Monday, August 15, 2022

Balance

In life for me, and probably for most of you reading this, there are so many things we want to do. I want to be able to have a job I enjoy, but I also want to serve the Lord in all I do. To enjoy life as much as I can, to spend quality family time, and to always progress. During my time, so far, in State Office, I’ve found that the key ingredient for success when dealing with all of these things is something so easily forgotten: balance. 


Trying to find the happy medium is the hardest part. “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.” This quote from Rumi is especially true. When deciding to run for State Office I had to push myself to find balance. The choices were to continue as planned, which is to attend Purdue for Agricultural Engineering, or run for State Office. I didn’t come to the decision to fully commit and run until March. In the end after weighing everything out I realized that I will still be able to go to Purdue, but I will only have one opportunity at a year of wonderful experiences dedicating myself to FFA, the organization that really helped me grow into the person I am today, and then continue my education afterwards. 


When I was in high school, I was really involved with band, maybe the most out of anything I did. I played Euphonium for concert band, Tuba for pep band, marching band, and concert bands, trombone for jazz band, and finally percussion ensemble. I would participate in all these bands as well as honor bands and solo & ensemble. I started band in 6th grade as early as I could, because my older sister played Flute and Piccolo, so of course I had to join as soon as possible. I later joined the marching band as quickly as I could in 7th grade. I’m so thankful for all of the experiences I had in the band and would never trade it for the world, but I did not balance the rest of my life well. In addition to being involved in Band and FFA, I also participated in Choir and the musicals. Again, there were so many things I wanted to do, but such a limited amount of time. The one thing that made balance such a hard thing to achieve was how much time I initially committed to the musical arts.


 During my freshman year in FFA, I barely participated, only going to a few meetings the whole year and tractor day. I never went to kick-offs, conferences, contests, or really anything outside of the chapter. Taking it all into account, I just wasn’t an active FFA member, and I began to feel the need to change that. My time in FFA and the opportunity to enjoy all that FFA has to offer was shrinking. When I realized that my time was out of balance, I decided to dedicate more time to FFA and joined Soil Judging, Parliamentary Procedure, and ran for chapter office. After having success with these things, I was given my first opportunity to go to a conference, Winter LDW 2020. This was my first taste of conferences and since then I could never get enough. 


After getting more involved with FFA, I had to make decisions between band and FFA. When I talked it through with my band director and ag teacher, I was able to share my time more evenly between two things that I really loved and was passionate about. I want to encourage all of you busy bees that communication, compromise, and commitment are the factors we must consider if we are to truly uncover that key ingredient to life: balance. It wasn't about choosing one or the other, but how can I use all of these experiences and opportunities to make myself the best person I can be and then grow from all of them



Wishing you the best,

Tobias Sturgell

Indiana FFA State Secretary


Monday, August 8, 2022

State Officer Summit


I feel that I am speaking on behalf of all my teammates when I write that State Officer Summit in Washington DC this past July was an incredible experience that none of us will ever forget. The amount of leadership exemplified by state officers from across the nation, as well as our national officers in just four days is unforgettable. I met so many people and had conversations that truly changed my outlook on life. I walked away with three valuable lessons from my time at summit: Having the desires to learn, lead, and love others.

 

Learn: Ironically, during summit I quickly learned that there is always more to learn. No matter how much you think you know about a subject, somebody else might have a different perspective. I learned that it is important to recognize everyone’s backgrounds because we all have different experiences that we can bring to the table. Learning from others, as well as learning from our mistakes is important. Without searching for knowledge or having the desire to acquire wisdom from others, there is no room for growth.

 

Lead: As state officers, we are called to set a standard of leadership for FFA members from across the state of Indiana. Our actions and attitudes set the tone for Indiana FFA this year. As your State Sentinel, I can confidently write that our team is so excited to lead the over 12,000 members and 219 chapters we have. Each of us are so grateful to have the opportunity to lead and are humbled that we were chosen for this role. State Officer Summit helped me realize that my leadership is needed, as well as the leadership from every member that steps foot into FFA.

 

Love: Without love, learning from others and leading members is impossible. A selfless kind of love can be hard to maintain but choosing to love people highlights your ability to learn from others and lead others. I saw selfless love in multiple ways during summit. Whether it was the late nights and early mornings our national officers put in to make sure that we had an amazing time at summit or somebody simply holding the door for a stranger, love was a common theme during our time in Washington DC. I know that my goal during state office, as well as the rest of the team is to exemplify this kind of love for the rest the year.

 

To my team, to my roommates, to my new friends from across the country, to state staff and National FFA, thank you for making State Officer Summit a chance for me to learn, lead, and love. We made so many memories and bonded so much more as a team. I am so excited to see what the rest of the year for Indiana FFA looks like. For anyone reading this, I encourage you to implement these three lessons in your FFA chapter, district, section, and life in general. By learning, leading, and loving others on a daily basis, your impact will reach so many more people than you could ever imagine.

 

Your State Sentinel,

Jaden Maze

 

Check out the link below to see more of our State Officer Summit experience!

 

https://youtu.be/110bbyBVEzI

Monday, August 1, 2022

Seth’s Top 10 Favorite Things about The Great Indiana State Fair


1. The Indiana FFA Pavilion!
    I feel like this one is kind of a given, but oh well what is there not to love! I can
always go for a game of putt-putt golf, a stroll through the animal wing or a
delicious shake from the Indiana FFA Country Market! I cannot forget to mention
how thrilled I am to see all the wonderful FFA members and guests in the
pavilion this year!

2. The Blue Ribbon Pavilion
    Why is this Seth’s second favorite thing about the State Fair? Because I have a
passion for showing sheep! When you can’t find me in FFA Pavilion you will
more than likely find me in the sheep barn prepping lambs for the show. Not to
mention it is also air conditioned and that’s always a plus!

3. The West Pavilion or better known as the Cattle Barn
    I guess you could say showing livestock is my thing because I thoroughly enjoy
my time in all the livestock barns. On the first and second weekends of the state
fair I occupy the cattle barn with my dairy steers and dairy cattle. I love my cows,
but they aren’t quite as high as the sheep!

4. The Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum
    This one is self-explanatory. In my opinion the Coliseum is one of THE coolest
places to show livestock! The atmosphere is unforgettable, and the Indiana State
Fair knows how to put on a show there.

5. The Dairy Bar
    As I mentioned earlier, I am a sucker for a good milkshake! When I’m on this
side of the track, the dairy bar is my go-to place for lunch or a snack. Each year I
look forward to the new milkshake flavors and grilled cheese options they create.
A favorite tradition of mine is when my dad and I enjoy a breakfast sandwich and
cold chocolate milk the morning of the dairy show!

6. The Pioneer Village
    This is a place that is packed with some true culture! I love seeing the traditional
side of the fairgrounds and the treats you can get from the village are oh so good.
Agriculture is backed by so much tradition, and by walking through the Pioneer
Village I get a true sense of what this tradition is.

7. The Pork Producer’s Tent
    I am a fair food enthusiast. The pork tent is one of the places I make sure I visit
every single year! No doubt a pork burger and some mac & cheese will come in
handy a few times during the fair. If it were not for the outrageous line at times, I
would frequent this place a lot more.

8. Go listen to some FREE music at the free stage
    The free stage is a must-see attraction at the Indiana State Fair. I love a good
concert and am always ready to listen to some great music. If you happen to be at
the fair during a free stage concert, make sure you stop in for some FREE
entertainment.

9. Indiana Soybean Alliance Glass Barn
    There is always an abundance of things to do in this building! I especially enjoy
acting as Benny the Bean for a few hours during the fair. Interacting with fair
guests as the Bean is such a fun experience. Not to mention the air conditioning
here is always a fantastic place to take a break during the hot days of fair!

10. King’s Sweet Tea
    Now I may catch from flack from this one, but I don’t go to the King’s tent for
sweet tea… I go for the unsweet tea! I love a cold unsweet tea and some ribbon
fries during the fair. Easily one of my favorite snacks during the fair, and the
reusable cup makes it even more tempting to go back for another. I’m definitely
on a first name basis with the King’s Sweet Tea crew by the end of the Fair!
Thanks for stopping in for Seth’s Top 10 favorite things to do at The Great Indiana State Fair!
I’m pumped for the fair this year and I can’t wait to see all the amazing members in the FFA
Pavilion. Hopefully, you partake in a few of my favorite things about the fair and come let me
know if you enjoyed them too!

All the best, 
Seth Ariens

Monday, July 25, 2022

Luck

Have you ever walked out of a contest room thinking you did a poor job to find out you placed 1st or 2nd? For me, it was the District 2 Extemporaneous Public Speaking Contest. I came out of the room knowing my time was way shorter than required, but my speech was spot on. I still placed 2nd. Most people would just say that it was luck. Luck: “Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.” I don't believe in the textbook definition of “luck”


The textbook definition of luck raises questions when you read it and sounds like a mythical thing. This mystic luck is harmful to us if we truly think about it. Instead of rewarding our determination and effort we put in to do well, we just believe we got lucky


Opportunity: “A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”

When we see an opportunity and take advantage of it, no matter the outcome, we step away from our comfort zone and leap into the growth zone. In the growth zone we can sometimes find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, possibly doubting our ability to do something. If we push ourselves beyond our doubt, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow. We can think about growing ourselves in many different ways, such as how to complete a task more effectively. Or something more significant like taking the task we did and refining ourselves to do it better, figuring out our weaknesses, and building those weaknesses up to strengths. 


Preparation: “The action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.” Oftentimes we have some form of preparation before we complete a task. Whether it's our advisors guiding us through a project or connecting us with multiple different sources to get information, we have some way of preparing for whatever the task is. This is a big part of being successful. You cannot jump into a task without seeking valuable information or asking someone to help you prepare for whatever it is in life.


I heard a quote from my principal that was from the Roman Philosopher Seneca my freshman year of high school, and once again at graduation. He read to us, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Ever since I heard that quote, I have always thought of luck this way. 


We find ourselves preparing for lots of different things in life. Whether we recognize each of them or not, we learn so much throughout high school that will help us at some point in our life. Whether we land a future job or get a promotion, it wasn’t just this “luck” we all think it is. It's the time we took to prepare ourselves for the opportunity we have, as well as our determination to do well.


The next time you may not compete as well as you anticipated, but see the results you were seeking, ask yourself about it. Was it “luck”? Or was it the preparation and determination you had to get to that result?



Anthony Taylor

2022-23 Indiana FFA State Treasurer

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

2022-2023 Officer Intros

After one final tap of a gavel, seven individuals’ lives changed within a blink of an eye. Each one taking the giant step towards a year of service. Now, it’s your chance to meet them. 


Seth Ariens- State President
What's up Indiana FFA! I'm Seth Ariens and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as this year's State President. I come from the North Putnam FFA Chapter over in District 7 where I reside in the small town of Roachdale. However you'll most commonly find me working with my show lambs in the barn, I have an intense passion for all things agriculture and I absolutely love meeting new people that I can connect with! Within my small operation I raise club lambs, holstein steers, Brownswiss dairy cattle and manage a 22 acre test plot. For the work I have done on my operation I am very proud to claim the title of 2022 Indiana State Star Farmer. "Pursue your Passions as Priorities", Indiana FFA you are my passion so get ready for a WILD ride filled with all the excitement of growing as a leader and as an individual! Buckle up and get ready for the ride Indiana FFA!


Tobias Sturgell- State Secretary
Good day Indiana FFA! I am so thankful for the opportunity this year to serve the great state of Indiana as the 2022-2023 Indiana FFA State Secretary! I am from the Indian Creek FFA chapter in Trafalgar, IN, really close to the FFA center. I first had an interest in FFA after always looking up to my uncle, David Sturgell, who was in FFA in the 1980’s. After traveling down to his farm numerous time a year in Posey County, Indiana. I wanted to do anything I could to be like him, so I joined FFA. Another reason I thought FFA was cool, was because Indian Creek during FFA week has tractor day, and the only way to drive a tractor was if you are in FFA. I never grew up on a farm though, but I was always intrigued in agriculture. Once I joined FFA, I got involved in Soil Evaluation, Parliamentary Procedure, and later started Employability skills. I’ve learned so many skills in FFA that have built me to be the person I am today. One of my true passions is meeting new people, because everyone has a story that they can share, but that story can also help others. I'm ready to meet all of you and see where Indiana FFA will go in the future. Indiana FFA, get excited because this will be amazing!


Mary Jones- State Northern Region Vice President

Coming from the small town of Monroe in District VI, I am so excited to be leading Indiana FFA this year! I’ll be serving as the 2022-2023 Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice President, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!! Growing up with an FFA advisor for a dad, I definitely had my fair share of agriculture early on, following my dad and his students everywhere!! Throughout my time in FFA you could find me attending every conference I could, participating in dairy, forestry and soils judging, making the best memories in parliamentary procedure practices, and spending LOTS and LOTS of hours in the ag room preparing for leadership development events. I also gained a lot of my passion & knowledge from the show barn. Raising three species of show stock was challenging, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Over the next year, I can’t wait to meet, serve, and learn from each and every one of you. Indiana FFA, let’s get ready for a truly sensational year!



Jenna Kelsay- State Southern Region Vice President

Hello Indiana FFA! My name is Jenna Kelsay, proudly serving as your 2022-2023 Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President! Growing up in Franklin, Indiana in District 8, I proudly come from the Whiteland FFA Chapter, only 30 minutes away from the Indiana FFA Center. Having a deep history in agriculture, as a 7th generation farmer, livestock showman, and farm tour guide, I am so excited for this opportunity to serve both agriculture and FFA. I am a huge fan of cherry coke, short jokes, and all things cow print and definitely a people person. I absolutely cannot wait to meet each and every one of you and am extremely excited for this opportunity to serve Indiana FFA. See you soon!



Anthony Taylor- State Treasurer

Hello everyone! I am Anthony Taylor, and I am beyond excited to serve you all as the Indiana

FFA State Treasurer!! I hail from the Warsaw FFA Chapter in District 2. I grew up in the city and Warsaw, and I went to Warsaw Community High School. I love anything to do with the outdoors from going on walks, hunting, fishing, and anything you can imagine that's enjoying the outdoors. I grew up from a non production agriculture background, but that doesn’t stop me from being a huge part of the organization, and advocate for agriculture. That has pushed me to grow in this organization, and show members that this organization is a home for everyone. I love meeting with people, and building strong connections with anyone. I can't wait to meet all of you, hear your stories, and share my experiences with you all.



Gracie Lee- State Reporter

       Hello Indiana FFA! I am Gracie Lee and I am super excited to serve the Indiana FFA as the 2022-2023 State Reporter! I hail from the Monroe Central FFA Chapter, which is located in District 9! (I can't wait to see everyone on #Cloud9) I am from the somewhat small town of Winchester which is located in Randolph County. Some of the things that I love include turquoise, navajo pearls, Purdue basketball, and boer goats! I actually grew up in town, with no agricultural background. Although it was a challenge when I first joined FFA, I never let it stop me! I can't wait to share some of those experiences with you throughout this year. I am so very excited to build connections with all of you, and all of the members across the state of Indiana! Indiana FFA, let's get to work!!



Jaden Maze- State Sentinel 

Greetings Indiana FFA! My name is Jaden Maze, and I am so excited to get to know all of you as this year's State Sentinel! I am from the Western Boone FFA Chapter located in District IV. I grew up in Thorntown, Indiana. I have a huge passion for mental health in agriculture and am inspired by stories of FFA members from across the state. I love animals and work on a small dairy farm in my community. I also help my dad on our family farm that includes a thousand acres of corn and soybeans. I spend a lot of time outdoors and have a great appreciation for nature. I love talking to all different types of people and getting to know them on a personal level. I hope to make a positive impact on this organization and I am so excited for what the year holds! 


With love,

2022-2023 State Officer Team

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

With All Our Love

Home. Family. Friends. Love. That is what you all gave our team this year. You opened your homes to us during our travels. You showed us your families, even bringing us in as honorary members. You called us friends, showing us the many types and kinds. But, most importantly, you all showed us love. You showed us love as we traversed the Hoosier state. You showed us love for our flaws, you showed us we can be ourselves, and that we have a home in each of you. You all have been our family for a year, but will remain that for the rest of our lives. We love you. 



Oh, how wonderful it is to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. You all have left an impact, forever on my heart. No matter where life takes each of us after this year, we are going to travel through life carrying the lessons and love you gave each of us. You all extended your arms, wide open with understanding, during any tough time we had this year. You all have become our life support. For that, we say thank you. You are our pulse.

Ever thankful,
Kourtney Otte
2021-2022 State President



53 chapters. Over the past year, I have felt the pulse of 53 different chapters. Thank you to Argos FFA, Prairie Heights FFA, North Decatur FFA, Oak Farm Montessori FFA, and all of the chapters that welcomed me as a friend instead of just as a state officer. Thank you for taking me to every corner of Indiana and finding friends along the way. Thank you for showing me the value of authenticity. Thank you for allowing me to serve you this year. Indiana FFA, thank you.

Forever grateful,
Nicholas Neuman
2021-2022 State Secretary


It has truly been a pleasure working with you. I will forever cherish all the people I met and the memories I made. Reflecting back on this year there's been one lesson that has stuck out to me. It is that no matter how small of an interaction you had with someone you left an impact. So many times I had members come up to me and say "You probably don't remember when we talked about..." and most of the time I did remember. It was the small interactions that people remember. Those conversations that you had that in the moment might not seem big but later they get brought back up as a positive impact on someone. Once I realized this I began to see it everywhere. Members that I had one interaction with remembered exactly who I was, what we had done together, and what I said to them. So my biggest piece of advice is to remember those small moments because others do. And those small impacts go even further when they are remembered.

With lots of love,
Tyler Kilmer
2021-2022 State Northern Region Vice President



Wow, what a truly crazy and unforgettable year it has been. I feel truly lucky and honored to have served each and every one of you this year. YOU are the heart of FFA and it is YOU that fills this organization with the PULSE of life. A few reminders: you are kind, you are smart, you are important - never forget that. Thank you for being YOU and allowing me to serve you this year.

With love,
Abby Stuckwisch
2021-2022 State Southern Region Vice President 



Indiana FFA - thank you for showing me that who I am is what this world needs. Throughout this past year, I have met some amazing members who have turned into my best friends. Thank you for the endless amount of love and being my fire during those chapter visits, banquets, and small interactions. Thank you to my mentors, family, and friends who have been by my side throughout the 365 days serving this outstanding organization. Indiana FFA - thank you for showing me I. AM. ENOUGH.


Much love,

Jordyn Wickard

2021-2022 State Treasurer




Indiana FFA, thank you for believing in me more than I ever believed in myself. Thank you for all the vulnerable moments that made every moment of this year more than worth it. I appreciate the friendships that were made and the laughs that were had. Each of you amazed me and made me thankful I got to meet you. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Never stop reaching for your goals because you are so worthy.

Signing off,
Madisen Carns
2021-2022 State Sentinel


Please never forget the impact you all have left on us. You are the pulse of our organization, the future leaders, job seekers, and change makers of Agriculture. Now, go forward and show everyone you meet the home, family, friends, and love you've shown each person here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Letter to Little Me

Dear Little Me, 


You have a pretty wild future ahead of you. You’ll meet people that will change your life for the better, and some not so much. There will be times that life is so amazing you can’t imagine it any other way, and the opposite will happen just as much. You’ll find out who you are as a person, no matter how crazy that sounds. Over those years you’ll learn a lot of lessons, ones that made you feel all kinds of emotions. Here are a few you learned: 


  • When it’s time to lead, it’s not about you but the people being led. You really struggled with this idea for a while. You had your goals and wanted to achieve them, so you viewed leadership as one extra step to get you to where you wanted to be. Thankfully you don’t think that way anymore. Take steps to do only what a leader should do- communication and teaching others to grow as leaders. 


  • Don’t be afraid to take a step back. I know that sounds horrible, you think you have to constantly be doing something to be something, but your mental health would thank you. Same goes for those around you, they need to have the same opportunities as you, and if you keep taking them they can’t. Not doing something doesn’t make you less of a person, if anything it will make you a better one (as long as it’s giving someone else the chance to grow). A good rule of thumb to remember is that it doesn’t matter the quantity of what you do, but the quality. 


  • Not everyone will love how you approach things, and with that not everyone will love you. This was a lesson you had to learn the hard way. Of course, people’s opinions of you still matter way more than they should, but you need to realize that everyone likes a different cup of tea, and you won’t always be theirs. With that, you’ll have to work with different people and change how you work with them, make sure you understand that before diving into a new officer team. 


  • Don’t be afraid to crush that comfort zone. One day you’ll hear an author talk on the radio, his one bit of advice sticking with you. While his name and what book he had written didn’t, this statement did: “Your favorite sound should be the sound of your comfort box ripping open.” Throughout the next few years in FFA you’ll hear officers say that “there isn’t growth in a comfort zone and there isn’t comfort in a growth zone.” Make sure to take that extra step when at a conference or meeting a new person, take a contest you're not sure about, interview for a new office you don’t think you can get. Break down the comfort zone and then go again. 


  • Listen more than you talk. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. You’ll end up learning so much about people and end up forming a closer bond. You might even find someone that’s going through a similar thing, or someone that’s just like you. 


  • Do not jump to a conclusion about someone before you know them. Duh. But for real, you only see a couple minutes of a person, and that couple minutes can be the worst time in that person’s day or even the best. All that jumping to conclusions does is ruin a relationship that could have been a great one. 


  • Be vulnerable. No matter if it’s to friends, officers, or even members… do it. Don’t try to keep the image up that you’re a perfect person and that you can handle everything (we both know it’s not true). Those connections that you form with people, when they realize that you’re human too, are truly unmatched. You’ll end up learning more about others than you expected too. 


  • Be yourself. There is only one you in this world. There is only one of you that can do what you do, so do not ever compare yourself to others. Every single person you’ll ever meet will bring their own ideas and personality to whatever you are doing, make sure you’re bringing yourself too. No matter how hard it is to fall into the trap of picking apart yourself, it’s not worth it.  


Those are all things I wish I could tell my younger self. I’m sure we all have lessons that we wish we could have learned sooner, and more times than not we end up telling others about them so they can learn from our mistakes. So, I suppose, this letter is for you. Of course, take it for what it’s worth, but do try to look back at your own life and the lessons you wish you could have learned sooner.


With all the love,
Kourtney