Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Month Away From the Place We Call Home

As Indiana FFA State Officers there comes times when we are away from Trafalgar. August is one of those times. It is a time full of travel and time away from the Indiana FFA Leadership Center. It begins with Indiana State Fair setup, and it ends with the Farm Progress Show in Illinois.

On August 1st, the state officers and executive committee put the final touches on the Indiana FFA Pavilion so that it was looking its best for opening day at the Indiana State Fair. On Saturday, August 3rd, we made our last commute between the house and state fair to move into the dorms at Discovery Hall for the duration of state fair and the clean-up days following it.

The weather was beautiful for the opening weekend of the Indiana State Fair, and it attracted large crowds. The best part of it all is that the beautiful weather and the crowds were a trend for the Indiana State Fair this year! The Indiana FFA Country Market worked hard to keep their shelves stocked, the Caddyshack could barely keep putters inside of it, and the petting zoo was buzzing with people wanting quarters or carrots to feed the animals! Besides the usual events around the pavilion being a success, our special attractions were quite a hit too! Children enjoyed decorating popcorn bags and receiving free popcorn as well as planting flowers at the "Pick & Plant" station, and crowds of all ages loved our free concerts on the deck of the Indiana FFA Pavilion.

As the fair wound down, the Indiana FFA State Officers stayed busy with some awesome experiences. Rebekah, Shelby, and I attended the dedication of the Youth Arena and the first Celebration Awards ceremony, and I introduced governor Mike Pence. Mrs. Pence also came to visit the Indiana FFA Pavilion, and the state officers gave the First Lady and her entourage a tour. The last few days of state fair also consisted of preparing for FFA Day at the Indiana State Fair and the plant sale on the last day. As the doors closed at the Indiana FFA Pavilion, the state officers, alongside Mr. Back and Mr. Martin, began furiously cleaning. The following day, Mr. Hickey walked in to find a team determined to get clean up done in one day, and with state staff by our side, we did.

Once back in Trafalgar, the state officers geared up for the upcoming camps in September with facilitation training from Mr. Back. It seemed we were only in Trafalgar for a few short days before the state officers were off to Decatur, Illinois for the Farm Progress Show. We showed up at Mrs. Ariens house in the morning on Monday, August 26 to load up in a the recently famous yellow fifteen passenger van supplied to us by Bill Estes. Once in Illinois, the Indiana FFA State Officers and the Illinois FFA State Officers prepared to work hard at the Farm Progress Titan Tire FFA Benefit Auction. Both teams spent hours collecting donations from companies present at the Farm Progress Show. The opening day of the auction was certainly not a disappointment as a record was set, but the next day proved that heat is no feat for FFA supporters. The second day of the auction broke the record set the day before, and we finished with a total from both days that added up to over $85,000!

As the team rode back from Decatur, there was a realization that during the month of August we had spent less than seven days at the state officer house! However, our time away from home was well worth it. The state fair was a complete success as well as the auction at the Farm Progress Show! The Indiana FFA State Officers are incredibly lucky that even when we are not at home we are surrounded by some of the best staff and supporters that could ever exist! Thank you to the advisors and students who helped setup and worked at the Indiana FFA Pavilion. Thank you to Mrs. Melody Warner for all of her hard work and guidance at the pavilion. Thank you to Mr. Martin, Mr. Hickey, Mr. Back, Mrs. Chaudion, and Mrs. Ariens for accompanying us on all our trips away from home. Thank you to Janna Oxford, Ross Newton, and Cody Long for being awesome interns to work with during state fair, and thank you to the many companies, like Titan Tire, who are committed to working with the FFA. It is because of all of you our month away from the place we call home was such a success!