Tuesday, February 27, 2024

FFA Week: A Look Into My Journal

As a state officer, many days are a blur. In order to best capture the most special moments of this year, I have turned to saving vlogs to my TikTok drafts and journaling at the end of the day (that is, when I remember to). All throughout FFA Week, I reflected on each day and chapter visited, so I thought that I would take this opportunity to share a little of what was written. Here’s a look at the 2024 National FFA Week through my journal!


Today I got to start FFA Week early! I joined the Monrovia FFA Chapter for their all-school convocation where students got to compete by grade for points, including an Official Dress Race! The Sophomore Class won, and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone put Official Dress on so fast!

Joy(s) of the Day: Visiting with FFA Members is so fulfilling and fueling!


The Meats and Milk Quality & Products CDEs were at Purdue today! The boys helped with the meats contest…there was NO way I was standing in a meat cooler (haha), and I helped with MQP.

Joy(s) of the Day: Learning about a new contest + Meeting our friend, Brenden, for Coldstone!


This morning I met the Cascade FFA Chapter at Westbridge Church in Danville, and then went to lunch with them! I was even able to fit in a nap at the Center before going to church and dinner with the Indiana Ag & Tech FFA Chapter at Gateway Cowboy Church in Trafalgar!

Joy(s) of the Day: Lots of laughs with members from two chapters!


Eastern Hancock held a Chapter Officer Retreat at an AirBnB in Westfield. We had lots of fun learning and laughing together. My parents also got to accompany me to the Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast Participant’s Dinner!

Joy(s) of the Day: Facilitating to a small group for the first time in a while + Seeing my parents!


An early 3:30 AM start to get ready for the Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast! I had the honor and privilege of introducing Governor Holcomb for this event and meeting with several legislators and leaders of our Great State. Then I headed to Advocacy Day, where my teammates and I got to interact with several INFFA Members and stood on the Senate Floor to receive our Joint Resolution! I headed to Franklin Community High School to help their Chapter’s Officers deliver cookies to the community’s fire departments!

Joy(s) of the Day: Seeing my teammates and sharing laughs and memories before we headed our own separate ways again!


Lots of BIG schools! To my surprise, I didn’t even get lost as I navigated through Indianapolis and three of the largest schools I have ever been to! Area 31 FFA, Beech Grove FFA, and Decatur Central FFA were awesome to hang out with and facilitate to. I had so much fun! I stayed after school with Decatur Central for Tacos and Tye-Dye before I headed to Indian Creek for their Chapter Meeting!

Joy(s) of the Day: Learning about more urban FFA Chapters + sharing my story with members and hearing theirs!


A much needed morning of sleeping in (aka sleeping until 5:45)! I got to start my morning by joining Whiteland FFA for their Teach the Teachers Event before heading to Edgewood for a couple of class periods. I stopped by the Leadership Center to do some Social Media work and then ventured to the Waldron FFA Chapter Meeting for a delicious meal and fellowship with their members and community. 

Joy(s) of the Day: Seeing Mr. Ramey and Mrs. Meredith when I stopped by the Center! It’s always good to see the familiar faces of our staff members!


I can’t believe the week is almost over! TOday was my last day with members and chapters. I joined the Danville FFA Chapter for their delicious breakfast…they weren’t kidding when they said that it was the best biscuits and gravy ever! I then returned to Cascade for their Chapter Lunch, where we heard from Co-Alliance, before venturing to Bloomington to work in Starbucks for a little while. I went to Hoosier Hills’ Community Cornhole Event then headed back to my weekend home!

Joy(s) of the Day: A last day full of new and old friends and good food!


My FFA Week activities may be over, but my busy life doesn’t stop on a weekend home! I got to see some of my good friends from many different states at a sheep sale today, stopped with my family for lunch on the way back home, and then met with three of my best friends from high school for dinner!

Joy(s) of the Day: Being surrounded by the people and things (food and good livestock) that I love most!


Sundays are for sleeping in….extra late. Once I finally woke up this morning, I went to church with my family. When we got home we grabbed some lunch and my brother and I spent a little time in the barn before I went back to the Center to start my week with my teammates!

Joy(s) of the Day: Reuniting with my teammates after NINE days!

Week Reflection ~

I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve, travel, meet new people, and be abundantly blessed by the little things in life. After driving 1,362 miles and meeting with hundreds of students and members, I find myself filled with joy. From playing Brain-Games with Area 31 to sharing laughs around an early-morning breakfast at Danville, I could not have asked for a better week filled with better people. I’m especially thankful to be reflecting and writing this from my parents’ kitchen table after sharing these special memories with them. Life is so good!

There were eight whole pages of writing that I documented throughout FFA Week, so I opted to save us all a little time and only share the basics, but if there’s anything that I learned and would like to share about this special time in our lives, I encourage you to live in the present and count all of the joys that each day brings.

With an Abundance of Love,

Kelby Roberts, State President

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

My Valentine’s Day, Christmas Tree!

Growing up my family had a Christmas tree up all year long. I know this might sound crazy, but hear me out… For each season my family would decorate this four foot tree with different ornaments to create a different theme for the tree. Other than Christmas, my favorite theme was always Valentine’s Day because our tree was covered with pink hearts and red ornaments. 

Each season of the year brought a different theme for our tree. It was so much fun to decorate each season uniquely and see it everyday in our living room as a reminder to celebrate the different seasons of the year.

This Valentine’s season I am staying busy by spending time with my family, celebrating Conner’s birthday with my teammates, reuniting with friends, and preparing for FFA Week! With everything going on I am trying to remind myself to find the beauty in these unique and cherishable moments. After a few Pinterest searches, I actually found a few ways to live more in the moment, and I thought I’d share!

  1. Journaling - Although it can be hard to sit down after a busy day of school, work, or travel, it is an awesome way to reflect on the good parts of your life. What conversations did you share, what made you smile, what was an act of kindness you received? It is an awesome way to look back and be more intentional in your life. 

  2. Monotasking - Monotasking means you are taking the time to focus on one thing at a time. While I am definitely a victim of multitasking, I have been holding myself accountable to only working on one project at a time. This has allowed me to do everything to my best ability and made me appreciate my small accomplishments whether it be speeches, conversations, or friendships. I would encourage you to try it too! 

  3. Useful Time - This month I am trying to be more mindful of how I spend my time. Not necessarily limiting my time but making it more purposeful and meaningful. Oftentimes I find myself scrolling through TikTok or Instagram before I go to sleep. Although I haven’t stopped completely, and I don’t think I ever will, I have found that I find calling my family and friends or reading a Bible deviation gives my time a lot more meaning and joy. 

Throughout the busyness in our lives it is important to find the small celebrations or little things that help make life more meaningful and enjoyable. My little four foot tree is always reminding me to celebrate the small seasons or little moments in our lives. Wishing you all the best Valentine’s Day!

With love, 

Maddie Denton, State Secretary

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Unexpected Outcomes

I was watching the Lions game the other night and at half time I thought for sure the Lions would beat the 49ers and get their ticket to the Super Bowl. However, that thought quickly escaped my mind once the 49ers scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter. That night the Lions unexpectedly lost. Sometimes in life, we experience unexpected outcomes. For the Lions, this outcome was less than ideal. However, on the flipside this unexpected outcome made the 49er's dreams come true. In life, we will have highs and lows accompanied by surprises. It's important to celebrate the positive surprises and reflect on the not-so-positive outcomes.

When it comes to unexpected outcomes the first memory that comes to my mind is being awarded the Albright Gemlick Scholarship through Parkview Hospital. This scholarship is open to 3 students from every school or sports club that uses a Parkview Affiliated Athletic Trainer Program. This amounted to 80+ students competing for 8 scholarships. Upon hearing news that I had been nominated for this scholarship the first thought that came to my mind was that no one from my school had won this award and they were way more qualified then me. 

Nevertheless, I still applied boasting my commitment to athletics with my 12 Varsity Letters and my commitment to academics with my 5 Academic All-State Recognitions. Sometime after turning in my application, I received my invitation to the awards banquet where they would announce the 8 that will receive this scholarship. I sat and listened to video after video of these seniors who broke school records, started charity organizations, and went above and beyond at their school. After naming 7 of the recipients they get to the final award and pause. This award was different; this award was dedicated to a student who had passed away. This student was known for their outstanding character and compassion. As a result it became a tradition to name a recipient who has outstanding character and compassion. That recipient was me. I still don’t know if it was my essay, my letters of recommendation, or simply my list of accomplishments that aided me in winning this award. All I know is that it was an unexpected outcome, one that I celebrated. Remember that surprises will happen more often than you think and that we have to celebrate the good times and reflect on the hard times. 

Conner Keeslar, State Northern Region Vice President

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

New Year, New Mindset

I am sure we have all heard the timeless expression, “New Year, New Me,” which probably led to crafting a New Year’s resolution that you hoped would make the next year of your life the best yet. I’m not usually one to participate in making these resolutions, but that all changed this year. 

If you know me you know I love sarcasm, but sometimes satire can be very negative. That might have been why my mom got me a “365 Days of Positivity” desk calendar for Christmas. At first, I thought this gift was just a joke and my mom being my mom, but I decided to bring that calendar down to the Indiana FFA Leadership Center to sit on my desk. 

This year, I have incorporated a piece of positivity into my daily routine, leading me to create a New Year’s resolution to be a more positive person overall. This new goal is very vague and could look like many things to different people, but for me, it is all about reflection. Every day when I sit at my desk, I tear off a piece of paper, read a quote, and think about how to apply it to my life. Already halfway through the first month of the year, I have found some especially helpful and thought I would share them: 

January 1, 2024: “A positive mindset brings positive things.” - Phillip Reiter

  • What better way to start this new year and journey than this? Honestly, I have always heard iterations of this quote and have brushed it off. Mindset is so important, especially when it comes to trying new things. If you tackle a new challenge or experience with a positive mindset, growth will come out of it, no matter the outcome or result. 

January 3, 2024: “Lead from the heart, not the head” - Princess Diana

  • Leading with compassion from the heart can create a community around you. This is something that I have learned this year. You have to care and value those you are leading to have a positive impact and influence on them.

January 12, 2024: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop

  • Kindness can brighten anyone’s day or put a smile on their face. My mom always tells my brother and I to choose kindness. Of course, my brother and I think it’s just a corny and kooky saying that our mom uses, but the weight her two words have is indescribable and a mindset most people lack. Remember, acts of kindness are always appreciated.

“New Year, New Me” has become a cliche in our culture, but New Year’s resolutions can encourage positive growth and change in our lives. As January winds down, revisit some of the goals you set for yourself this year or craft some new ones because you never know the growth they will allow until you can reflect on the experience. 

Keep Growing, 

Carson Rudd, State Reporter