Friday, July 27, 2018

Time to Reflect is Time Well Spent

Let’s take a step back. It’s time to reflect and see where we are, where we have come from and where we want to be. Here is a quote that was shared with the two-hundred and ninety-six state officers this week at the State Officer Summit, “When you take time to do an action take time to reflect. If you do not reflect on that moment, it is time wasted.” So, with that being said, let’s focus on a moment that relates back to what the fifty-two associations are learning at the very first ever State Officer Summit.
The Summit is a newly constructed curriculum for the state officers to attend in Washington, D.C. During this time, the officers attending work on advocacy, meet with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill and meet officers from across the country. So now that you understand what The Summit is, we can dive right in.

As we attended reflections, I had the opportunity to talk to one of my teammates, as well as reflect on why I ran for state office. Throughout this week, we have talked about advocacy, being a part of this team and in my small group, discussed how to be the best we can be for the members. So this week, I was thinking and reflecting on how I almost did not run. I looked at the amazing individuals running, doubted my own abilities and started putting in my head I was not good enough and that I couldn’t do it. Did I have what it took? Was my “why” for running good enough and did it reflect me? These were questions I constantly asked myself.

As I sat on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial and looked across the river and saw the amazing lights on the Washington Monument glaring into the river, I sat and reflected on my prior choice of almost dropping out. I had allowed those previous questions to affect me and define my abilities and who I am.  Tonight, it hit me on why I stuck with it, left it in God’s hands and trusted the process. This had been a dream of mine since eighth grade. I could not allow those words to define me and set my path. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

To close, I want to leave you with this, “The front of your jacket says your name, the back of your jacket says where you are from, but nowhere on that jacket does it say who you will become or where you will go.” Take initiative, do not quit and make the impossible possible. Where will your jacket take you?

Always believing,
Nathan Deatrick
State Southern Region Vice President

Friday, July 20, 2018

Learning from a Weekend Home

The first three weeks of state office have been all about learning. Learning from and about my teammates, learning how we can make the most out of our year as officers, and learning about myself. I think the most invaluable way of learning that has occurred over the past few weeks, has been learning from my teammates.

After reading Sami and Brittany’s blogs, I started thinking about their words and how to apply them to my life. So often, I have failed to listen intently. I have gotten so caught up in the newest song or social media post that I have forgotten to take in those firework moments that truly matter. In high school I was the one that wanted to leave. I wished my time at home with my friends and family away and I could not wait to move on to bigger and better things. I never would have guessed that I would miss home as much as I do right now.

After reflecting on their blog posts, I made it my mission to listen intently and cherish those firework moments. If you haven’t already, check out their posts to understand my learning experience a little better!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go home for my county fair. I surprised my parents on Saturday night and saw some of my very best friends. On Sunday, I decided I wanted to go to the annual 4-H fair parade, and my mom reminded me that it was tradition for 10 year 4-H members to ride on a fire truck and I was immediately sold.

While riding on the firetruck, I was able to catch up with two of my closest friends from school. We talked about how excited they were for college, how my year was going and laughed when we hit a pothole and almost fell off the top of the truck.

For me, this was a firework moment. Because I chose to disconnect and listen intently, I was able to make another memory that I will always remember. Do not wish your life away. Cherish every minute you have with your family and friends because before you know it, your life will be changing forever and all you will have is the firework moments to hang onto.

Always Learning
Savannah Bordner
2018-2019 State Northern Region Vice President

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Firework Moments

The first weekend home. This was an exciting time for my teammates and I as we had been in office for about two weeks. I had everything planned out: dinner with a friend Friday night, see fireworks with another friend Saturday night, and church and a pool party on Sunday. I didn’t realize how much I truly missed my friends and family until I was driving home. The two weeks of office went by in the blink of an eye. As a team, we had already made so many memories together, but I was anxious to get home.
On Saturday, I went to see fireworks with my best friend (besides the six other hooligans I live with right now). Her family met us at the school where we would set up to eat and watch the show. We chatted about what was new in our lives and how we missed each other until the fireworks started. Her younger cousin was sitting on her lap and he was getting impatient. He asked how long the show would last because he wanted it to be over. She told him, “you have to cherish these moments because you’ll never remember them.” A simple response that had the intent to calm down a young child had me thinking about how, not only the past two weeks, but my entire 18 years of existence had flown by and I rarely took the time to slow down and enjoy it.
We move too quickly through life, but the smallest moments can have the largest impact. Like fireworks, memories come and they are so often that we don’t remember specific ones that are the most meaningful. Take the time to collect pictures, start journaling, or in some way document the things you want to remember. Memories are a dime a dozen, but you may not realize how important one is until you reminisce on the good times. Cherish the firework moments.

Let it shine,
Brittany Gonzales
State Secretary

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Tune Out to Tune In

We are surrounded by sounds in our world. Music blaring through our headphones, the television buzzing with the latest news or even the constant chatter of videos on our computers. There are an abundance of sounds filling our ears and our minds. We get so consumed and distracted by these sounds and forget to listen to the important things in life. We forget about the birds singing early in the morning. We forget to roll our windows down on a warm summer evening and just listen to our surroundings. We forget to listen to the fire crackle when the sun goes down. We even forget to listen to the people around us. What if we took a second to turn off distracting sounds and tune in to a meaningful conversation?

I have always been fascinated by the concept of listening. I love listening to people talk and learning about them. My teacher once told me, “You shouldn’t listen to respond. You should listen to understand.” Throughout my first week of being a state officer, I have really taken this into consideration.

At times, I find myself driving in complete silence because I am consumed with thoughts. Other times, I have the radio on full blast and I am singing every word to  “Party in the U.S.A” at the top of my lungs (this is probably not good for my sound system or my voice). I have found that it is good to sing along to the radio but sometimes, turning the sound off and giving yourself time to think is very important.

This past week, I went on a drive with my teammate, Austin, to pick up some pizzas. A simple trip that ended up being a great opportunity to learn about my teammate. We could have cranked up the radio in the truck to our favorite old country songs but instead, we engaged in conversation the entire time. We talked about what we liked and did not liked, we talked about how our parents met and we exchanged silly jokes that we shared with each other. We picked up the pizzas, drove back to the house and realized we had not touched the radio dial at all. We tuned out for a brief moment and turned our attention toward something much more important; learning about each other.  
Distractions consume our lives and if we aren’t careful, we may miss out on an opportunity to make a friend, learn something new or learn something about ourselves. Take some time to tune out of those distracting sounds. Listen to what the world has to offer. Instead of diving into a phone, dive into a conversation with someone you have never met before. Be 100 percent present in conversations and always listen with the intent of understanding. The world is a beautiful place with amazing people. All we have to do sometimes is listen.    

Forever striving to listen intently,
Sami DeLey
            2018-2019 Indiana FFA State President