Wednesday, November 17, 2021

If Only the FFA Center Could Talk

The other day I was talking to some people, reminiscing about different memories from the Indiana FFA center and it got me thinking about everything that's happened there. History has been made as well as life long friendships and other memories. I think it would be interesting if the FFA center’s lake could talk because I wonder what stories it would tell. 

I think the lake would start by remembering all the speeches that it has heard. For state staff, state officers, and many other individuals the lake is a judgment free area where they can go to practice their speeches. The flag deck which overlooks the lake has heard the retiring addresses from countless past state officers. How they develop from a simple idea into the impactful stories that we hear at state convention in the summer. Beyond just Indiana retiring addresses the lake and flag deck have heard the retiring addresses of numerous national FFA officers as well. The national officers come to the center the week before the National FFA Convention. A lot of times they can be found practicing their retiring addresses somewhere on the property. The lake has had the opportunity to witness National officers prepare for speaking in front of tens of thousands of FFA members. But retiring addresses are not the only speeches the lake has heard. Just this past year the lake was the home of Mr. Rob Hay’s memorial service. The lake’s helped to remember the ones who have left their impact on Indiana FFA.

 Since the beginning of the center the lake has been around to watch friendship groups. The shore of the lake is home to multiple campfire pits. The places where members are able to gather for lots of fun and where people get to truly know each other. One such fire pit is at the state officer house. I think the lake would remember the numerous teams who have begun their year of service with a simple campfire. Those campfires are the basis to their friendships and are the first glimpses into who they are working with the rest of the year. The lake is home to the beach as well. The laughter and joy that's come from that beach is outstanding. It is genuinely an embodiment of summer and what it means to so many people. 

I think this is the first stuff that the lake would think of. Then it would start to remember all of the other fun memories people have made with it. The evening canoe trips, the monthly swims the current and past state officer teams have made ( even in the winter), and all the other ways that the lake has helped to bond people. The lake, if it could talk, could tell stories for days and never run out. And what is even more amazing is that the lake is only one part of the center. For all the fun and memories it has, the rest of the center has a thousand times more. From the groups that have met in the fellowship center to the members who have walked the lodge, the center is home to many of people’s best memories. 

One of my favorite stories that I’ve heard from Mr. Martin is the story of why he ran for state office. If you’ve ever attended a conference then you may have heard it right before reflections. It’s about how he saw the big dipper at the FFA center and knew that he was home and wanted to run for state office. I think this is true for a lot of people. All it takes is one time to come to the center for it to feel like home. The center and all it’s wonderful attractions have a way of doing that to people. I wonder what other buildings and locations at the center would tell stories about if they could talk? I’m sure they would be full of joy and fellowship just like the lake. Because the FFA center is a home for everyone and is a place for the best stories to be made.


Tyler Kilmer

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