s step up and help The Foundation continue to provide meaningful experiences like mine. We can do this by supporting their events like the Blue and Gold Gala. Be sure to check it out on all of Indiana FFA social media platforms! I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities the FFA Foundation has given me, so let’s make sure to show attention to those who’ve helped us get where we are today.


Yours Truly, Loren Matlock



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Modern Day Good Samaritan

Many of us know the parable, or story, of the Good Samaritan from our time spent in Sunday school at church. However, for those of us who may never have heard it before, the story is simply about how there was an injured man lying on a road. A priest and another man passed by the injured man, ignoring his critical situation. Finally, one man who was from Samaria took mercy and cared for the man. The lesson from the story is to love your neighbor as yourself, with neighbor meaning fellow human being. 

SO… why does this story matter? In life it can be hard to find a good Samaritan, much less be one, when we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life, our schedule, and our relationships. We all struggle with it, and I am certainly no exception.

To answer that earlier question, it matters because of this text I received a few weeks ago…



My dad is a great man, but he isn’t perfect. Yet what he did in that moment made him perfect to me, and my heart overflows with pride at being lucky enough to call him MY dad. His ability to push off his own needs for the sake of someone else’s, his kindness, and his humanity, those are traits I admire about him. More importantly, those are the traits of a good Samaritan. He serves as a reminder, as do countless other individuals, that we can freely do good in our lives for others if we just stop, look around, and listen. 

Be kind, be selfless, be human. Be a good Samaritan. It is your turn to pass it on.

Learning to do better,

Blayne Vandeveer


 



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

8 Tips for Virtual Learning

We can all agree that this year has been crazy and we are finding ourselves shifting to a new world of virtual interaction, including our organization. I’ll be the first to admit that at times it can be dreadful to sit at a screen all day long, so I wanted to share with y'all tips and tricks that have worked for me. I hope that through this blog post you can find ways to not dread virtual learning. 



It’s What You Make It - Be Positive 

While situations in our lives may not be ideal, they’ll only be as good as we make them. If we aspire to gain knowledge through a meeting, conference, or whatever it may be: we must have a positive mindset to set us up for success. Being a “Negative Nancy” will make us dread every moment. Then, we won’t take anything away from the experience. 


Engage Yourself

I’ve found that the best way to gain the most out of an experience is to engage with the speakers, activities, and content. This allows us to think about the information being presented and enjoy our time. 


Read Emails 

If I could give you one piece of advice that would make virtual experiences run more smoothly on your end this would be it. Oftentimes, email or social media platforms are filled with crucial information about online events. This is so important to recognize and apply when communicating virtually. 


Take Breaks

It’s okay to take breaks. Occasionally, virtual learning can be long and when we push ourselves too far that’s when we miss out on opportunities because we aren’t focused. When we find ourselves overwhelmed, we should do an activity that will allow us to decompress. This may include taking a walk, watching an episode of netflix, listening to music, etc. This looks different for each of us, but plays a vital role in ensuring we get the most out of our experiences. 


Find a Space to Work That Best Suits You

Our workplace plays a large role in our mood. I recommend being in a clutter free area that is comfortable and try to minimize distractions, such as our phones, “to-do” lists, etc. When I see my “to-do” list I immediately want to work on it, so eliminating distractions like those allow us focus on what’s at hand. 


Dress for the Occasion

While pajamas are comfortable, I’ve found that getting dressed and ready for the day allows me to be more productive and focused. My friend Mackenzie and I say “look good, feel good, show good” when we go to sheep shows. This same mindset works for virtual learning. If we look good then we will feel good and eventually do good, so be sure to get dressed for the occasion (even if it’s virtual). 


Ask Questions

Virtual events and programs can be confusing at times. When we have questions it's helpful to reach out to those in charge through a simple email or phone call. Organizations want to make sure you have the best experience possible! Even in a normal world statements are misunderstood, so it's even more important to ask questions when we have them. These questions can be asked before, during, and even after the event!


Give Grace 

Recognize we’re all navigating through a virtual world together. Give grace to those who are doing their best because I promise they genuinely care for you. Plus, giving grace benefits both parties. 



I hope these tips help you succeed during virtual learning. It’s okay to have a bad day because above all we have to take care of ourselves first. At the same time, we must recognize that the same goes for those providing virtual opportunities. Instructors aren’t always going to have it together either, so let’s be thankful for the opportunities presented to us. Besides, where would we be if we were stuck in quarantine and didn't have all these virtual opportunities to carry on with our lives? Let's make it fun together! 


Kylie Schakel

2020-21 IN FFA State Secretary