Thursday, March 24, 2016

Always Look For The Blessings

It's been about a year since I've blogged last and a lot has happened throughout that one year. Of all of the things that has happened, the one thing that has remained constant is the continuous ways that God has blessed my life. Whether through doors closing and new ones being opened, new friendships, new trips, new opportunities, or new adventures- God keeps opening my eyes to just how blessed I truly am.






I just got back a few days ago from a mission trip to Haiti. For those who follow me on social media, you know this, because I have literally been blowing up my Facebook and Instagram with pictures from my trip. I had the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic just two years ago on a mission trip, so I assumed I knew what to expect. Although right next door to the DR, Haiti was a completely different experience.

A completely different experience in culture, language, people, scenery, and faith. This experience was one that shakes up your world, changes your view, inspires you, challenges you, and encourages you to stretch yourself. I won't go through every little detail of our time in Haiti, although I would absolutely love to, I wanted to share my trip with you by telling you about our time working with Mission of Hope and serving an abundant God.


I ventured to Haiti with 23 other incredible leaders and teens from The Ridge who gave up their spring break to serve others. If that doesn't say enough about the character of each of these individuals, just know that I was incredibly blessed to grow closer to each of them and to witness all that they were doing for the glory of God.

While in Haiti we were staying at the Bercy Mission Of Hope campus. Our living situation for the week included bunk beds, mosquito nets, and LOTS of bug spray and sun screen.


The Bercy campus is gorgeous and the sunsets are breathtaking. We had mountains on one side of us and ocean on the other. It was the most beautiful place ever. With that being said, Haiti as a whole is a stunning country.


Throughout our week partnering with Mission Of Hope, there were a number of things that we were apart of. We had raised money to build two latrines which are outhouse style bathrooms for two Haitian families. Our teens organized Bible stories and lessons for Kids Clubs (sort of like a short VBS), where we sang songs with the kids and we helped feed them a meal. We also were apart of SVT (strategic village time). Throughout our SVT visits to the villages, we would spend time building relationships with families. They would welcome us into their homes and we would ask them questions to see what they have access to and what they do not have access to. We would ask them about their health, their family, their water situation, and if they went to church. One of my favorite things was listening to their personal stories about their walk with Christ and how they came to know Christ. This is something I highly value about Mission Of Hope. Their mission; "As an organization, following Jesus Christ, Mission Of Hope seeks to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti." Their mission statement is a living testimony to what the purpose behind SVT is. As an organization they are not only meeting the physical needs of the Haitian people but they are also aspiring to meet their spiritual needs too.


It doesn't take long to realize the differences in culture when comparing Haiti to the United States. What we would consider shacks, they consider homes. What we consider "very little", they consider "all that they could ever need". What we consider nothing, they consider everything. What we would consider sorrow and pain, they consider happiness and joy!


I feel that most people expect to impact those that they come across when traveling internationally especially when it is for a mission trip. I was so heavily impacted on this trip by those that I came across while in Haiti. Whether is was the teens that I was traveling with, the families that we met in the villages, our translators, or the staff and interns with Mission Of Hope, they all taught me SO much.


Mission of Hope is such an incredible organization and I encourage you to check them out! Their website is www.mohhaiti.org and they are also on social media. 

If you have ever considered going on a mission trip, pray about it, and GO FOR IT! It is one of the coolest experiences you will ever have. You learn so much about the culture, about yourself, and about your relationship with God. God uses you in ways that you would never even imagine. I hope to be back to Haiti fairly soon and I miss it so much already! The awesome thing is, we don't even have to travel out of the country to be disciples for God. It is important to remember that God can totally use us in our own hometowns, our state, and our country. I am so thankful for the continual blessings God has given me. Nothing is possible without Him. Today and everyday I am thankful for life, for hope, for service, and for a loving God. Someone once said, "As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness."

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany 




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

86,400 Seconds in 1 Day

"We only got 86,400 seconds in a day to turn it all around or throw it all away. We got to tell 'em that we love 'em while we got the chance to say. Got to live like we're dying."

100 days. Only 100 days left.

Now the song that I quoted above is sadly becoming all too relatable. Believe it or not- I'm actually referring to state office. My team and I only have 100 days left to "Go All Out" for Indiana FFA. How is that even possible?! We only have 100 days left. That leaves us with just around 3 months to go.
Summer of 2014

With only 100 days left and 265 days behind us. I cannot help but think of what's next.

Most recently the team and I have been working on various chapter visits, District Conventions, banquet speeches, schedules, and planning for State Convention. This is what our time has come down to.

Some of the other lyrics to "Live Like We're Dying" by Kris Allen are pretty accurate for our team's situation. The line right before the one that I originally quoted says,

"So if your life flashed before you- what do you wish you would have done? So we got to start looking at the hands on the time we've been given here, this is all we got, we got to start thinking if every second counts on a clock that's ticking- got to live like we're dying."

This is so true for state office. You only get one chance. One year. One opportunity to do what I get to do this year with 6 of my best friends. In 100 days this amazing experience that I have enjoyed with every being of my fiber will come to a close and 7 other eager, excited, inexperienced, passionate, adrenaline filled, young people will have a year ahead of them unlike they have ever imagined.

The things you experience, the people you meet, the businesses you interact with, the banquets you go to, the random things you do, the surprises, the networking, the memories, the laughs, the hugs, the tears, the successes, the one year that changes your entire life.

To anyone who reads this blog post- I want you to know that I truly plan on continuing to "live like I'm dying" for the remainder of my year in office. I am going to soak up every moment of what is left and continue to thank God for all that I have been blessed with!

I challenge you to live each and every day like it's your last! Tell those who you appreciate why you appreciate them, tell your family you love them, tell your coaches thank you, tell your advisors about the impact they have had on you. Just tell them.

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President


Monday, January 19, 2015

Keynote Training in Magnet, IN

If I had to explain this weekend in just a few words, I would say that it was life changing.

The team and I had Keynote Training in Magnet, Indiana with Tyler Tenbarge, past Indiana FFA State Officer and past National Officer! Tyler did a magnificent job and the team and I learned so much about how to better ourselves as speakers! We stayed in an adorable cabin along the Ohio River. This weekend was a weekend of development, of growth, and of fellowship with my teammates. 

After developing myself as a speaker, I believe that I also grew as an individual and even within my faith. 

Today was our last day of training with Tyler. One of the last things we did was decide how our individual speeches would have an impact on the members at the chapter banquets that we will travel to this spring. We evaluated what people would think of when they hear our message. We also discussed whether or not our messages would properly and effectively get to our audience. We did this my jotting down our thoughts on flip chart paper. We figured up that we will each reach roughly a little over 2,000 people by the time we are complete with banquet season. 

Its hard to explain, but state office is definitely a process. You learn as you go. It almost feels unreal. The experiences we are having, the people we are meeting, and the life long lessons we are learning are ALL once in a lifetime opportunities.

Once I read what we came up with on these pieces of flip chart paper, it hit me how much of an impact we are capable of making just by sharing OUR stories. It also reminded me that we only have a little over 5 months to make our mark and to truly and passionately GO ALL OUT for Indiana FFA. Needless to say, it was an emotional morning but it was a morning of growth and my eyes were opened up to what we will be experiencing at these chapter banquets. 

We left the cabin that we stayed in over the weekend only to find this beautiful spot up the hill from where we were that had a view of the Ohio River that literally could take your breath away. We decided to practice our speeches along the ridge. After a few minutes of each of us practicing, an older gentlemen began walking toward us with his dog. The guy had come from a beautiful log cabin home directly behind us that we had stared at in awe. At first we thought we were getting kicked off of the property but the gentlemen was an absolute sweetheart. After asking what we were doing and who we are, he informed us that he had been an FFA member back in his prime. He made a bet with us and he said if we would practice our speech in front of him then we could continue practicing along the hill. Lindsey quickly volunteered for the challenge and after just a few minutes of her speech, he cut her off and said she was doing a fantastic job. It was then that he truly turned into a grandfather figure. He went on to tell us a few stories about his family and his life in general. Lindsey asked, "If you could give any advice to an FFA member what would it be?" Without even a pause, he answered, "Work hard and never give up." He started to get choked up when he continued to tell us about how hard him and his wife worked in order to raise their family and to build the beautiful house that we had been staring at. It was obvious this gentlemen had a heart of gold and he was passionate about working hard to earn what you want in life.

He went on to tell us about when him and his wife were in the process of building their home, he had seen a Bald Eagle flying overhead. When he went to church that Sunday, the preacher brought up Isaiah 40:31- "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Talk about a message from God- it could not have been more clear! This story also brought tears to the gentlemen's eyes. 

Whether Mr. Wilson realized it or not, he had given our team such an excellent lesson. Just like his story about seeing the eagle and then going to church and hearing about Isaiah 40:31- it was such a God thing. I truly believe that God brought us to training this weekend knowing that we would run into this gentlemen to have a life lesson. Although  this was unplanned for us, it was literally the icing on the cake of a perfect weekend for our team. 

It's funny how God's plans work out. I am so thankful to be a part of Indiana FFA and to be experiencing what I have so far with my team. It is moments like these that remind us why we love what we do! I am also thankful for new friends and wisdom from strangers in this case. I hope you find time sometime this week to hear a life lesson from maybe a friend, a grandparent, or even a stranger at the store. Sometimes the best advice comes when you least expect it! 
Have a great week!

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goodbye 2014- Hello 2015!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We made it to 2015! It almost feels like 2014 did not even happen it flew by so fast. When I woke up this morning I was thinking about this past year and all of the things that I was able to experience in 2014.

January: Busy with cheerleading! We cheered at all boy's games and girl's home games.
February: Still busy with cheerleading!
March: Went on my first mission trip to the Dominican Republic which I absolutely loved and I celebrated my 18th birthday!
April: My last high school prom and the State Officer Open House!
May: I completed my final year of Track & Field.
June: Graduated from high school and was chosen as the State President for Indiana FFA.
July: Completed 10 years in 4-H.
August: Survived the Great Indiana State Fair! (All 17 days- plus some for set-up.)
September: Traveled the state for three weeks doing chapter visits and district kickoffs and I met a ton of pretty amazing FFA members from all over Indiana!
October: Was honored to serve as a National Delegate for the 87th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky!
November: We had two conferences at the Leadership Center in Trafalgar and many different chapter vistis!
December: The team and I were busy with Business and Industry Visits and we celebrated our half way mark and Christmas before we all left for Christmas Break.

All I can say about 2014 is WOW. It is all because of God, my family, and friends that ALL of this was possible! At the beginning of 2014 I did not have a clue as to what direction my life was headed. In June as I was graduating high school, I still didn't know what was going to happen with my life! I remember while I was in the process for running for state office a verse that always came to mind was Proverbs 16:9. "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

This verse could not be any more true for my situation back in June and my life in general. I finally had to come to the realization that everything was going to work out how it needed to because it's God's plan and not mine. A few weeks ago at church, our pastor was talking about how sometimes we have to be accepting of the fact that our plans will get wrecked and things won't go how we want them to. But in the end it is all for a much greater cause because God has far better things planned for our lives than what we do for ourselves. It's crazy to think about, but it is so true!

For me personally I have a blue corduroy jacket that has my name, Brittany Young, my position, State President, and two dates and a dash, 2014-2015. I want to make the most of the time that I have left with Indiana FFA. 2014 is already over and the experiences that I have had within the past six months will never happen again. They were all amazing once in a lifetime opportunities. I learned from those experiences and a lot of memories were made! That's the funny thing about time, it comes and goes and within a blink of an eye, a moment in time just becomes a memory. A lot of times those once in a lifetime opportunities are the ones that help you grow as an individual and they help make you a better YOU!

I am so thankful for the steps that God has had me take so far and I am excited about the direction that I am going in! Make the best of 2015, I know I will! God Bless!

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's Time For Fall Y'all!

TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF FALL! Fall is by far my favorite season! Cool, crisp weather, Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks, bonfires, s'mores, sweatshirts, harvest time, driving with your windows down, trees changing from shades of red to orange to brown, Heritage Day's, and listening to country music! This is perfection! This year I have the opportunity to experience fall in Indiana on a whole new level!
I am so happy that I am from our gorgeous state! The scenery is like none other, especially when the trees are changing! Thus far, I have visited with 25 classes and my teammates and I have been to 6 district kickoffs! The hospitality of advisors and members has been more than phenomenal! We are so blessed to have such gracious individuals open up their homes to my teammates and me just so we have a nice place to rest for a while! With our busy schedules, sleep is rare, but when we do have a place to stay, we greatly appreciate the warm welcome from members and their families! It  must be that "Hoosier Hospitality"!
For the past nine days, my teammates and I have been traveling all over the beautiful state of Indiana! Literally, all over! We started off in District III which is the far north east corner of Indiana and we ended week one in my home district, District XI, which is one of the more southern districts! This week we started in District II and we will end in District XII! Even after this week, the traveling is not over yet! Next week will be our last week of visits and kickoffs and then we will be off on our next adventure!
As I am writing this at McDonald's while we had a short little break before the next district kickoff, I know that I am going to miss all of this dearly! Time is flying by and I do not like it! I still cannot believe that we are almost five months into office, we have successfully completed our first conference at the Leadership Center, and now we are on week two of visits and kickoffs! The car rides with my teammates are a blast and I absolutely love getting to know all of the students! To tie this experience all together, it's FALL! God is great, the weather is good, and life is amazing!

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President


Monday, July 28, 2014

From Washington D.C. to the Great Indiana State Fair

I am having an absolute blast! This past week I had the honor of attending the State Presidents' Conference, also known as SPC, in Washington D.C. along with state officers from every state(except for Hawaii) and even officers from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands attended! I began my SPC adventure with our State Secretary, Mr. Skylar Clingan. We flew out of Louisville, KY on July 21st. We came to the conference recognizing a few familiar faces but I am pretty sure I can speak for both of us when I say that we made a ton of new friends and we had some unforgettable experiences.

Backing things up to the flight to D.C.. While in the airport, Skylar and I were sitting across from this really nice lady while waiting to board our flight. After noticing the title on my jacket and asking a few questions about the FFA organization, Skylar and I knew that we had just made a new friend. The lady was seated beside us on the plane and even while flying above D.C. she was nice enough to point out monuments to us knowing that this was Skylar's first time flying and going to D.C. As the lady got up to get off once we landed, she looked at us, pulled out a business card and smiled. She handed us each a card and told us that if we ran into any trouble while we were visting to just let her know and she would try to help us out. As she walked away, Skylar and I both dropped our jaws when we looked down at the card only to realize that we had just made friends with the Director of the Secret Service, Ms. Julia A. Pierson. The first female director ever. We were so excited! Our trip had a great start to it!

After meeting up with the Illinois State Officers at the airport we all boarded the metro. That was an experience in itself. Those things are intense. Needless to say, I became real familiar with the metro throughout the week of the conference. We stayed at the Hilton in Alexandria. It was so nice! After long days of sessions and touring D.C., I'm pretty sure a cot would have been amazing.


 My roommates were all great! They were from Wisconsin(I formally met her at the National Leadership Conference for State Officers in Springfield, Illinois), Massachusetts, and New York. These girls made the week a blast!

One day during the conference we had congressional visits. Skylar and I met with an assistant of Joe Donnelly and we also met with my district representative, Mr. Luke Messer. Both visits were a joy and we had the honor of taking a tour of the capitol.

Touring our nation's capitol truly was inspiring and I really enjoyed the night tour! The scenery was absolutely stunning and somehow it made every monument mean just that much more. It really helped me realize how blessed we are to have our freedom. The monuments that were built in honor of those who did whatever they could to ensure our freedom made me realize that as state officers, we all have the ability to do some pretty cool things within our state associations this year, just like past American legends have done for the U.S. We have the ability to make a difference and to be a voice for our members and I am so blessed for that opportunity. 

So many amazing things happened throughout the week but on the last night of conference the National Officers had a "fun event" planned for us. We were surprised to find out  that we would be boarding a cruise ship on the Potomac River to enjoy a nice formal dinner followed by a dance also on the boat. It was amazing!!! I definitely will never forget it! It was a great ending to an amazing week!

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to all of our new friends but we know we will see them all again at National Convention in October. We left D.C. early on July 26th and we came home to a Past State Officer Family Fun Day at the Center! It was fun to get to hear about a few memories from past Indiana FFA State Officers! They were once in our shoes that we are in now.

Today was my first day in the Indiana State Fair FFA Pavilion! My all time favorite building at the state fair. This week we will be wrapping up set up days and districts will continue to help us make finishing touches on the pavilion. It is absolutely crazy to think, but then on Friday, August 1st, the Great Indiana State Fair will officially begin! So everyone come stop by! And take a stroll through Country Market and buy some cute things while you're at it! We even have ice cream!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, besides a long day at the state fair and some eager to help FFA members, but I am going to continue taking in every moment! Until next time!

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hitting the Ground Running

I cannot believe that just four weeks ago on this exact night, I found out that I was slated as the 2014-2015 Indiana FFA State President. Four weeks have already passed. There is absolutely no time to be wasted. In the hours, minutes, and seconds up until the moment when I opened that envelope I had no idea what direction my life was headed. I was anxious, I was nervous and I was scared. Not knowing what the future could hold absolutely terrified me. But, boy am I beyond ecstatic about the direction in which my life took a turn! When reviewing what has happened thus far as a state officer, we really have hit the ground running. We were officially elected into office on Thursday, June 20th and on that Sunday we were moving to the Leadership Center.
At the beginning of that next week we began Blast Off training which was held in the Fellowship Center! During this training we had a series of sessions that focused on preparing and delivering a speech properly, facilitating, working together as a team and much much more.
The week after that we had the National Leadership Conference for State Officers which was in Springfield, Illinois. At this conference, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri state officers were also present. Our team had the opportunity to meet National Secretary, Mitch Baker. All of our facilitators were great and a lot of friendships and memories were made throughout the week! On the 4th of July we even went to Indianapolis as a team to watch the fireworks! It was a great team outing!
The week after that was time for Summer Challenge here at the Leadership Center in Trafalgar. It was also the week of my county fair! Around 50 members were in attendance at the camp including National Western Region Vice President, Jason Wetzler! Throughout that week, members really had the opportunity to explore all that the Leadership Center has to offer! This includes swimming in the five and a half acre lake, playing games such as basketball and volleyball, and even busting a move at the dance in the Conference Center.
Already, this week has been a busy one! Monday was our first official day in the office. Our office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, the Indiana FFA Executive Committee, which is made up of District Presidents, Section Directors, Band and Chorus Presidents and State Officers, traveled to Elanco to learn more about Elanco's facilities and what they believe in as a company and we also had Insights training. Yesterday evening we all watched a movie and we played some games together.
Today we finished Exec. training around noon and we have been in the office ever since! I am so excited for what this year has to bring! I am also excited to see what I will be able to share with the members of Indiana FFA. I am already sad that four weeks have passed! That seems absolutely impossible! I am hoping that time flying by will serve as a reminder to my team and I that we really do need to enjoy EVERY single moment. And I know we already have! Although we have hit the ground running I know that we will continue to enjoy this wonderful, beautiful, crazy ride as state officers!

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President