Monday, November 21, 2011

Legendary Leadership

The officers; the state staff; that's the way we became the S.O. Bunch! This parody of the famous Brady Bunch theme song kicked off SOAR 2011. But why would we begin one of our camps with a parody of one of the most chastised television sitcoms in the past 50 years? Because it is Legen- wait for it.... and I hope you are not lactose-intolerant because the last part is... dary!

On a serious note, the real reason that we decided to mimic the Brady Bunch involves our camp content. Indiana FFA conferences have changed quite a lot in the past 15-20 years. In the past, conferences had parli and quiz bowl contests to better teach members about the basics of FFA. We decided to bring these contests back at SOAR this year. While the contests still have a few kinks that need to be worked out, we believe that most of our SOAR attendees enjoyed these contests. So when we decided to go back in time with content, we also decided to make our theme vintage and retro. This meant that our breakout group names were old tv sitcoms, so we had groups like M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, Gilligan's Island, and the Munsters!
Members of "Bewitched" discuss the parliamentary
procedure contest. They were the champions!

Another retro idea that returned to SOAR was the Top Leader Award. Campers voted on two members of each group as a "Top Group Leader." With 14 groups, we had 28 Top Group Leaders. Then there was another round of voting to determine the 4 "Top Leaders." After voting ended, it was announced that Bender Smith from Tri High, Mallarie Stookey of Warsaw, Syx Russel from STAR Academy, and Morgan Moore from Western Wayne were all top leaders! Congratulations to them!!!

And of course, one of the most exciting moments of the entire conference was at the banquet, when the Truck Stampede drawing was held. A winner was drawn, and all 300+ banquet guests congratulated the winner via phone. The ticket was sold by a member from the Shenandoah FFA chapter.

All in all, there were well over 250 members in attendance at SOAR 2011, and we really hope that it was Legendary for all!

Many, many Truck Stampede Tickets were sold!!!
Gianna Hartman leads SOAR Campers through the Personal Growth session.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kickin' It Old School

The past week and a half we have been focusing entirely on SOAR.  We are so excited about our upcoming conference.  SOAR stands for Seeking Opportunities, Achieving Results.  It's aimed towards first year FFA members to inform them about what FFA is and the opportunities available to them.  Here's a sneak peak of the conference.

Our theme this year is "Legendary Leadership: Kickin' it Old School." I am stoked about this theme.  The reasoning behind it is that we're taking this conference back to the way they used to be.  We will be having a Parliamentary Procedure contest between all of the groups.  We're also going to have a Quiz Bowl contest that students will compete in individually.  We're hoping that by having these contests, members will be more excited about FFA.  It will definitely be a lot of work for the members.  However, we're hoping they will develop pride for the organization through their work. I cannot wait.

Even though SOAR preparations are still underway, FIRE is going to be approaching before we know it!  I hope everybody is as excited about our upcoming conferences as we are!

Today, I will be heading up to the Kankakee Valley FFA chapter for their auction tonight.  I love seeing how chapter's run their events.  I will be giving a speech while I'm there.  My speech is based around the memories and experiences I have had in FFA.  A majority of my speech consists of the time when I had a Poultry team without Mrs. Markley's 100% approval.  Oops.  FFA members, remember that the experiences or mistakes you have throughout your FFA career may end up turning into a speech

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Time Flies

Can you believe it's November 1st? Seems like only yesterday the seven of us were standing on the stage at Purdue University.. and now only a few months down the road we have traveled thousands of miles, met hundreds of new people, and our lives have been forever changed by this once in a life time experience. Not just anyone can say they took off a year of college to serve the greatest organization in the country.. the FFA! I'd like to use this blog to wrap up the year.. I'm aware it is only November but this month is a great time to remember what we are all thankful for. I know I am thankful for this position I have been given and I know the other six officers feel the exact same... In June our lives were changed forever and I would like to recap all that has happened since this exciting day..

We moved into the state officer house two days after we were elected and from there the adventure has not stopped. We started BLAST off training where we spent a few days learning more about each other. Then we headed off to Peachtree City, Georgia. Here we spent a week with other state officers from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. This was the National Leadership Conference for state officers where we participated in team building exercises and had a lot of fun in the Georgia sun!

July brought more fun for the state officers.. we prepared our first conference..Summer Challenge was a way to get FFA members active even when they are not in school! FFA members from around the state came down to the FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar for a 3 day conference. We were all really excited to host our first camp and interact with our FFA members! Summer Challenge was a total success and a great first conference!

After Summer Challenge Sarah and I headed off to Washington D.C. for the State Presidents Conference! We had lots of fun meeting all the other state presidents and state secretaries from around the United States! After we returned home we all started getting ready for a huge month of our lives .. August.. also known as the Great Indiana State Fair!! The seven officers along with help from all 12 districts manned the FFA Pavilion at the Indiana State Fair.. one of the largest buildings.. and in our opinion, the most fun! We set up a petting zoo, a stage with live concerts put on by our own FFA talent members, a country market, a full size putt putt golf course, a play ground and lots of ways for the public to learn about what we love most, agriculture and FFA! We spent a month at the Indiana State Fair and worked every day at the FFA pavilion.

Right after we wrapped up state fair we headed to Atlanta, IN for a few days at Becknology days! We worked a booth for Indiana FFA and sold truck stampede tickets to benefit the Indiana FFA Foundation. Shortly after we left Atlanta we packed up and headed over to the neighboring state of Illinois! There we spent a week working with the Illinois state officer team hosting the Titan Tire Auction. The money made at this 2 day auction at the National Farm Progress Show would be split between the two state's FFA associations! After Farm Progress Show we came back here to Indiana and got ready for our next conference.. Premier Leadership Training.. Morgan Gadd our 2011 National Officer Canidate facilitated and planned the conference and the seven state officers assisted her in many sessions.

When PLT was all said and done we got ready for possibly the most exciting time of our year.. chapter visits and district kick offs!! We started our three week journey up by Chicago visiting schools and giving our presentations about self awareness and goals. The first week we visited schools from north west Indiana all the way down to Evansville. The next week we started up by South Bend and ended all the way down by Corydon. And our final week we started up in the north east corner and ended down in the south east corner of our state. In these three weeks we visited thousands of students and members of the FFA. In the evenings we participated in each district's kickoff.. We went from district 1 to 12 and had a lot of fun teaching FFA members about some conferences we have, some career development events they could compete in and informing them on all the ways they could get connected with Indiana FFA by social media! These three weeks we enjoyed getting closer with members and meeting lots of new ones!

And of course we just finished up with National Convention.. the one time of year FFA members from across the United States come together to celebrate FFA and Agriculture.. We had an amazing week in Indy and all were inspired by the speakers we heard and the people we met. After a week in down town Indianapolis I know that we all "Believe"..

And here we are.. November 1st.. wow, has time really flown by this fast?

What is next? you might ask.. well it is that time of year! The seven state officers have conferences on the brain.. we have two camps coming up in the next month. S.O.A.R. is November 18-20 and F.I.R.E. is December 2-4.. Look for lots of fun and excitement to come from Trafalgar in the upcoming weeks..

I know it has not even been half a year.. but it has been one of the best years of my life.. and I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful for this opportunity!