Monday, October 28, 2019

National Convention Hype

My last blog discussed one of my favorite fall activities which was hunting. I failed to mention that my second favorite fall activity is the wonderful National FFA Convention! As a sophomore, I got to experience convention for the first time. The expo booths, sessions, and wonderful sea of blue had me amazed and mesmerized. I have met so many people from outside of the Hoosier state from the connections I made at National Convention. This year I get the chance to serve as a delegate which means more time in Indy and a chance to make big choices for this wonderful organization. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite memories from National Convention that I hope everyone gets the chance to experience this week!               

▪ Trying to get a signature from every state
▪ Watching the laser light show at session
▪ Seeing the Rodeo, concert, or hypnotist show
▪ Walking away with a bag of free items

▪ Going on tours across the state
▪ Retail therapy at Cowpokes or the FFA Megastore 
▪ Seeing the Blue Room for the first time
▪ Getting to catch up with my friends from across the state

No, I am not sponsored (only in my dreams) but I do remember all of these activities and loved each one as much as the next. As we begin this week of festivities let us all remember to have fun, be safe, and keep your tally whacker tucked!

With plenty of excitement, 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Built-in Best Friends

“Wyatt? Are you up?”
“It’s Saturday morning, I’m sleeping. What do you want?”
“I’m at your dorm, can you let me in?”
“Are you kidding me, Morgan?”
“Uhm. No.”
Standing at the door of Moffat Hall on Indiana University’s campus, my twin brother, Wyatt, was not thrilled to see me. It was nine o’clock in the morning and as his “wombmate”, I knew to never disrupt his sleep, but did it anyways. This was the first time we had seen each other since I moved to Trafalgar and he to Bloomington, and it had been way too long. He arrived at the door and grumbled over my presence. I smiled and he stayed quiet, proud of the crazy surprise, but we both knew that I wasn’t leaving. He got ready for the day and I explored his room and texted every detail to our mother from his reaction to his Pizza X cup collection.
Wyatt and I were twins and defied every stereotype that stood with being such. We were fraternal, didn’t necessarily “enjoy” being a twin, and were complete opposites in personality. Wyatt is shy around family but the ‘coolest’ with peers, while I preferred to be with those older than us. Wyatt is by far the funniest and most sarcastic person I know, while I struggle for a single laugh. Wyatt is calm, confident, sharp as a tack, where I can be nerdy, awkward, and slightly clumsy. When together, we were either ‘two peas in a pod’ or oil and water. There were many days where Wyatt and I wouldn’t acknowledge each other and few of being the built-in best friends that we were. We rarely saw eye to eye, but something felt different these past few months, at least for me.
Since we’ve both moved from our home, Wyatt and I have been living in a different world. Wyatt lives in a dorm room by himself, whereas I live with six individuals who were once strangers. We didn’t have someone who truly knew the way we tick or work the way we do. We didn’t have the other to challenge or fight with. Life has been pretty sad once I came to this realization: I miss Wyatt. And while he may deny it, I think that he misses me too.
After little bantering, I managed to bribe Wyatt into a free breakfast. I pestered him with questions about his new life and for the first time in a very long time, we were able to talk about things that made us resent each other a few months before. For the first time in what felt like forever, we saw eye to eye because we still cared and respected each other. For so long I refused to understand or respect my brother because he was different from me. I refused to see it from his side of the fence and used the excuse that he didn’t care to see from mine. I refused to believe that he cared or loved me until it hit me in the face these past few months that he really did care. And here we were, enjoying our pancakes and toast, as if we were still built-in best friends. 
When I watched Wyatt walk back into his dorm and I drove away, I had a bittersweet smile as I honked in his direction. I was sad to leave someone that I called my best friend, yet thankful for the moment together. At the end of the day, it’s not about being oil and water and always fighting to be right, it’s about taking down the fences and seeing from the other side. Even if it is with your built-in best friend.

A loving sister,
        Morgan Ann Hinz

P.S. Wyatt, if you’re reading this, we’re having breakfast together soon.

Monday, October 14, 2019

My Stress Relief

I absolutely LOVE to read. There’s nothing better than sitting down underneath a blanket and reading a good book for hours on end. And this obsession with reading isn’t a new occurrence; in fact, I remember when I was younger, my mom and I would go to the library in my hometown to check out books all the time. 

    When you start to read a really good book, time flies by. It’s normal for me to begin reading, and when I look at the clock somehow it’s been five hours without me evening realizing it. I think that’s why I enjoy reading so much. I can immerse myself into the book - the story line, the plot, the twisted endings. I can be sitting in the same spot for hours on end, and be one thousand miles away at the same time. 

    Sometimes when life gets too busy, I stop reading for awhile. I ignore the book I am in the middle of because life is just a little too crazy at times. This was normal my senior year of high school, and especially the past few months of my State Officer journey. Within the past few weeks though, I’ve made it a point to take a few moments each day to read. Whether it’s a chapter, two chapters, or finishing an entire book, I’ve tried to make sure I can fit it into my schedule. 

    For me, reading isn’t just a fun thing to do to pass the time away. It’s a stress relief. When I open up a book I forget where I am - even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. 

    I think it’s important for everyone to have a stress relief. It doesn’t have to be reading - there are times when reading does nothing to take my mind away from the task at hand. Sometimes my stress relief is taking a run around the Leadership Center, or watching a good movie with my teammates. 

    Whatever it may be, make sure to schedule time to enjoy the simple things, and to enjoy your stress relief moments. I can promise you that everyone needs some of those moments. I know I do. 

Find your stress relief,
Caitlyn Lewis

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Importance of Being Aware

It’s that time of year again, HARVEST. Wait, What?  Conference season. For me, it has been  very odd to be writing curriculum, creating decorations, organizing supply needs, as well as practicing flags and reflections. I am used to greasing the combine, checking the pressure in tractor tires, setting up the auger, or filling what seems like everything with fuel. 
Coming from a farming family, I basically bleed crops, steers, and turkeys(even if my brother Damon thinks I’m a city kid). It’s hard for me not to be rushing home after school to help take care of the animals so my brother and dad could go out to the field. Instead, I’ve been rushing to develop activities for our SOAR Conference. But whenever I travel to various chapter visits throughout the state these past few weeks, I have seen families out in the fields and on the road farming.  This reminds me of home and how my family is doing the same. However, this time of year also brings up something that is very important for me. Farm Safety.

Not only do all of the drivers need to be aware on the road, but farmers need to be aware of themselves and their surroundings. Farm Machinery is out on the roads much more and we need to be diligent of them around us. It does nothing to us if we get upset or frustrated to be “stuck” behind a tractor for two miles. Being behind a farmer for two miles is the same as waiting two stop lights in town.  Just let the farmers have a few miles so they can find a safe spot to pull off the side of the road so they remain safe and that you do as well. It is important to have patience around this machinery so everyone remains safe. 
But pedestrians and onlookers aren't the only ones at risk-farmers stand a very high chance. Out of 100,000 farmers, 21 will have their lives taken. If we are aware of our surroundings we will have a much higher chance of remaining safe this season. Taking five more minutes out of your day to remain safe is much better price to pay than a lifetime of grief for your family. 
My FFA Chapter gives out the Michael A. Alig Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was formed after Micheal was killed in a farming accident. I had the honor of receiving this scholarship this past spring. Every since I won this scholarship, I have realized how easy it is to have an accident on the farm. After realizing this, I take more time to do some of my chores, I am also more aware of my surroundings. Taking these cautions I am safer on the farm and so is my family. 
As we begin to get into full swing this harvest, Be aware of your surroundings, Be patient, and Be smart. 

Be Safe Out There, 
Dillon Muhlenkamp

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

It's Fall Y'all

My favorite time of year is here! The weather is just right, not too cold and not too hot. There’s usually a nice crisp breeze blowing. The colors are vibrant, and the outside air outside is perfect. There’s also something amazing that happens during this time of year - thousands of blue jackets take over the streets of downtown Indianapolis for National Convention!
    National convention is absolutely mind blowing! I can picture opening session, waiting in the sea of blue jackets to get in. Inside there will be music flowing through the building, lights dancing, and the sound of thousands of FFA members cheering. The sessions are a magical time where we will be inspired by the wise words of the keynote speakers and the retiring addresses of the national officers. In the time in between the sessions one of my favorite things to do is visit the career show.
    Walking into the career show can sometimes feel overwhelming. I would rush around trying to visit every booth and get as many goodies as I could. This year I look forward to using the career show to my advantage by talking to the companies that I might end up working for one day. What makes the career show so special is that there are so many companies in many areas that support the agriculture industry. Then it’s time to put on my cowboy hat for the concert and rodeo!
    While having a great time we also get the chance to serve at National Days of Service! I love getting to serve on such a massive level. It seems like time flies by so quickly during the service project, I get caught up in conversations with people who I would not have met if not for the awesome opportunity we all have to give back. It seems like every part of National Convention goes by extremely fast, and before you know it you’re back on the bus headed home. This is usually the only sad part of convention - the end. Cherish the time you spend there because time flies by.

Anxiously waiting,
Eion Stephens