Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Just Say Hello

If you haven’t noticed this about me yet, I love talking to strangers. Now, I don’t mean sketchy people in dark alleys. I mean people I see in passing and at events. It is probably one of my favorite things to do of all time. Ya see, the reason I love talking to people I don’t know is because 1. I THRIVE off of social interaction and 2. I thoroughly enjoy hearing people’s stories. Specifically, I met a family recently that completely changed my perspective on meeting a new person.

My team and I recently attended the Fort Wayne Farm Show. The farm show is a place where many agriculture based businesses come to advocate for their company. During the show, the state FFA officers were put in charge of walking up to each booth, asking if they would be interested in donating any items to the Indiana FFA live auction we would be holding the two days we were there. We walked around booth to booth, asking the simple question if they would be interested in donating.

I noticed a sign that was hanging from a pole, and it had this tik tok symbol. Heck, that looks cool, let’s go check it out!

As we walked up to the table, I was greeted with smiles from a married couple and their son who was in a wheelchair. I said hello, and asked what their tik tok was all about, and the man in the wheelchair handed me a flyer with all the information I needed to know.

The mother and father started to further explain why they were there. Travis, the man in the wheelchair, was in a car accident at the age of 22. From that point on, he has suffered from brain damage, and is not able to form sentences. Since the accident, Travis and the family have started the Travis Burkhart Foundation, raising money where insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid are not present, and assisting through forms of monetary aid, food, gift cards, and information. I was blown away after hearing their story, and Indiana FFA was honored to have a sweatshirt from the foundation for both days of our live auction. 

It was because of a simple hello Indiana FFA is able to thrive.

It was because of a simple hello Travis had a big smile on his face as we presented half the donations of their items back to the Burkhart Foundation.

It is because of a simple hello a new, long lasting friendship was made.

In life, it is up to us to say hello. The hello has a ripple effect. When we say hello, they say hello. Others begin to say hello. That “hello” means a lot more than just a simple word of introduction.

Just. Say. Hello.

Saying hi to strangers,

Jordyn Wickard

Tik Tok: @farming_tbidad

If you are interested in giving to the Travis Burkhart Foundation, you can donate by visiting

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


I never understood the full power of a reflection until I started giving them at conferences. For those of you who have never been, reflections is a time where the state officers share a story in their personal lives and the lesson they learned from it. These are usually the stories that we wish we could’ve heard at some point in our own lives.

For me, this was very intimidating at first because we had to share those vulnerable stories that made us who we are. But, I often found myself finding the point to a story while preparing for these reflections. I hardly ever found myself knowing right away what the lesson was to my story until I had to spend my own time reflecting on it. Those moments gave me more insight into my own life than I could have ever asked for.

But, the most impactful moment for me was when I got to talk to individuals at camps after I had shared my story. Individuals that openly told me that they were struggling with the same thing. It made me feel so incredibly good that even just one person out there now knew they were not alone in the battle of life. It also made me feel good because I realized that I was not the only one who had or was struggling either. 

To me, reflections created a deeper connection between friends because we started to realize that other people do not have the easy life we may have imagined they had. We then leaned on those friends around us for support and comfort. I could have never imagined the people I have connected with simply because we just understood each other. I am so thankful for the people I have met because of a quick story.


Madisen Carns

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

New Year, Same Me

If you're anything like me, the new year always brings about a new sense of energy. I start working out again, I plan out my week, I eat way more fruit than necessary. I tell myself that if I do that, and this, and everything in between, I can be the best version of myself possible. 

While all of that sounds like a beautiful idea at first, those are not the things I cherish at the end of the year, instead, it's the lessons that I find myself reflecting on. Here are this year’s:

  • One that took me a very long time to learn is: you should never ever have to beg for love. More times than not, I would find myself thinking that I didn’t deserve to have any type of love (even from family and friends.) If this is the only thing you take from this blog, or from me for that matter- know that everyone is worth love, regardless. 

  • Take pictures of everything you possibly can. I didn’t realize how fast time goes by until I started to pull pictures together for the new year. Looking back at how much each of my teammates have changed, made me wish I took more pictures of them. Even take pictures of random objects. Capture the moments that set your heart on fire. 

  • There is good in every single day. I know that is such a hard thing to believe, even I didn't believe it for a while. I started making a post on Instagram every single day, just to force myself to start looking at the good again. It worked, it is working. So, I challenge you to keep track of those small, but good, things each day. 

  • Some days you will check off every single thing on your to do list. Some days, you won’t even touch it. Both of those are okay. It’s normal for motivation to come in waves… it doesn’t make you any less of an incredible person on the days its ebbing rather than flowing. 

  • You are here for a reason. It might take time to see that reason, but I promise it is out there. 

Honestly, some of these lessons are ones I’m still learning. There are days where it’s hard to remind myself about love, cherishing every moment, reminding myself of the good, and telling myself it's okay to not be okay. So, I’m right here with you. We’ve got this.

That’s what each year is for- another period of growth.

Sending you all the love,



Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A Celebration of Community

I LOVE my hometown. I mean, what’s there not to love? We have beautiful parks, an amazing main street organization, and a supportive community. The team definitely gets annoyed with how often I talk about Rushville. I had to prove it to them. I had to educate them: my hometown is truly the best. So, a few weeks ago I brought Tyler, Jordyn, and Kourtney to Rushville’s annual Christmas on Main event. There were lights strung across the street sparkling in shades of green and red. There were people milling happily around the small town shops and booths. There were food trucks and hot chocolate. There were movies being projected on the walls of buildings. There was Santa and his reindeer (he told me that I’m on the nice list btw). And finally, there were my people: friends, family, community members. At that moment, I was so happy. Not only was I proving the awesomeness of Rushville, but I was also sharing my community, my culture, with the team. And as a state officer, I get the unique opportunity to experience the community of the chapters that I visit across the state. 

In a close second place to Rushville is the Crothersville community. Recently, I got to visit the Crothersville FFA Chapter and help out in the 33rd annual Toy and Food Drive. (Check out the December Corduroy Connect that features the event. It's pretty dope.) To raise $$$ for the Toy and Food Drive, members write grants and hold fundraising events. During the actual drive, FFA members ride fire trucks (fire trucks!) to deliver tons of food to those in need. Literally tons of food. Last year, the chapter gave away over 20 tons of food and non-perishable products to those that needed it in the community. And this was almost entirely organized by the members. When I was there, I felt such a sense of camaraderie and appreciation from the community. I was working alongside firefighters, school board members, alumni, and current FFA members. It was amazing. This sense of community almost made me cry. And unlike Abby Stinkwisch, I’m not the crying type.

In my long nineteen years of life, I realized that there are so many amazing things about our communities that we rarely acknowledge. As a high schooler, it is so easy to wish the time in our small towns away. Everyone wants to go to college and move on to bigger and better things. I know I did. But I challenge you to remember the culture of your community. Remember the small events that make your town “home.” Remember the people. As you go into the second semester of this year, ask yourself the following questions: How can I get involved with my community? Where can I volunteer? What is special about the culture of my community? Because there are so many small things that makes your community special. This year, show appreciation for the culture of your community.

McLovin’ my Community,

Nicholas Neuman