Monday, September 26, 2022

The Great Outdoors

With it being fall I think the topic of the outdoors is something we can definitely start talking about. From all the fancy colors in the leaves, and the leaves starting to fall, some of the beautiful sights you can find in the outdoors, that we often take for granted, are almost here.

I can faithfully say that we all have been outside at some point in our lives unless you’re a vampire… I have always been an outdoorsy kind of person. When I was younger I loved fishing in the pond in my backyard, walking local trails while fishing in the creek that ran through it, and taking any chance I could to go cast a line. When I turned 9 I attended a conservation camp where I learned skills such as trapping, hunting, boater safety, waterfowl identification, waterway safety, and so much more. I returned annually as a camper or camp counselor until this year. During this camp, I found so many people who were just like me and loved the outdoors and hunting. Because of this camp, I received my hunter education and was able to purchase my hunting license, this is where my love for the outdoors really kicked off.

Once I purchased my first hunting license every season I was always hunting, fishing, or just spending as much time as I could in the outdoors. Because I spent so much time outdoors, I started to see the beauty of being in nature more and more. Seeing the sunrise on lakes while having woods to your back, listening to the birds wake up while they are chirping, taking walks near ponds or rivers; the outdoors really has some really neat sights to see. Now I know we all don't hunt or fish, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the outdoors.

The FFA Center is a great place for FFA members, and other guests, to come together in fellowship while being in touch with nature. With the lake, and being surrounded by trees, a simple walk down a trail is a great way to feel alive in the outdoors. I love having the opportunity to walk outside on a crisp morning to feel the warm sun heat the earth while hearing all sorts of songbirds sing their morning tunes. It allows me to clear my head and enjoy the creation we often take for granted.

Another great way to see and enjoy nature for everyone is to visit local parks or trails to walk through and see what all nature has to offer. But one of my favorites is to visit State or National parks. Not only do you get to enjoy being outside, but you get to see and feel the amount of history that has been there. One of my favorite places of all time that I have visited was Yellowstone National Park. With countless physical land features that range from wide open plains to mountains, from waterfalls to geysers, Yellowstone has so much to offer to its visitors. I highly recommend taking a trip if you ever have the chance to visit. You get to see all sorts of beautiful views in the outdoors, as well as a wide variety of wildlife you may never have had another opportunity to see.

Now I can go on and on about how important the outdoors is to me, but that would be too boring. I hope you see some of these pictures I have taken and find some sort of inspiration to go outside and find something cool. Especially if you don’t go outside very often. It's a great way to relax and take in the amazing sights we often don’t take the time to notice. Really soak in the creation we have, and the amazing opportunity we have to do it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

My Biggest Takeaway

This past weekend, I went home and milked cows at the dairy farm I used to work at in
high school. I loved working there, not just because I genuinely enjoyed my job but because of
the family that owned the farm. They were excited to see me when I showed up to work, and
they ask me what the biggest takeaway from state office has been so far. I took a few seconds to
think on how I wanted to word my answer, but I already knew exactly what I wanted to say.

Let’s rewind back to state fair. I knew exactly why I ran for state office. I wanted to
connect with members that felt like they didn’t belong in agriculture. State fair was the perfect
opportunity to do this. I met so many members that had different backgrounds and experiences. I
loved talking to members that a background in agriculture, but the members who did not really
touched my heart. I heard their stories of joining FFA without any knowledge of agriculture, but
now their lives are encompassed by it. I talked to members who had joined FFA chapters that
had just recently started and discussed what they were actively doing to build up FFA in their
own school. I thoroughly believe this is what FFA is all about. I was overjoyed to see all the
work that is being done by members to advocate for FFA and agriculture.

When it came time it came time for Premier Leadership Training, there were hardly any
members that I hadn’t met before. I was so excited to see all of the district officers and section
directors that I was able to build connections with during state fair. This has been my biggest
takeaway from state office. Connection. Meaningful connections with members from across the
state. At PLT, the state officers were able to share a few reflective thoughts with the district
officers. I feel what I said reflects my biggest takeaway. I am not big into romance, but I have
fallen in love with this organization and the members. These connections help me remember why
I ran for state office on the hard days and make the meaningful moments so much more
memorable. I am so appreciative of meeting and building relationships with members that have
the same passion for agriculture that I do, and I am looking forward to meeting so many more.

Living to Serve,
Jaden Maze

Monday, September 12, 2022

Life is Hard

    Do you feel like you’re moving a million miles an hour? Do you feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get all your things done? Is your schedule so packed you feel like you don't even have time to sleep? Is the only thing you can do is focus on your work because you feel like it is crushing you? Well that's life, and I feel all these so let’s talk about it! 

For all the college freshman, it must be rough changing your lifestyle completely going to college. I myself experienced this being an only child and moving into a house with six other people. Going from everyday tendencies to learning everyone else’s is something that is extremely difficult, but it can be done. Let’s talk a little about when I moved into the State Officer house, I was thrilled to gain a whole new set of siblings. They truly are a set of siblings to me, which makes this place feel like home. What I struggled with the most was how badly I missed my lifestyle at home. I wanted to go back to the barn, back to my old friends, back to my old bed. It’s a real struggle and everyone feels it at some point. The key to overcoming this is finding your new family. Now, I’m not telling you to abandon your actual family because we would never do that! However, building a new family with the people you’ve been given is the key to making a new place truly feel like home. That’s what I’ve done with my team, these people are my family and that's what makes my new home really feel like a home.

Now for those of you who haven’t moved to college yet and are still in high school, take a deep breath! Go enjoy your life because when you get back the work will still be there, and you will still get it finished. Now, if you’re like me and have an issue with procrastination then we might want to be a bit more careful with this one. For example, I’m writing this blog post the morning that Jenna wants it :) It all boils down to the fact that life is far too fast to let the workload consume you, State Office is just that as my team is already almost 100 days in! I can’t believe how fast it has gone but more importantly how much of a wild ride it has been. I’ve always said that if I’m not busy I’m not happy, but that doesn’t mean that busy means doing work 100% of the time. Busy can be making time to hang out with friends, going to the barn, going to the football game, or quite simply whatever you want to define it as! 

Yes, life has a way of kicking us in the shins and making things miserable at times. But, I hope that from this blog you can take away the fact that being busy is what you make it and that the people around you truly make wherever you are a home. Life is one heck of a challenge, but I believe that everyone one of you has what it takes to make the most of it and make it your own wild ride.

Monday, September 5, 2022

In All Things Give Thanks

It’s easy to take things for granted. Our blessings become normalized and almost become expected. I’m sad to say I’m guilty of this all too often. After starting my year of State Office, I challenged myself to never take a single moment for granted, as there are only 365 days for this opportunity and now, even less. This blog is to hold me accountable for this goal, to remember “In All Things Give Thanks.”

The first person to encourage this attitude of gratitude was my wonderful mom. She always noticed my friends who thanked her, emphasized my siblings and I showing appreciation for others, and the simple words “thank you” were extremely important to her.  She instilled this priority for thankfulness and this lesson is something I will remember forever. 

I am reminded of this lesson daily with my team. They constantly remind me of all of the reasons to be grateful and appreciate each moment. They challenge me to see the positives in every situation and use every challenge as an opportunity to grow. Seth, Toby, Mary, Anthony, Gracie, and Jaden - thank you for pushing me to be grateful in all situations. 

Finally, every member of Indiana FFA continues to teach me the lesson of gratefulness daily. Every interaction, conversation, and new friendship from the start of my year of service reminds me of the amazing opportunity I was given. I hope to show my appreciation for each of you during this year. Thank you for making it easier to remember “In All Things Give Thanks.”

With a grateful heart, 

Jenna Kelsay