Tuesday, November 28, 2023

How Will You Spread Cheer This Holiday Season?

The Christmas season is upon us!  Yes, it is the season of holiday traditions, bright lights and Christmas cheer, but it's also the giving season.  A time for us to give back to others in our community. In the wise words of Buddy the elf “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” According to my sister, my “excellent” singing voice may not be the best at spreading holiday cheer.  Luckily for me, there are countless other ways we can spread holiday cheer this December and bring happiness to others.  As FFA members we have a duty to be leaders in our community and a key way to do that is by serving others. Let's look at some activities that chapters across the state are doing to uplift others. 

The South Newton FFA chapter participates in the Toys for Tots challenge where they compete with other local chapters to donate the most new toys.  These FFA members are spreading cheer and brightening the season for many children who will now have a toy or gift under the tree for Christmas.    

The Northwestern FFA chapter makes tie blankets for children’s hospitals during the Christmas season. They also make Thanksgiving meal baskets for the homeless and those in need. This chapter brings a smile to both children and adults going through difficult times during the holiday season.  

The Jay County FFA chapter adopts a family for Christmas and buys the family necessities and Christmas gifts.  These FFA members know that an entire family will have a brighter holiday season due to their efforts.  

The Sullivan FFA chapter hosts a community event called Christmas at the Barn for community children.  The FFA members read Christmas stories to children, provide a hot chocolate station, host a petting zoo, and even invite Santa to visit with children.  In addition, the chapter also plays board games with nursing home residents and has a canned food drive.  The Sullivan FFA stays busy giving back to their community! 

The Tri County FFA chapter holds blood drives, adopts a highway, and packs soap for those in need. The Tri County FFA chapter has found many ways to give back to their local community!

The North Decatur chapter is going Christmas Caroling to spread cheer at local nursing homes this year. They are excited to start this new tradition in their chapter.

Learning about all the great things FFA chapters are doing this holiday season has me motivated to spread some cheer myself!  I plan to reach out to a different person each of the 12 Days of Christmas and tell them how much I appreciate them.

My challenge to each of you is to find one thing you can do to bring joy during this giving season. It can be an individual goal like pledging to say one nice thing to someone you do not know very well each day. Or it can be a chapter goal like your whole chapter volunteering at a nursing home. No matter the size of your action, seize the opportunity to spread cheer in your community this holiday season.

Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Season of Thanks

   Thanksgiving goes beyond indulging in delicious food; it is a time to express gratitude and come together with loved ones. Often, I forget to reflect on all the things I am thankful for, so here is a list of all the things I have been thankful for over the past year. 

1. Family

  • My family has been my unwavering support system. They have stood by my side through every triumph and setback since day one. Their constant encouragement, unwavering belief in me, and refusal to let me give up on my dreams have been the driving forces in my life. I cherish them more than anything in the world.

2. Friends

  • Leaving my friends behind has been one of the most challenging experiences, but they have also shaped me into the person I am today. My friends have allowed me to be myself and have supported me wholeheartedly as I pursue my dreams.

3. My team

  • Living with six other teenagers in one house has presented its fair share of challenges. However, these challenges have been positive ones. Whether it's the friendly battles between the boys and girls late at night or the never-ending pile of dishes in the sink, I am grateful for each and every one of them. Their support has meant the world to me.

4. Jesus

  • I owe all my thanks to Jesus, who has guided me through every journey in life without ever letting me down. He has answered my questions and provided unwavering support in the face of any challenge.

5. Oklahoma State

  • My love for the Oklahoma State Cowboys runs deep, but the supportive community surrounding the university is even stronger. When I shared the news of my State Office achievement, OSU showed immense support and encouragement for my year of service. I am excited to see what the future holds as a Cowboy.

6. This Organization

  • FFA has opened countless doors of opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful for this student-lead organization and everything it has done for me. As I embark on my year of service, I am eager to give back to this organization that has given me so much.

These are just a few highlights of all the things I am thankful for! Throughout this year I have been reminded to never take anything for granted and always enjoy the moment. Be thankful for everything this season. 

Thankful always, 

Tanner Weakley 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

No Tricks, Just Treats for this National Convention!

I have never been able to choose what my favorite holiday is. I honestly love the different decorations and traditions with every single holiday, but I do have to admit, Halloween is definitely in the top 5. The costumes, candy, scary movies, fall scented candles… oh I could go on forever, but anyways, Halloween definitely has a special place in my heart. 

Oh and I forgot to mention, Halloween is during National Convention this year! How lucky did National FFA get? So in the spirit of Halloween, here are some of the biggest treats National Convention gives! 

Treat #1 - General Sessions

  • If you have ever been to National Convention you just know. Running to get good seats at Lucas Oil Stadium, the pre-session dances, the hype. Everything about the sessions is just a blast. I remember sitting in the stands for the first time as a sophomore and being in awe of all the lights, music, and hype everyone has. Take it all in and have fun! 

Treat #2 - The Shopping Mall

  • One of my biggest weaknesses comes whenever I enter a store or mall, and I could definitely say the same when it comes to shopping at National Convention. I will warn you; when you go in, you will always come out with something. I told myself I was NOT going to buy anything this past year, but ended up coming out with the cutest cow print Hey Dudes and the most perfect jeans that I still wear every other week. I mean, they’re cute so it's worth it… right? 

Treat #3 - The Expo Center 

  • Along with the shopping mall, wherever you go into the expo center you will come out with something, but the good thing is that these items are free! The expo center is filled with booths belonging to different companies from all around the nation that want to give YOU opportunities to succeed as you move on from high school. You can meet people from these companies, learn about the opportunities they can provide for you and then receive free items from the company. How cool is that? I would highly encourage you to go take a look!

Treat #4 - The People!

  • It is very rare that you are surrounded by over 70,000 people who all share a common interest with you. Meet as many people as you possibly can. National Convention gives you the ability to meet people from all over the nation! Take advantage of that; I still have friends I talk to that I met at National Convention!

Treat #5 - Memories

  • During National Convention you will be able to make some of the best memories that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Some of my favorite memories are actually from National Convention. Keep an open mind, and have fun! You never know what people you will meet, and what opportunities will come your way. 

I hope you all will keep these treats of National Convention in mind and have a blast! Can’t wait to see you all there! :)


Maddie Denton

2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Secretary 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Falling for Conference Season

Fall is finally here! My favorite time of the year. Not only does fall mean cooler weather, turning leaves, and bonfires; it also means the Indiana FFA Leadership Center is full of mini buses, members, and gaga ball. Gaga ball is the best open recreation activity ever invented. My favorite memories come from the short time that we get to spend at the recreation activities. Some of those favorite memories include watching members make new friends, being competitive, and having fun! During our SOAR conferences I let my competitive side show by becoming the reigning champion in gaga ball, but one interaction stuck out to me. After playing gaga ball, I had a member walk up to me and tell me how good I was at gaga ball (keep in mind I hadn’t played much before). This was the first time he had attended a camp and was having so much fun, but he was very nervous the night before as he didn't know many people there. These were the same feelings I had attending my first ever conference. We talked for a good while and discovered that we had many things in common: we both were swimmers, both shared the same love for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and most importantly had a strong passion for FFA. As open recreation activities ended, I encouraged him to enjoy the weekend and make many new friends as these are the people we will remember the most! 

After sitting out a game of gaga ball I realized how important it is to cheer on members. While it would have been easy for me to focus solely on defending my champion title, the connection I made with that particular member far surpassed any victory in gaga ball. Embrace the one not the many.

Tanner Weakley, State Sentinel

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Seasons Changing

Seasons are changing, and I don’t just mean from summer to fall. Life has many different seasons. Unlike spring, summer, fall, or winter, we won’t always know what to expect in the next season of our lives. We don’t know where we could go or who we might become in the following moments. Sometimes our seasons change quickly, but sometimes they last a while. We just have to be ready for what God has in store for us.  

Thinking back to my senior year, I knew that things were getting ready to change, and I wasn’t quite sure what the next year of my life would look like. Instead of worrying about what the next season held, I did my best to make the most of the time I had left in high school. I spent time studying for contests, getting to know my classmates, and even spent time talking to former teachers. I not only had success in my contests, but I also made some lifelong friendships. Living in the present helped me enjoy the time I had left in high school. 

After graduation, I stepped into my next season with uncertainty. I knew I was running to be a state officer, but I had no idea what was next. Even though I was uncertain about what was going to happen, I wasn’t going in empty-handed. I had my skills, but more importantly, I had my family and friends supporting me. I did my best to prepare, and get everything set up for what would happen no matter the outcome. But I still had doubts about if there was more I could do, or if I was even making the right choice by running.

Looking back on my high school season, I learned the value of personal connections. Much like trees, sometimes the seasons our leaves change or even fall off, but our roots are always there. Sometimes roots grow deeper, or grow a different way, much like the connections we make. We can always have hope for tomorrow because the people we count on will help us through the next seasons of our lives, just as the roots support the growth of new leaves. 

The seasons might be changing, but our support is only growing. We can rely on those who have been there for us, and those we meet along the way. Maybe the seasons of life aren’t all that different from spring, summer, fall, or winter after all. We might lose our leaves, but we will still have our roots. And finally, when the time comes we will grow our leaves back and have a fresh start. Our seasons are just a part of our growing process, and sometimes uncertainty can take over, but we will grow back.

Caden Sixberry, State Treasurer 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Kickoff For a New Year Brings New Opportunities

A new year brings a chance for new opportunities. Throughout this year we will have the chance to take hold of these opportunities. There are opportunities that range from competing in so many different events to helping out our communities to even the opportunity to meet new people. 

FFA events allow us the opportunity to compete and show off all of our hard work and skills. Take the chance to compete in a CDE or LDE and sharpen your skills. Use this year to become a better leader or more skilled in your profession.

Take the chance and help out those in your community. FFA has a reputation for supporting the community and always giving back. Use that as an opportunity to help your community and truly impact those who already support you. One small act of kindness can change the world. 

Finally, take the chance to meet someone new. FFA allows you to meet members from your county, district, and even from all over the state. Making these connections allows us to create a network of individuals who can help us when we need it most.

As we travel throughout this year remember to take hold of so many different opportunities, and don’t miss the chance to make a difference. 

Conner Keeslar, Northern Region Vice President

Monday, September 4, 2023

A Door Closed or A New Window Opened?

Going into my senior year of high school, I was more than ready to embrace all of the “lasts” that were headed my way. The last first day of school, last homecoming, last football game, last basketball game, last time sitting in the cheerblock, last prom, and the list goes on. Before I knew it, experiencing those lasts became natural, and being reintroduced to “firsts” became the new normal. For example, the first night at the state officer house with my teammates, going to the grocery store for the first time, cooking our first meal, and getting the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. which led right into the Great Indiana State Fair.

Everyone who knows me knows that the State Fairgrounds is one of my favorite places on Earth. There has always been something about the people, livestock, and memories that live there, throughout the fair, that has stuck with me and ultimately had a huge impact on who I am as an individual. My first state fair was spent achieving the small goals that my young self had set and establishing new and much larger goals for the future. Each year, I had the opportunity to work towards checking those goals off while being surrounded by some of my favorite people.  I remember every state fair like they happened yesterday, and the memories I have made there are truly unforgettable. Just like the memories from my first nine state fairs have stuck with me, I am sure that my experiences at my tenth, and final state fair, will not leave my mind any time soon.

As my season of lasts turned into a season of firsts, I quickly forgot about the “last” that had yet to happen: the last time in the show ring. In the midst of enjoying the first milestone as a state officer at the FFA Pavilion, I was also taking in every minute I had in Blue Ribbon Pavilion as this would be my final time showing. For sixteen years walking in and out of show rings has been routine, but this time was different. I knew that each time I walked in the ring, depending on the outcome, I could be walking out for the final time. No matter how many times I ran that scenario through my head, imagining how I would feel when that moment came, I wasn’t prepared to physically take that last step. As I walked my ewe out of the ring following the Commercial Ewe Drive, I felt all of the emotions that the Indiana State Fair had offered me at once. A final last had come, and while I cried because that chapter was closing, I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at the people who had walked along this journey with me. I now know that I am “one of them” with the opportunity to do the same for other young livestock showmen just as they had done for me in the past ten years.

I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t hard to close a door that had some of my most cherished memories behind it. But as I was reminded by one of the most influential people in my life just moments after the final backdrop photo was taken, “This isn't the end. This is the moment that you see everything you have accomplished and can recognize the person you have become. Now it’s time for a new role, something that will last for much longer.” Although it may feel like it, a closed door doesn’t symbolize the end. It represents a step towards the future with countless windows of opportunities ahead.

So whether you’re in a season of exciting firsts or heading into a season of lasts, I encourage you to look for every open window that is offering up a great opportunity and to hold on to the memories behind those hard-to-close doors!

Excited for What’s Ahead,

Kelby Roberts

2023-2024 State President

Monday, August 21, 2023

Every Accomplishment Starts With the Decision to Try

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Many times the hardest part of an accomplishment is not the countless hours studying, the practices attended, or even the new skills learned; instead, it is writing your name on a signup sheet, attending that very first practice, or deciding to give something new a try.  This fall you will have many opportunities to add your name to a signup sheet.

Callie Comer from South Ripley took the risk to try something new by attending District Kickoff for the very first time.  Callie says, “Kickoff led me to see many people in FFA that I already knew and was already friends with, but it also led me to make tons of new friends who I hoped to see at future contests and events. Kickoff was a great opportunity to meet new people from around my district. It was also a great way to kick off the FFA year!”

Stephanie Berenda from South Newton made the decision to attend her first soils practice. When I asked Stephanie about her soils judging experience she said, “Soils judging was my first competitive experience in FFA. I joined as a young member, and the high schoolers took me under their wing - not only during practice, but in school and other FFA activities. They encouraged me to become more active in FFA, ultimately growing my passion for FFA and agriculture.”

It can be a little frightening to sign up for that first overnight conference, but Jenna Lawler from Rushville added her name to the signup sheet.  After attending SOAR Jenna said,  “The opportunity to go to SOAR changed my perspective about our purpose in FFA and allowed me to make lifelong friendships.”

Clair Simpson from Southmont found her passion for Livestock Skill-a-Thon by not shying away from the first practice.  She stated, “Livestock Skill-a-Thon is probably my favorite CDE. I love it because it gives me a chance to learn how to take better care of my livestock. It's a great opportunity to learn about all sides of meat production from feeding and medicating animals to the different meat cuts provided by our livestock. Skill-a-Thon gave me a new perspective on the livestock industry, and encouraged so much growth in me as an FFA member and agriculturalist.”

FFA members, over the next year, you will have the opportunity to reach countless accomplishments and make some amazing memories.  Remember, every accomplishment starts with the simple decision to sign up.

So, go add your name to that signup sheet and let the adventure begin!

Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Carson’s State Fair “Must-Do’s”

    The Great Indiana State Fair is finally here! While I may not have as much experience at the State Fair as some of my other teammates, especially when it comes to being in the show barns, I would love to share some of my “must-do’s” when spending the day on the fairgrounds! 

1. Stop by the Corteva Agriscience Indiana FFA Pavilion 

a. I may be biased to this part of the State Fair, but it is honestly one of my favorite places to go to or work. You can play a game of mini golf, see some abordable animals, and learn more about agriculture! This would not be possible without the countless members that volunteer their time to set up and work the pavilion, so shout out to y’all! 

2. Pineapple Dole Whip 

a. This is hands down my absolute favorite fair food! It’s refreshing, sweet, and tasty. What’s not to like about this amazing treat? Do not drive across the fairgrounds with an extra cup of Dole Whip for one of your teammates because it will melt and go everywhere … rookie mistake. Run, do not walk to the closest little pineapple! 

3. Tour the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Building 

a. Anytime my family and I went to the State Fair, we always made sure to stop by the DNR Building. Whether you prefer fishing in the pond or looking at all the fish that are native to Indiana, it is always a blast, and I would definitely recommend it!

If you have the opportunity to stop by The Indiana State Fair, make sure to do these three things and come see the new State Officer Team! We hope to see you there! 

See you soon, 

Carson Rudd 

State Reporter 2023-2024

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Introducing your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Officer Team!

Kelby Roberts - State President

Hello, Indiana FFA! I am Kelby Roberts, absolutely ecstatic to be serving as your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State President! My love for agriculture started in my home community of Rush County, Indiana in District 9 and has only expanded in my time as a member of the Rushville FFA Chapter. Growing up surrounded by Hereford cattle, I planted my roots in the livestock industry but quickly found a passion for all aspects of agriculture, specifically advocacy, and look forward to furthering this passion in my year of service! I'm a lover of authentic Navajo jewelry, competitive livestock, quality time with family and friends, and "Texas Country" music. I cannot wait for the year ahead and to meet you all, very soon! 

Maddie Denton - State Secretary

Hello Indiana FFA! My name is Maddie Denton, proudly serving as your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Secretary! I hail from the Blue River Valley FFA Chapter in the “oh so fine, District 9.” I live around 2 hours from the FFA Leadership Center in a small town called Mooreland, which holds only 200 people. I came into FFA as an 8th grader with no agricultural background, but through FFA I was able to develop my passion for agriculture! I love lemons, people, hot chocolate, and anything related to the beach! I also love that I have been given the opportunity to meet each and every single one of you! See you all soon!!

Conner Keeslar - State Northern Region Vice President

Hello Indiana FFA! My name is Conner Keeslar and I am currently serving as the 2023-2024 Indiana FFA Northern Region Vice President. Proudly growing up in LaGrange, Indiana, I hail from the Prairie Heights FFA Chapter located in District 3. Having a family farm, I’ve grown up showing 4-H animals. Surprisingly, I am a first generation FFA member. I absolutely love to be outside and love to constantly be working. I am excited to serve Indiana FFA!

Blaine Wagner - State Southern Region Vice President

Hello Indiana FFA!  My name is Blaine Wagner and I am excited to serve as your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA Southern Region Vice President! I proudly represent the North Decatur FFA chapter in District 12.  I am from Saint Paul, Indiana. From my grandparents’ cattle ranch in Wyoming to my other grandparents’ hog and grain farm in Ohio to landscapers to an apple orchard my family is rooted in agriculture.  Personally, I come from a small hobby farm with two pygmy goats (who think they are dogs), four pigs (who try to swim in my creek), three chickens (only one attacks my sister), three rambunctious dogs, and two spoiled cats.  With a mom and aunt who are both ag teachers and pretty much every aunt, uncle, grandparent, and cousin having been an FFA member, it is safe to say FFA runs deep in my family. I have loved attending FFA activities for as long as I can remember!  If I'm not at an FFA event, I enjoy spending my weekends doing agility with my border collies, Molly and Moose. Dog agility combines my love of animals with my competitive spirit. I can't wait to play some Putt-Putt with you at State Fair, ring some cowbells with you at SOAR, and have some fun with you during chapter visits! 

Caden Sixberry - State Treasurer

I’m Caden Sixberry, and I am blessed with the privilege to serve Indiana FFA as the 2023-2024 State Treasurer. I have grown up in rural Montgomery County, Indiana, in District 4. I am proud to say that I am from the Southmont FFA Chapter. I grew up on a small homestead, and this is what sparked my interest for agriculture. Throughout my time in FFA, I eventually learned that it takes people from all backgrounds to make the agricultural industry thrive. Some of the events I competed in were Soils, Crops, Parliamentary procedures, Floriculture, and several different LDE’s. Outside of FFA, I enjoy going to the gym with my friends, playing cards, and making new friends. A fun fact about me is that I can always go for a nice glass of sweet tea, and peach tea is my all time favorite! I am really looking forward to this year where I will have the chance to meet so many of you, and be inspired by your stories! Let’s go Indiana FFA!!!

Carson Rudd - State Reporter

Hey Indiana FFA, I am Carson Rudd currently serving as your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Reporter! I proudly call Flora, Indiana home, and I hail from the Carroll @ Flora FFA Chapter in District 5. Although I grew up in a rural setting, I did not have any farming or agriculture connections prior to my time in FFA, but through participating in FFA for the past 6 years, I have been able to grow a love and passion for all things agriculture! Outside of FFA you might be able to find me on the tennis courts, spending quality time with my friends and family, or laying by the pool... yes that's right this redhead loves tanning! I am ecstatic to get to know the almost 14,000 members of Indiana FFA, and I hope to see you all very soon!

Tanner Weakley - State Sentinel

What’s up, Indiana FFA? My name is Tanner Weakley hailing from the Western Boone FFA chapter in District 4. I am proudly serving as your 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Sentinel! Growing up in Lebanon, Indiana I didn’t know much about agriculture or FFA until I joined my 8th grade year. I enjoy showing sheep and spending time with friends! I’m a very outgoing individual and a HUGE Oklahoma State University fan! I’m super excited to meet all of you and serve Indiana FFA! I’ll see you around!

                                                                                                - 2023-2024 Indiana FFA State Officer Team

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Rooted In Love

For the final time, your 2022-2023 Indiana FFA State Officers: 

The greatest yet most challenging year of my life. But I was able to spend it with my six teammates and nearly 14,000 members who all showed me who I really am. From across the state, I was welcomed as a friend and allowed me to be myself not just another State Officer. I learned over the course of traveling the state how to truly be genuine, authentic and make lasting memories with everyone! All I have to say is Thank You. Thank you for the open arms. Thank you for the endless support and good luck wishes. Thank you for the kind words on a bad day. Thank you for encouraging me that I can always do more. Thank you for being each of you and getting to know me. Thank you for everything INFFA. Remember to throw the Big Talk out the window and find out what kind of leader you really are.

Proud to have served,
Seth Ariens
2022-2023 State President

Rooted, as I progressed through this year, I always wondered what my time as a State Officer would be like. While it had it’s bumps in the road the one thing that never changed was the members passion. Every time I had an interaction with a member all of the passion, energy, and love for this organization lit a spark that continued to push me. I am so proud that throughout this year you all have encouraged me and pushed me to stay ROOTED to who I was before State Office and now as I leave. Just remember as you progress in life's journey let your curiosity drive you.

Ever grateful,
Tobias Sturgell
2022-2023 State Secretary

What a year! I can’t believe how fast time has gone, but doesn’t the saying go “Time flys when you’re having fun.”? Thank you all for one of the most exciting, thrilling, and most impactful years of my life. I will be forever grateful for each of you that I had the opportunity of meeting. Never forget that this is the moment you were created for, so shine your light and share it proudly. Each of you have been the truest examples of allowing your purpose to shine through all that you do. You each have taught me more than I could have imagined & reminded me to appreciate my roots.  Thank you for the year of a lifetime.

With love,
Mary Jones
2022-2023 State Northern Region Vice President

All I can say is thank you. Every single person who shared a handshake, smile, or laugh with me has made my heart smile. You all had faith in me, allowing me to grow much farther than I ever imagined. I also have faith in all of you, to continue to succeed, celebrate, and grow. Remember to be positive, expand your comfort zone, and choose people who allow you to thrive. Here's to much more growth :)

Rooted in so much love,
Jenna Kelsay
2022-2023 State Southern Region Vice President

Three hundred seventy-one days. From Jun 16th, 2022, to Jun 22nd, 2023, I wore an association jacket. While I wore it with pride and joy, I knew what was beneath the jacket was who I wanted to be, and who I wanted to be was me. Through meeting all of you this year, I stayed rooted in myself and wanted to show all 13,980 members of Indiana FFA that your goals can be reached, while staying true to yourself. It doesn't take a person to wear this jacket, it takes a leader. Become your own kind of leader and leave this world better than how you found it. The gift of life is short, so make the most of everyday, so we can have a better tomorrow. Find your passions, search for adventure, and stay rooted to who you are. 

It's been real, it's been fun, and it's been real fun,
Anthony Taylor 
2022-2023 State Treasurer

Indiana FFA, what an honor it has been to serve you. This past year has been filled with the biggest laughs, lots of sweat, tears, and maybe not blood but definitely a broken tailbone! Thank you to everyone who ever believed in me this past year and welcomed me into your life. The connections that I’ve made during this past year will never be forgotten. Thank you for reminding me that I am enough and that there is no impact too small. Always remember to stay rooted in yourself and in our organization, you never know where that will take you. Indiana FFA, thank you for hearing my thunder!   

Forever grateful, 
Gracie Lee 
2022-2023 State Reporter 

At the start of this year, I had no idea what I would away with. I thought that I would build up connections and I hoped to make an impact, but I never imagined that I could have formed relationships in the magnitude that I did. To the members, thank you for teaching me how to be vulnerable and spread joy. To the advisors, thank you for your wisdom, insight, and support. To staff, thank you for guiding us along the year and wanting us to have the best experience possible. And to my team, thank you for teaching me how to let my walls down tell people I love them. 

I may be done with my position, but I am certainly not done with FFA. Each time I step away, I always come back. So as the saying goes, this isn’t goodbye but see you later. As I round off my year the only advice I have is to show people Jesus and stay ROOTED in your values. This looks different for everyone, and in essence it just means to love people and show people grace no matter who they are. I hope that’s what I was able to accomplish this year. Indiana FFA, I love you.

God bless,
Jaden Maze
2022-2023 State Sentinel

Indiana FFA - you have shaped our lives forever. To serve the members of Indiana FFA has been our pleasure. Thank you for your belief in us! Continue to grow your roots in this organization. Our goal as a team was to show our authentic selves, and we challenge each member to do the same. You all have shown us what it means to lead with a servant's heart. Thank you all for your support, belief, and passion to not only our team, but this entire organization.

Rooted in love, 
2022-2023 Indiana FFA State Officer Team 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Bittersweet Endings

    If I had a dollar for every time I heard all great things come to an end, I'd have an excellent
retirement account set up by now. It was a phrase I hated hearing whenever it came to my last
FFA event or last rugby game. However, this saying has a lot of meaning behind it.

    As I think about the last few days of state office, I wanted to share how my final bittersweet moments are lasting memories and the importance of making the most of them. To start, I need to begin with how High School started. On the first day of high school, my dad told me that high school would be some of my life's best and worst four years. I will have some really good memories and some tough challenges to face. Thinking back on this conversation, he was right. 

    High school was full of exciting moments, but the days of Covid made it challenging at times. We all remember this random time in history that has changed so much about our day-to-day life. Good things came out of this time, but it also put people and families in stressful times. Thankfully this time has mostly passed, and we're back to spending time with people again. Thinking back to the conversation with my dad at the beginning of my freshman year, if we both knew how big of an impact Covid would have on us, I would know how important making the most of my time with people would be.

    My last FFA meeting was a bittersweet end to my days in the Warsaw FFA Jacket. I was uncomfortable knowing if it would be the last time I would wear the jacket. I knew I had the Indiana FFA State Convention coming up and running for state office, but the time I had to spend with my home chapter could have been better. So, I had to make the most of that last FFA meeting with my friends and classmates with whom I enjoyed the previous four years.

    My last Rugby game was another bittersweet moment. I was the team captain for this game, and as a senior, I had to lead the team. I was one of the only players who had ever played the game before our season started, and I had to push players to continue to grow throughout the season. But our last game was different. We spent so much time practicing to perfect our game and grew together as a team. I always gave my everything out on the pitch, getting kicked in the face causing a bloody nose, or breaking my ring finger trying to win a ruck. I always gave every game my all. But in the last game, my teammates followed suit. We all left every practice and every fundamental piece we learned of the game out on the pitch, which made this game a memory.

    Whatever last moment you're going through, FFA meeting, Banquet, or contest, know that all of
the hours you spent with this organization came down to that moment, and you have a choice to
make. Do you make the most of these last moments, or do you let the time fly by so fast you
don't realize it past?

                                                                                        - Anthony Taylor

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


    For this last blog, I want to talk about something that has been on my heart lately. As the clock ticks by, and the days wind down, the workload gets heavier. If you’ve ever met or worked with me, you know I’m a huge to-do list person. On any given day you can find me making a to-do list for the simplest of things. The things that should just be natural, or that I should know to do. I live by a to-do list. Sometimes it’s not what I want to do, but what others want me to do. Somedays, it is so much that I forget what living actually is. 


  • Laundry

  • Write this blog

  • Watch Netflix

  • Write in my journal

  • Answer emails

After watching a TikTok, yes, I know it’s just a TikTok, but I realized that I am quite literally living my life to get things checked off of my to-do list. This has been such an easy thing to do with convention prep. If there is one thing that I’ve learned lately it is that I have to start living for myself. That realization hit me tonight (5/11). Seth, Toby, Jaden, Mary, & I loaded up and went to Franklin for dinner. After eating, we walked through the park downtown and it was completely unplanned. No to-do list, no reservations, no time limit, just living. Just enjoying the time that I was given with my teammates. I am so thankful for this time that I got to spend with them. It immediately helped me find the solution. 

Sometimes you have to close your computer, turn off your phone, or walk away from that desk. Go for a walk, take a ride with the windows down, blare your music, smell the freshly cut grass. LIVE… Live. Sometimes it feels like you’re spinning 800 mph in a circle, and you can’t focus, because you’re focused on what you need to do. But there’s a difference between what you need to do and what other people want you to do. Sure, people are going to depend on you. But you only get one life. We only have one year of State Office. I only have 40 days left with my teammates. 

For this last blog I wanted to get in some quick thank you’s. To my team, thank you for helping me live this past year to the fullest and always being up for an adventure. To staff, thank you for all of your guidance. To my family and friends, thank you for supporting me through this past year. To Indiana FFA & all of the members, I cannot thank you enough for giving me a year full of connections, laughs, adventure, and impact. Always know that each and every one of you are seen and valued. 

For these last 40 days of our year of service, I am going to live my life to the fullest. I will go on that adventure, enjoy every last minute, and live my life to simply live. If there is anything that you get out of this blog, I hope that it is to live for yourself. Do what makes you happy, stay humble, work hard, and be yourself. From now on…


  • LIVE! 

                                                                Living to the fullest, 

                                                                 Gracie Lee

                                                              Indiana FFA State Reporter 22-23

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Life is a Par-Tee

    When I started playing golf for the first time, I could never have expected just how difficult it really was; the professionals on TV make it look so easy! Through the past few years of effort and dedication, I’ve not only been able to learn more about the game, but a few life hacks along the way. This is a list of the top five life lessons I have picked up from golf!

Number 1: Play the Ball Where it Lies.

Sometimes even the most perfect swings give you bad shots, ones that leave you stuck behind a tree, in the bunker, or in the tall grass. It sometimes seems like it is going to be impossible to make a comeback for par from where you landed. But there is a rule that once your ball lands, you can’t move it to give yourself a better shot; you have to play it from where it lies. Life is kinda the same way; we can’t always pick and choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we play out of them! As one of my teammates often says, ‘Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react.’ A bad shot in golf is the perfect way to put this quote into practice. You can’t control where your ball lands, but you can choose to take the best, safest shot possible and come out on the other side of your obstacle!

Number 2. There is a reason golf carts don't have rearview mirrors.

This is the most important lesson in golf, but it has been the hardest one for me to learn! After I have a bad shot, it normally messes up my game for a few holes, and it’s pretty hard to get back on track. I spend too much time focusing on how bad the last shot was, that I don’t focus on correcting it and giving myself a better shot with the next. It’s always more important to take a breath, reset your mind, and set up for success on the swing that’s coming. You can’t rewind and redo bad shots and can’t look back to the past! I think the designer of golf carts had it right when he didn’t include the mirrors, he knew it wasn’t important to dwell on swings in the past, but instead to focus on what is in front of you! 

Number 3. Follow through matters!

Your swing technique is the most important part of your game! It’s divided into three main parts; the back swing, impact, and follow through. Most people think that impact is the most critical, but even scientific studies have shown that the follow through is actually what makes the shot! If you fail to follow through and stop your swing early, your clubface is closed off giving you quite a nasty hook. If you follow through too quickly and lose control, leaving your club face open, you’re sure to get a far slice right. But if you control your swing speed and follow through completely, you are sure to get a square and straight drive down the fairway. Like in golf, follow through in life is critical to your success! Whether it is follow through in your work to complete tasks well, follow through with relationships to maintain connections, or follow through on your goals to ensure your success, the way you finish your swing is what really counts!

Number 4: Keep your head down, keep your eye on your own ball. 

My swing coach, Ryan Straight, has spent a lot of years as a PGA Golf Professional and knows the game of golf like the back of his hand. The thing he loves to remind me of most is to keep my head down, if something is wrong in my swing, that’s often the first thing he tells me to try fixing. It seems like a simple answer to come from someone who knows how even the slightest motions can affect your shot, but he is almost always right! I sometimes get excited and lift my head too early to see where my ball lands, messing up the rest of my swing…or maybe I see someone beside me making a great shot and I lift my head to watch their ball instead of mine. In golf, it is so easy to lift your head to watch someone else’s shot and allow it to wreck your confidence. If you see someone else have a good shot right before you, it’s easy to feel the sudden pressure to impress them back! But in life too, I have found it pretty easy to catch myself in comparison; to my teammates, family, friends, or even someone on social media. I often compare my progress to theirs, my goals to theirs, and my accomplishments to theirs. One minute we may be proud of the big trophy we are carrying, but seeing someone else’s can instantly make us feel like ours is a little “too small”. By keeping your head down and your eye on your ‘own ball’, you aren’t worried about what others are doing & it keeps you from getting caught up in comparing yourself to others!

Number 5: Relax.

I included this one, just for my dad. As my golf coach he came up with lots of quick quotes to tell me that would remind me of things to fix in my swing. “Relax” meant two things; I had to stop swinging so hard and let the club do the work, and to also just chill out! I would often allow myself to get worried or worked up about the little things like one bad shot or even the attitude of the girls I may have been paired with, but he wanted to make sure I stopped worrying and focused on the shot I had next. While I can say it drove me absolutely crazy to hear the word “relax”, and it's now become a running joke between my parents and I, it's fun to now look back and laugh at how right he really was! Learning to relax and not let the little things bother us is something I am guilty of not doing enough, but I always find that when I do, I find myself being happier and more productive in what I’m doing!

    Golf can be one of the most frustrating yet rewarding sports to play. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities it has given, allowing me to tee myself up for success! (I have been having a blast getting my golf puns up to par!) Life is a part-tee, and applying these life tips will help you up your game and allow you to enjoy the life you live!

                                                                                Find me on the fairway!

                                                                                         Mary Jones

                                                                                         State Northern Region Vice President