Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crothersville Toy & Food Exec Christmas

Because of the upcoming holiday, the FFA post is early this week.

Most people, when they hear sirens, immediately think the worst.  But for the community members in the small town of Crothersville when they hear sirens on one particular day in December, the worst does not come to mind.  Instead, they know exactly what those sirens mean and their faces begin to fill with smiles. 

These sirens in December are the reminder to the community of the Annual Crothersville FFA Toy and Food Drive.  The sirens heard of those of the local fire trucks of which FFA members and volunteers are seen riding on throughout the town on Crothersville. 

Individuals and families in this small community are greeted by FFA members and volunteers bearing gifts of food and toys for the Holiday season.  But delivering the food is the easy part.  Crothersville FFA members are hard at work raising money from pork burger sales and their annual craft show in November, as well as other events.  These funds raised go towards buying food, toys, and fruit for the making of fruit baskets for the families in need.  FFA members spend hours sorting the food and toys into categories according to the different sizes of families, preparing fruit baskets, and making delivery plans. 

I have always heard of the Crothersville FFA Toy and Food drive, but to experience this event, was one of the most inspiring things.  It is just something you truly have to experience.  This year, the Crothersville FFA Chapter bought 6.6 tons of food and was able to help 85 families and individuals in their community.  The state officers had the opportunity to ride on the fire trucks, help deliver the food, while earning a more accurate definition of community service. 

Not only were the families in need helped, but the local fire department as well.  The firemen were given the addresses of the residents which served as training for learning the roads around Crothersville.  If this act of kindness does not get someone in the spirit of giving and Christmas, then I don’t know what will.  Thank you to the Crothersville FFA members, and their Advisor, Mrs. Maxie for making on impact not only on the community, but us as state officers.
After the festivities at the Crothersville FFA Chapter, the Indiana FFA State Officers were preparing for another festive event, the Indiana FFA State Executive Committee Christmas Party. 

The District Presidents, Band and Chorus Officers, and Section Directors from all across the state traveled to the Indiana FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar.  We were very festive in our attire as we made it a tacky sweater party.  We traveled to Indianapolis to go Ice Skating, where we got some interesting looks from others as we were still sporting out tacky sweaters.  After that, we came back to the center and had a white elephant gift exchange.  It was a great time to be with friends and have fun. 

 The state officers will be taking a break as they head home to spend the holiday season with their families.  From our family to yours, the Indiana FFA State Officers would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pit Stops

Any time one travels, he or she must take pit stops – to eat, use the restroom, or nap.  While these sorts of pit stops pertain to traveling for vacation purposes or traveling for business, the Indiana FFA State Officers took some pit stops from our Business and Industry Visit tour this past weekend for a few other reasons – to see premier leadership, personal growth, and career success exhibited by our members and supporters! 

On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, we attended the Indiana Farm Bureau Convention in Indianapolis, IN.  Along with seeing many members of our local Farm Bureaus, we attended the final round of the Discussion Meet and watched the final four contestants exhibit their passion for agriculture along with premier leadership that FFA develops within its members.  On Saturday, we attended the Closing Session where Indiana Farm Bureau presented the Indiana FFA Foundation with a check for $10,000 as a part of their partnership!  How excited and appreciative we were!  Also, a John Deere tractor was auctioned off that had been restored by the Martinsville FFA Chapter! The tractor sold for $4,200, and the proceeds were also donated to the Indiana FFA Foundation!  Thank you, Martinsville FFA, for all of your hard work on the tractor! Attending this year’s Indiana Farm Bureau Convention was an extreme honor, and we were enlightened and encouraged by their support of FFA and the future of agriculture!  Thank you, Indiana Farm Bureau!

Also on Saturday, we were able to first hand see FFA members preparing for career success through competing in this year’s State Crops, Forestry, Entomology, and Food Science Contests, which were held at Purdue University. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that members and coaches had put into practicing for these contests over the last few months were finally made worth something! Our roles in these contests were to help at registration, run and tabulate score cards, and monitor the prep and actual contest rooms.  Thank you and congratulations to all members and coaches who participated in these events!

On Sunday, our team ventured out into quite a bit of snow in order to assist at Shenandoah FFA’s Annual Snug Harbor Christmas Party held in Middletown, IN.  While I had heard of this well known event, I had no idea what it actually entailed or how utterly AWESOME it was! Special needs patients from Snug Harbor came with their caretakers to celebrate Christmas and enjoy a spectacular program put on by members of the Shenandoah FFA!  Members made their cafeteria into a Winter/Christmas Wonderland, purchased and wrapped gifts for each of the patients, served a full meal, put on games, and had Santa Claus come to present the gifts…all for the developmentally disabled patients of Snug Harbor!  Seeing as how Shenandoah FFA also sponsors a prom in the spring for these patients, the members knew most of the patients by name, gave them hugs, and had conversations to catch up! Never in my nineteen years had I EVER seen someone as happy as I saw the Snug Harbor patients that day! Their excitement led to a couple dances, kisses on the cheek, and even marriage proposals for Shenandoah FFA members and our team! Ha! Not only did the Snug Harbor patients have the time of their lives, through the premier leadership of the Shenandoah FFA members, our team experienced an astronomical amount of personal growth that FFA strives to provide for its members! Thank you, Shenandoah FFA, for all of your dedication to those involved with Snug Harbor as well for an impactful experience!

After a busy, busy first week of visiting our partners during our Business and Industry Visits, it was beyond refreshing to catch up with members and return to them watching them develop their own potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success! While they think we influence them, I am convinced that they have absolutely NO idea how much they mean to us and how much they impact us on a daily basis! While we are all busy finishing up projects at work or completing Christmas shopping to prepare for the upcoming holidays, we must remember to take a “pit stop” and give attention to those things that keep us grounded – in FFA, that would be our mission to developing premier leadership, personal growth, and career success; for you, that may be your family, friends, and living to serve others.  Take some time to get back to what is most important!

Until next week, stay warm and safe out in this crazy Indiana weather!
From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 Truck Stampede Winner!

November 13th concluded one of Indiana FFA’s largest fundraisers:  2010 Truck Stampede.  The Truck Stampede gives local FFA chapters the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser for not only them, but for the Indiana FFA Foundation as well.  For each $5 truck ticket a FFA chapter sold, they were able to keep $4 for themselves and the other $1 went to the Indiana FFA Foundation.  Twenty seven FFA chapters participated this year in the Truck Stampede raising more than $32,000 for the chapters and nearly $8,000 for the Indiana FFA Foundation.

On November 13th, the lucky ticket was drawn at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar, Indiana and Nathan Hitts of Huntingburg, Indiana was the lucky winner of a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Ext. Cab LT which was provided by Bill Estes Chevrolet!  Nathan bought his ticket from Alyssa Terry, an FFA member from the Springs Valley FFA Chapter.

My teammates, Morgan Dawson, Megan Klotz, and I along with our Program Specialist, Lindsey Calhoun, had the opportunity to travel up to Bill Estes Chevrolet (located on Michigan Road, right off the I-465 exit) where we met with Alyssa Terry, Nathan Hitts, and Bill Estes! 

Bill Estes meets our lucky winner!

Nathan with Alyssa Terry and friend

Morgan chats with Bill Estes

The prize black pick-up truck seemed too good to be true for Nathan as he eyed it with his mouth dropped open! 

Nathan sees his truck!

 On behalf of the Indiana FFA Association, I would like to thank Nathan Hitts for supporting the Indiana FFA by simply buying a $5 truck ticket. 

 I would also like to thank Bill Estes Chevrolet for supporting and partnering up with the Indiana FFA by providing a brand new pick-up truck for the past two years.  We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Bill Estes Chevrolet through the 2011 Truck Stampede.
From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture

Friday, December 3, 2010

FFA Volunteers for Trees for Troops

The air was filled with the festive scent of pine as we arrived at Dull’s Tree Farm outside of Thorntown, Indiana where FedEx representatives were gathering with FFA members from local FFA chapters along with other volunteers for the Trees for Troops program.  My teammates and I received warm greetings as we approached the big, red, vintage barn that was the center of activity on the farm.

I got to help hang the banner on the barn. And in April 2010, the Campbell Soup Company, the FFA and local volunteers restored the Dull family barn as part of the Campbell's helps Grow Your Soup program.

 We as a team were instantly energized by the enthusiasm radiating from everyone that had congregated there!  You could feel the Christmas spirit that was ever present. 

Even one of the cats was interested!
This was about the time that I turned to my teammate Nellie Bell and said, “You know what would really kick-start the Christmas spirit here?  Santa hats…”  About that time, Kevin Connelly, a FedEx employee, came around the corner with two arms filled with dozens of bright purple Santa hats, and said, “Who wants Santa hats?!”  This is when I momentarily turned into an excited, impatient 5-year old and screamed, “SANTA HATS!”

Here we are with our Santa hats along with some new friends.
The level of Christmas cheer would only continue to rise as preparations for the morning’s event were being completed.  Tree’s For Troops:  a nation-wide movement that has been made possible by FedEx with the intentions of spreading Christmas cheer overseas to those brave men and women that are serving our county in our military over the holidays.  Five years ago, Tom Dull, owner of Dull’s Tree Farm, began hosting the event on his very own farm. 

Tom Dull (in the red jacket) talked with us about the program and how we would be processing the trees.
 Tom, along with several other local tree farmers, had compiled nearly 200 donated trees to be put through the process of being packaged and shipped out that morning.

Dull's Farm was selected for the processing due to its proximity to Indianapolis and the Fed Ex station (which donates all the shipping).
To prepare the trees, they have to first be measured out with seven feet being the maximum height (trees that were too tall were cut accordingly).  They would then be “baled” or wrapped in netting that squeezed and slimmed their branches down so that they would be easier to package. 

Fellow FFA officers Nellie and Janna along with our FFA Executive Director, Steve Hickey get the trees prepared for processing.

Following the baling process, they were then tagged with a “Trees For Troops” label and then shoved into a narrow, rectangular, seven foot tall box.  Before the boxes were taped shut, Christmas lights and ornaments made by school children from central Indiana were added to make for a complete package! 

Megan helps another volunteer finish the boxes.

The boxes were then loaded to one of two FedEx trucks according to where they were going.  Half of the trees will go to the Great lakes Naval Air Station in Illinois, and the other half is headed for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. 

In front of one of the trucks you see Deputy Chief of Staff for Lt. Governor Skillman and Executive Director of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, David Terrell (left) and Indiana Agriculture Director Joe Kelsay when they stopped by to show their support on heir way to Knox County.

I think that simply being aware of the great cause that we were all serving made our time working fly by because before we knew it we were finished.

Hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, and homemade cookies were provided to all who attended that day after our work was finished.  We made goodbyes to all of our new friends from FedEx and Dull Tree Farm, and left the farm knowing that our service will allow many soldiers overseas the ability to be a little closer to home for the holidays!
From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Post Thanksgiving Message of Thankfulness

2010 - 2011 Indiana FFA State Officers
Front row from left to right: Nellie Bell, Morgan Gadd, Kelly Blackburn, Morgan Dawson
Back row from left to right: Janna Oxford, Micah Matlock and Megan Klotz
After the 2010 F.I.R.E. conference, more adventures with Indiana FFA Chapters around the state and our team retreat in the beautiful town of Nineveh... gratitude was one subject burning in all of our minds. 

...the families that support us...the friends who are there for us...the Infinite Potential within each and every agriculturist...a government with ears open to the voices of the people...the opportunities to move forward with our goals...the beautiful earth we live on...the safest food supply in the world...
.....All of our blessings and all of our opportunities...

That is what we are thankful for. 

We hope you enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving, and that you continue into a safe and festive holiday season with gratitude in your mind and in your heart.

From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture