January 28, 2021

A year of service during difficult times

Q&A: Indiana FFA state officers

TRAFALGAR, Ind. — The past year has been anything but normal, to say the least. It has been challenging, in particular, for the Indiana FFA state officers, who were elected during a virtual convention.

Two of those officers — President Julia Hamblen and Southern Region Vice President Loren Matlock — answered questions about their year of service so far and what they hope is in store for 2021.

Although 2020 was quite a different experience for being a state officer, how has your time been so far?

Hamblen: “I knew that this year would be anything but normal, and that’s what I’ve loved the most about serving as a state officer. We’ve implemented new ideas and programs to accommodate our ever-changing society with the pandemic and have made the most of what we are able to do.”

Matlock: “There is no doubt that our halfway completed year has been different, and that may be an understatement for the crazy year all of us have had. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed this year, and that credit is due to the innovation we are forced to be a part of. Almost everything we have done this year required us as a team to put our brains together to make sure we follow all the restricting guidelines while still trying to make things ‘normal’ for the members. It has been a really cool experience watching all the innovation happening right in front of us.”

What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned while serving as an Indiana FFA state officer?

Hamblen: “One of the biggest lessons I have learned while serving as a state officer is to live in the moment every day. I remember on our first day at the center Past State President Dillon Muhlenkamp told me that this year would go by fast and to enjoy every minute of it. We’re halfway through with our year of service, but it feels like we are still in July. Whenever we finish our work for the day, we like to play Just Dance or Monopoly or just chat in the living room. It’s those moments that I’ve learned to put my phone down and live in the moment. State office, and our lives, is not meant to last forever, and I’ve learned the last six months to live in the moment every day.”

Matlock: “I would say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year is to focus on the positive. It is so easy for anyone to be caught up in the negativity of 2020, and that is where remaining optimistic and focusing on the positive side of situations can come in handy. I have learned to do this because of the positive people I have been surrounded by.”

What are some things you and your team members are looking forward to in 2021?

Hamblen: “We’re looking forward to embarking on new opportunities to reach members across the state in 2021. As the regulations for COVID-19 alter, we will accommodate our programming to ensure we are able to make a difference in the lives of the over 12,500 members of Indiana FFA, whether it’s in person with restrictions or virtually. We’re hoping to conduct our FIRE and LDW Conference in person in February and lead those leadership conferences that our members have been looking forward to. Overall, I’m excited to see what all my team and I are able to accomplish, no matter what this pandemic throws at us.”

Matlock: “The state officer team is most certainly looking forward to hopefully meeting with members in person again. This being said, we must continue to be safe which may require us to do things virtually. We are looking forward to seeing to how members continue to adapt and overcome the obstacles we are facing. We have already seen and are looking forward to watching our members make their communities and our organization better.”

Ashley Langreck

Field Editor