FFA state officer service an ‘exhilarating and educational’ experience

By Abby Stuckwisch

My life has become so much different than I expected, and I’m glad it has.

When I was elected to serve as the Indiana FFA southern region vice president eight months ago in June, I never expected the year that was about to come my way. Although I had heard about my duties, understood the expectations and had conversed with past state officers, it never truly set in until I began to live it.

Eight months later, I would discover that this year would be full of crazy schedules, packed with unbelievable experiences, crammed with countless opportunities for impact and highlighted with the unique experience to watch a team become a family.

Throughout the past few months, my team and I have traveled the state hosting countless events for our members and Indiana. Our year truly began with about 200 hours’ worth of trainings, including team dynamics, ethics and responsibility, facilitation, inclusivity and many more. These trainings also have continued throughout the year to allow for a constant opportunity for growth.

In late July and August, we made our way to the state fairgrounds to set up the Indiana State Fair FFA Pavilion, where we would witness thousands of patrons experience our educational exhibits and putt-putt.

Then in September, my team and I split up for the first time as we began traveling Indiana for chapter visits and district kickoffs. Here, we had the opportunity to facilitate lessons in classrooms and get our members excited for the upcoming year in FFA. Looking toward a career in agriculture education, I loved getting to see a multitude of classrooms and how they operate.

Throughout the entirety of the fall, August to November, my team and I hosted seven weekendlong leadership conferences for members of all ages and leadership levels. We were responsible for the development of all curriculums facilitated, speeches given and special guests who attended.

Then in December, we once again made our way to the interstates, highways and back roads of Indiana as we traveled the state for our Business and Industry Goodwill Tour. This gave us the unique opportunity to meet with business leaders, learn about companies and better understand the agriculture industry.

Since then, the majority of our days in January and February have been requests to attend individual chapter events and planning for National FFA Week.

As you can see, the variety of opportunities I have experienced has no doubt created an opportunity for growth — a lot of it. To be honest, growth and the ability to adapt has by far been the best and hardest lesson I have had to learn so far.

By nature, I tend to be a very “by the books” kind of person, which often makes it really difficult for me to adjust to quick changes and last-minute additions. However, while I knew adaptation is a very essential and necessary skill, it wasn’t until this year that I actually took it into practice. I am even more grateful I had the chance to learn this before taking on college this fall.

Despite having such an exhilarating and educational past few months, I am probably most excited for National FFA Week. These eight days have always held a special place in my heart, and I look forward to taking on a new perspective as I travel the eastern side of Indiana to facilitate in classrooms, advocate at community events and take part in fun chapter events like Ag Olympics and snow tubing.

FFA Week is an opportunity for FFA members, ag teachers, those involved in agriculture and community members to join in celebrating the rich history and promising future of our organization.

Nationally founded in 1928 and state chartered in 1929, we celebrate the nearly 100 years that FFA has developed its members’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. This week is as good a time as any to support this great organization and the 735,000 members participating nationally.

June 2021 to June 2022 is a year I will truly never forget, and I am sad to say I have only four months left to complete my term. Yet, I am so excited to see a new group of individuals take on this year and all it has to offer.

Being elected as a state officer wasn’t exactly what I expected, and I’m truly grateful for that. No other experience would allow me to travel, learn, gain new skills and adapt more than this year.

So please join me in celebrating the organization that has made such a difference in my own life and so many others as we make our way through National FFA Week.

Abby Stuckwisch, a 2021 graduate of Brownstown Central High School, is the Indiana FFA southern region vice president. Send comments to [email protected].