Friday, May 23, 2014

The Story behind the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center

     Over five months ago when I packed up to spend two weeks at home for Christmas break, I threw a few books I hoped to read in my book bag. Many of these books had been sitting on my desk all of the first semester of state office. When I was faced with some free time, I picked up the first of a couple great books that I read over break! The first book I read is one that bears an incredible story near and dear to the heart of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, The Journey is more than the Destination by Cathy and Frank James. A book about how a Christian family dealt with the grief of losing their teenage daughter. As I read the book I was hooked after reading the families precious moments with Valerie James. I quickly learned that Valerie was always bearing a smile, optimistic, radiant, and faithful. Her story is incredible - she was actively involved in many activities throughout her ever too short life but held a spot close to her heart at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center.

     In the early evening hours of June 20, 1997, the life of Valerie Victoria James ended as the result of a car accident. Valerie was a vibrant, enthusiastic, beautiful Christian teenager. She was an integral part of her community and school, her favorite organizational activities, and her close knit family. But Valerie's death started her family on a journey to overcome their overpowering grief. One way the family coped with the lose of their daughter was by giving back to a place Valerie loved, her family lead the efforts to build a chapel in the woods at the Indiana FFA Center. Although the family is quoted saying that "God thought and acted on a much grander scale than we could have imagined" and now that chapel in the woods is now known as the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center.

The family is quoted saying that "God thought and acted on a much grander scale
than we could have imagines" and now that chapel in the woods is
now known as the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center.  
      This center can be rented out from the Indiana FFA Leadership Center which will accommodate over 100 people for theatre style seating. It conveniently was built with a full kitchen, two fireplaces, an outdoor deck facing the center's lake, and five hotel-style rooms which will house 20 quests overnight.

      Valerie's story in The Journey is more than the Destination can purchased

     I would love to have known Valerie, but after reading The Journey is more than the Destination and having had the opportunity to spend many hours in the beautiful Fellowship Center her family built "to honor all those who have touched the lives and hearts of the FFA" studying, spending time with FFA members, and reflecting, it has made me feel as if I personally am connected with Valerie and her family.

     I hope you consider reading The Journey is more than the Destination and after finishing it I encourage you to plan a trip to stay at the Indiana FFA Fellowship Center with your family, FFA chapter, church and/or work group - you will not be disappointed! Renting the beautiful Fellowship Center opens the doors to explore all 170 acres of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, swim or fish in the 5 1/2 acre lake, participate in team training through our newly renovated ropes course, and most importantly make memories that will last a lifetime. More information can be found on,, or by calling the Center's office at (317) 878-4570.  

Smiling for Valerie,

Allie Abney
Indiana FFA State President

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Allie. You have brought honor to Valerie's memory and everything FFA stands for in Indiana.