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Officer Profiles

Good Ole Jag Lake!
Aug. 18, 2018

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Howdy!

Well, where has summer gone? It seems like yesterday I was packing up my dorm room, and now we’re weeks away from school being back in session. But, I hope you’ve all found some time to relax in between work, county fairs, and running around the countryside and are rejuvenated for a great year ahead!

One of the most refreshing times of my summer came this past week when our officer team headed north to our State FFA Camp on Jag Lake in Boulder Junction. After the jam-packed and exhilarating summer it’s been, it was energizing to take in the Northwoods easy-going atmosphere with the company of my teammates. Not only did we get some awesome work done on our Sectional Leadership Workshop, FIRE Conference, and chapter visit plans, but the week was also filled with a bunch of small moments that gave me a chance to reflect on just how blessed and fortunate I am. It was the daily flag raising and lowerings, the invocations at every meal, the homecooked meals, sitting around the campfire, and simply gazing up at the stars that made the week special for me.

Life in today’s society is only getting faster paced. We’re always trying to fit more in our schedules, do more things, go more places, and get more information faster. And that constant drive for more is great. We should always be striving to maximize our time. But at the same time, we rarely take the opportunity to slow down, stop what we’re doing, and think to ourselves, “Wow, we have it pretty good.” It’s important to realize amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life how lucky we are to have food on our plates, clothes on our backs, roofs over our heads, and the American flag flying high in our yards. It’s the little moments, the little memories, and the simple encounters that put everything into perspective for us. Those moments are as close as we can get to a pause button in life.

So, as we enjoy the home stretch of summer, and prepare for the upcoming year, let’s all take some time to be thankful for the memories we’ve made and the experiences we’ve had these past few months. And most of all, let’s get fired up for the new FFA year. The state officer team is ready to rock, and we hope you feel the same!

As always, I’m open for questions, comments, and concerns at cweltzien@wisconsinffa.org and (608) 863-0895. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for anything!

So long for now,
Collin

P.S. If your chapter is interested in taking advantage of the relaxing atmosphere of Jag Lake for an officer retreat, please let any of us know, and we’ll hook you up for next year.

Show Day
Aug. 08, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Today at the Wisconsin State Fair, I had an alumni member that I had met at a banquet last spring walk up to me. I had been watching a busy show with many other people around me and was glad that he took a moment to talk with me. Through the conversation, I realized that his daughter was showing. As we talked about it, he mentioned how excited he was for today: Show day. “It’s like Christmas!” Nervous and excited all at the same time. Every year, this day was the best day – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you loved.

And the thing is, I’ve never shown livestock in my life. Growing up in town, I didn’t exactly have the resources to raise animals. But as he described this nervous excitement, I knew exactly what feeling he was talking about. I could feel that feeling in my gut. For me, it always came the week before agriscience fair competitions in FFA. There’d be many people in my chapter competing, and we’d all be in the Ag room late after school finishing up work we had procrastinated on: whether it was actual research, the reports, or practice interviews. It was all of us together – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what we loved.

Sometimes, I feel like I am missing that showing experience. Sometimes, I feel bad that when I talk about my agriscience fair projects from high school, people feel like they are missing that agriscience fair experience. But what I’ve realized is this: everyone has their different show day. Everyone has that day – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you loved. And it might not be on competition day, or even in the preparation for that contest. But believe me, you have it. Maybe it’s working on your supervised agricultural experience, volunteering, or when you have the chance to meet tons of new people. Something you can truly be about. You have something that you’re good at – something that fills you with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you love. What day is your show day? Enjoy your days that are like Christmas. Learn from others on their days. But most of all, make sure to cherish the memories you make, share your love for it with others, and help others to realize what day they can shine on. Show up. Show well. Show passion.

Cheering for you on your show day,
Amelia

It's a "Fair" Time!
Aug. 04, 2018

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hello, Wisconsin FFA!

This week is the beginning to our adventures at Wisconsin State Fair. We will be working at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Veggie Races and in the Discovery Center, please stop by and see us! We would love to hear about what you are involved in here at state fair! When the team reflects on some of our favorite memories from this summer, we all agree that interacting with members tops the list. Good luck to everybody who is exhibiting and performing!

If you have any state fair photos that you would like to share with the organization, send them to your state officer (all contact information can be found online at www.wisconsinffa.org), we encourage you to share about your agricultural experiences! State fair is a GREAT time for us to share about the agricultural industry!

I want to focus this segment on the traditions that drive us. At farm technology days, we were able to help with the Team Ag Ed booth for a day. We spent this time in a competition over who could give out the most Wisconsin FFA pens. The competition worked well towards the beginning but as time went on, more and more people stopped at our booth. Many people would pause by our booth and tell us that they were once part of the FFA, back when we still identified as the Future Farmers of America. In 2018, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the name change to National FFA Association. Many women stopped to let us know that they were so glad that women were allowed in the organization. In 2019, we celebrate 50 years of women being part of FFA. The organization has changed, adapted to grow with society, and embraced opportunities as they came along. Being able to see the pride of these past FFA members, was a demonstration of how strong of an impact our organization has had and will continue to have.

As your parliamentarian, I feel inspired to share with you a little knowledge about Parliamentary Law. This blog’s parliamentary knowledge tidbits are:
1. Each individual gets two debates for each debatable motion.
2. If you think the room is getting too warm, you can rise a question of privilege to open the windows.
3. There are five acceptable ways to vote: voice, hand, standing, ballot, and role call.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at ekruse@wisconsinffa.org

Best wishes,
Emily

Legacies in the Making
Jul. 31, 2018

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hello Wisconsin FFA! I am Sarah Calaway representing Section 9 originally from the Denmark FFA Chapter. I hope everyone is having a fun filled summer just as my teammates and I are.

To start off here are a few fun facts about myself:
1) I come from a family of five, but our family has grown over the years. My family includes now my dad and mom, John and Lori, my two sisters, Elizabeth and Nicole, my brother in-law, Dean, and my two nephews, Wyatt and Wesley!
2) I grew up on a 300-cow family dairy farm and now help with feeding the calves when I am home.
3) I have two SAEs including Beef Production Entrepreneurship and Equine Science Placement.
4) I am currently a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls majoring in Agricultural Education with a minor in Animal Science.
5) At UW-River Falls I enjoy participating in Ag Ed society as well as Block and Bridle.
6) I raise and show purebred Hereford Cattle and have had my first cow since I was 11.
7) This year will be my eighth year as an FFA Member.
8) My favorite color is blue.
9) Some of my favorite foods are steak, cheesy potatoes, and popcorn.
10) I train and show Percheron draft horses.

For the next 11 days my team and I are serving as advocates for FFA and Wisconsin agriculture at the state fair. The state fair is held in Milwaukee each year and many travel to the fair to see the animals that are presented from around the state of Wisconsin. Also at the state fair the state FFA band and choir are highlighted during the second week of the fair. We are excited to be able to teach fairgoers about Wisconsin Agriculture in the Discovery Barn and at the Veggie Races, both of these areas are great education tools that we get to be a part of. Along with educating others about agriculture we also get to spread how we followed traditions, look towards the future, and are leaving our legacy in FFA. Come by and visit us we would love to hear about how you are leaving your legacy.

I am excited to be serving you this year and don’t hesitate to contact me at scalaway@wisconsinffa.org!

-Sarah

New Charter, Same Traditions
Jul. 29, 2018

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Wisconsin FFA!
My name is Mitchell Schroepfer from the Antigo FFA Chapter. This year I am serving as the Section 8 State Officer as well as the State Treasurer. One of my favorite things is listening to stories, so I am very excited to begin meeting and connecting with all our members and hearing what they have to say about FFA and agriculture.

This past week the state officer team had the privilege to be part of a new tradition in FFA. We traveled to Washington D.C. and attended the first ever State Officer Summit hosted by the National FFA Organization. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to talk with officers from across the country and learn more about how FFA varies in each state. The Summit culminated on Tuesday morning when we met with Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Glenn Grothman, and with senior advisors to Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Tammy Baldwin. Our purpose in these meetings was to advocate for FFA, and specifically for a bill that would renew our federal charter and ensure a bright future for FFA. We were very successful during our visits and Rep. Grothman even signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill.
Thanks to these visits we added “advocates” to our ever-growing list of legacies in FFA.

We also had a special moment while waiting between two of our meetings. A small group of us were waiting inside the Hart Senate building when a gentleman approached us and asked “FFA members, why are we here?” Of course, we happily answered in unison while he joined in. He then explained that he was the state president of Florida FFA in 1960 and shared with us some stories from his years as an FFA member. He was in D.C. continuing his tradition of being a leader and an advocate, an ideal we all can strive for.

Throughout this year if you have any questions, want me to attend any events, or simply just want to chat, feel free to contact me at mschroepfer@wisconsinffa.org. Again, I am extremely excited to meet all our fabulous members and educators, and I can’t wait to listen to more amazing stories.
Thanks Again,
Mitchell Schroepfer

Take it or Leave it
Jul. 24, 2018

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Wisconsin FFA, I am Jillian Tyler from the Granton FFA representing Section 7. I am delighted to be serving you as Vice President for the 2018-2019 year.

Growing up on a dairy farm and surrounded by FFA I joined the organization as soon as possible. One of the reasons that I joined FFA is because of the many opportunities that I would be offered through out my time in the blue jacket. During your time in the FFA, you will come across many different opportunities and you will be faced with a choice. You can either choose to take advantage of the opportunity you are given or you can choose to not take advantage of the opportunity. Either way the choice is yours.

This week the State Officer Team is in Washington D.C. attending the State Officer Summit. We arrived on Sunday in Washington D.C. with a dark and dreary sky overlooking us. After grabbing a bite to eat we found ourselves on the Metro going to The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Getting off of the Metro we realized it was raining and not a single officer had an umbrella. The team was faced with a choice. Do we take advantage of the opportunity we are given to visit The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in the rain or head back to the hotel without viewing the memorial? What did the team choose? You guessed it, we took advantage of the opportunity we were given and visited The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial! The rain started out as a light sprinkle which quickly turned into a down pour, but that did not hold us back. Going from tree to tree taking cover from the rain we were able to discuss and share our thoughts about the memorial. The State Officer Team took advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and were able to gain new knowledge about our nation’s history because of it. By taking each and every opportunity we are given, whether it be visiting a memorial or competing in a Leadership Development Event, we are also given the opportunity to learn and grow.

The next time you need to choose between taking or leaving an opportunity what will you decide?

Throughout the year if you have questions, want me to attend an event or would like to talk, you can contact me at jtyler@wisconsinffa.org. I am so excited for the journey ahead and cannot wait to meet and connect with more of you.

Thanks for traveling with us this week to Washington D.C.

Until next time,
Jillian Tyler

Dream Makers
Jul. 19, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Hello Wisconsin FFA! I hope you all have been enjoying a fantastic summer so far, and I am sure it has been flying by quickly for all of you as it has been for my teammates and me! Between Base Camp Training, attending WAAE Conference, Farm Technology Days, and Checkpoint #1 Training, this year is off to a great start and I cannot wait to continue attending and participating in many fun activities over the course of the summer!

My name is Ashley Hagenow from the Rio FFA Chapter, and I am honored to be serving as your 2018-2019 Section 6 Wisconsin State FFA Officer! This year I am serving as State Reporter, and I cannot wait to meet and connect with so many of you in the upcoming year!

As many of you have probably heard, this year’s Wisconsin FFA State Theme is:
“Our Tradition. Our Future. Our Legacy.”

As State Officers, we were asked a question that really resonated with me: “What are some ways that everyone can contribute to the legacy of FFA and agriculture?”

This question can be interpreted and responded to in a multitude of ways, and I think it’s fitting that I choose a story from a few weeks ago to tie it all together.

When attending the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators Conference a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of talking briefly with Mr. Don Josko, who was awarded the VIP Award during the WAAE awards banquet, an incredibly prestigious honor. Myself and a few teammates were talking with Mr. Josko while we waited for the elevators, and he said something that really resounded with me: We all have the power and the responsibility to be dream makers. To me this means that not only do we need to go forth and make dreams a reality for ourselves, but for others around us as well. By being dream makers for others and helping them to be successful, we are in fact reaching our own goals and achieving OUR pinnacle of success. These words are some that I will live by for not only my next year of service, but for the rest of my life. So whether it be helping a member with their public speaking abilities for the next Leadership Development Event, staying after school that extra half hour to continue work on your Supervised Agricultural Experience, or simply sitting down for lunch with your officer team and advisor, we are all working towards making our mark within FFA and agriculture. We can leave our legacy by helping others to find their passion and voice for agriculture and the FFA organization, and that will help us to be most successful along the way!

If any of you have any questions, stories to share, or are interested in having me attend an event within your chapter or community, please contact me at any time through my email, ahagenow@wisconsinffa.org. I would love the opportunity to connect with you all and see the legacy you all are leaving within the organization through your service and action! I am looking forward to the upcoming year and cannot wait to see the incredible things you all are going to accomplish!

Legacies Left to Leave
Jul. 18, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hey Hey Wisconsin FFA!

My name is Gaelan Combs from the Verona FFA Chapter, and I am thrilled to be serving as your 2018-2019 State FFA Officer! I will be serving as your sentinel this year, and over the next year I am excited to have the opportunity to get to know all of you.

With that being said, I would like to introduce myself with a couple of fun facts. So, here are your 10 facts about your Section 5 State Officer.

1) I’ve developed two SAEs during my FFA career. My first is Diversified Livestock Production – Placement, where I raise horses, show poultry, and show hogs on my family’s farm. My second SAE is Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, where I have maintained a public garden educating Town of Verona residents about pollinator plants for residential planting.
2) This fall I will be a freshman at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying Dairy Science with a minor in Spanish Language. On Wisconsin!
3) I was involved in multiple Leadership Development Events during my FFA tenure. I competed in the Prepared Public Speaking contest since my sophomore year, and recently was the state runner up at this past convention, and I also competed in the Employment Skills LDE my senior year.
4) My favorite animal is a giraffe! They’re tall and lanky – similar to your Section 5 State Officer
5) My family consists of my older sister, Aidan, my parents, Dave and Sherry, and my dog, Maizey.
6) Outside of FFA, in high school I was on the varsity baseball team, I played football, I snowboarded on our alpine ski & snowboard team, and I rode on our equestrian team!
7) In college, I plan to be a part of the Badger Dairy Club and compete on the Dairy Challenge team, as well as finding more opportunities along the way. Along with that, I hope to study abroad in Argentina or New Zealand.
8) After college, my plan is to pursue research opportunities in the dairy industry, specifically in dairy genetics or dairy nutrition. I would like a career path that would allow me to be able to publicize and present this information to farmers.
9) My favorite holiday is the 4th of July. Fireworks and barbeques are the coolest thing ever, if you ask me.
10) I love Arnold Palmers, there is a very high chance you will see me kickin’ it with one this year.

With the school year coming, I am incredibly excited to meet all of YOU and learn about what makes you who you are over the upcoming year!

Recently, our team revealed our theme for the upcoming year: “Our Tradition. Our Future. Our Legacy.”

A couple of nights ago, Amelia, Ashley, Emily, Mitchell, and I stopped at Hilltop in Stevens Point for dinner after Farm Technology Days. We strolled in wearing our polos, and tucked into our meal. As Amelia asked for the bill after our delicious meal, the waitress told us, “Actually, guys, a gentleman saw you all walk in here and wanted me to tell you that he was in FFA too, and he paid for your meal.” We sat in shock as those words resonated through us. After thanking her, we got up and rushed to the parking lot to thank our mysterious philanthropist. Although, something hit me as we walked through the lot: this person, whoever he was, didn’t want to be thanked. He didn’t want to be recognized, promoted, or patted on the back. He solely wanted to leave his legacy of generosity. Although, this gentleman is not alone with having a legacy left to leave; we all do. We have legacies to live years beyond our time in the blue jacket, whether it be our family’s, our school’s, or our own. The FFA gives us this opportunity to discover how we can be building that legacy for the future, no matter what it is. Our years in the FFA and agriculture education lead us to discover what we are passionate about, and our passions will lead us to a legacy. My challenge to you is to take that opportunity and run with it.

If you ever have a question or need a listening ear, feel free to reach out to me at gcombs@wisconsinffa.org or call me at (608)-293-3726.

Yours,
Gaelan Combs

Wild Ride Ahead!
Jul. 11, 2018

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hi Wisconsin FFA!

My name is Collin Weltzien from the Arcadia FFA chapter, and I am proud to be representing Section 3 as your 2018-2019 Wisconsin FFA State Vice President!

As a brief introduction, here are 10 facts that give you an idea of my background and interests.

1.My family consists of my parents, Keith and Karen, and 2 younger brothers, Curtis and Connor.
2. I live and work on our 180-cow family dairy farm just outside of Arcadia. Fittingly, my SAE was Dairy Production Placement.
3. I recently completed my freshman year at UW-River Falls where I am majoring in Agribusiness and minoring in Dairy Science. With my degree, I hope to become the 4th generation to operate Weltzien Farms.
4. In FFA, I've competed in the Dairy Judging, Soil Judging, and Parliamentary Procedure contests as well as the Creed, Prepared, and Extemporaneous speaking contests.
5. I am a 13-year member of the Glencoe Hustlers 4-H club where I enjoy showing a Holstein steer at the Buffalo County Fair each year.
6. In high school, I played football, basketball, baseball, and shot trap. I was also involved with Student Council as Class President, the school musical, and band where I played the trumpet.
7. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, golfing, snowmobiling, riding motorcycle, playing cards, watching sports, and woodworking.
8. I thoroughly enjoy to travel. I've been to 30 states and had the opportunity to travel to Argentina this past spring through an education abroad program.
9. My favorite food is steak, but I pretty much love anything that includes beef, pork, or chicken.
10. I am a Packers, Brewers, Bucks, and Badgers fan!

Nearly a month’s time has come and gone since the gavel dropped for the final time at State Convention. It’s hard to believe how many places the state officer team has been in that short month! Between Base Camp, WAAE Professional Development Conference, and now Farm Technology Days, we’ve put on a few miles and had an absolute blast along the way! But the pace is getting ready to pick up even more! The next month or so will include another trip to Marshfield for Checkpoint #1, a flight to Washington D.C. for the State Officer Summit, heading to Milwaukee for the Wisconsin State Fair, and topping it all off with a road trip up to Jag Lake for a week-long retreat. And then, before we know it, Sectional Leadership Workshop season will be upon us!

Now, I’m sure the clock isn’t ticking any slower for you! Between work, getting ready for the fair, spending time with family, and simply trying to find time for some fun summer activities, chances are your summer is cruising right along as well. My challenge for you is to soak it all in! Don’t forget to take time to appreciate each of your experiences. We can’t slow down the clock, but we can make the most of the time we have, so sit back and embrace the wild ride that the remainder of summer has in store for you!

If you ever have any questions for me or are just looking for someone to chew the fat with, please don’t hesitate to email me at cweltzien@wisconsinffa.org or give me a jingle at (608)-863-0895.

Take Care,
Collin

The Anventures are coming!
Jul. 11, 2018

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Hello,
I first off want to give you all a few facts about myself.
• I graduated from River Ridge High School in 2016 and am now in my third year at University of Wisconsin– River Falls, majoring in agricultural education
• I grew up on a diversified livestock farm where we have beef, sheep, swine, and dairy calves
• Growing up I was very active in 4-H and FFA livestock and meat evaluation
• I was also active showing at the local, county and state levels
• My family includes my dad, Dennis; mom, Denice; brother, Brian; sisters, Amanda and Andrea. I am the youngest!
This week I along with fellow officers attended farm technology days in Wood County and had a blast. Part of the officer team assisted at the tractor driving contest in the morning, while the other half assisted at the booth at tent city. In the afternoon the whole team was able to experience a very fun, educational opportunity when we were able to strap on waders and went into a simulated cranberry bog. We also had the opportunity to interact with many FFA members which was really the first opportunity for the team to interact with members. We all really enjoyed that that experience and truly makes us all even more excited for this year of service.

The Anventures are coming!
Jul. 11, 2018

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Hello,
I first off want to give you all a few facts about myself.
• I graduated from River Ridge High School in 2016 and am now in my third year at University of Wisconsin– River Falls, majoring in agricultural education
• I grew up on a diversified livestock farm where we have beef, sheep, swine, and dairy calves
• Growing up I was very active in 4-H and FFA livestock and meat evaluation
• I was also active showing at the local, county and state levels
• My family includes my dad, Dennis; mom, Denice; brother, Brian; sisters, Amanda and Andrea. I am the youngest!
This week I along with fellow officers attended farm technology days in Wood County and had a blast. Part of the officer team assisted at the tractor driving contest in the morning, while the other half assisted at the booth at tent city. In the afternoon the whole team was able to experience a very fun, educational opportunity when we were able to strap on waders and went into a simulated cranberry bog. We also had the opportunity to interact with many FFA members which was really the first opportunity for the team to interact with members. We all really enjoyed that that experience and truly makes us all even more excited for this year of service.

Facts and Tracks
Jul. 03, 2018

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey there everyone!

I know everyone can get extremely busy with trying to get fair projects ready, working, and trying to make the most of summer while its still here. I hope you are all doing great!

Most of you don’t know me yet, so I want to give you some facts about myself and my home chapter so you can get to know me better. Here’s nine nifty facts about your section one state officer.

1. My name is Alexis.
2. I come from the Prairie Farm FFA Chapter (Fun fact: Out of all the state officer’s home chapters this year, Prairie Farm is the farthest north by .09 degree latitude.)
3. This will be my eighth year as an FFA member.
4. I enjoy jokes of any kind, but one liners and “dad jokes” hold a special place in my heart.
5. I am attending University of Wisconsin - Madison for animal sciences.
6. I love working with animals and my SAE is based around working and training horses for competition and sale.
7. My siblings are both FFA members, as are most of my cousins.
8. I’ve showed animals for over ten years.
9. My favorite sport is basketball.

Now that you know a little bit about me, on to the team.

The team’s first experience of the year was Base Camp. This meant driving down to Marshfield and completing our first team activity, figuring out the car pools. The northern carpool had a bit of an issue at first. We got to the final pick up and realized that we couldn’t leave a vehicle at our meeting point. However, being the problem solvers we are, we did some team bonding by driving around to every gas station in town until we found the truck stop. Mission one accomplished.

When we finally made it to Marshfield, we got to meet our facilitator for Base Camp. Wyatt is from Oklahoma and was a great facilitator for the week. He taught us about how to use our strengths to work as team, how to be inclusive, and how to put a straw in bagged milk. We taught him how to properly choose cheese curds and about one of our great currencies in Wisconsin, the scoopie token. We’ll get to meet with Wyatt two more times during the year.

Throughout the week, we also got to learn a bit about helping students around the state. I can’t wait to meet all of you throughout my year of service to this organization! If you have any questions feel free to email me at akwak@wisconsinffa.org.

Until next time,
Alexis

Ours.
Jul. 01, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Hey Wisconsin FFA! I hope you all are enjoying the summer between spending time at State FFA Convention, county fairs, and family gatherings.

I’m Amelia: fan of the color blue, ice skating, and pancakes, lover of cheesy jokes, lover of cheese in general, and State FFA President.

I wanted to share with you this year’s Wisconsin FFA theme:
Our Tradition. Our Future. Our Legacy.

This past spring, I was eating the continental breakfast at a hotel in official dress. I heard someone from behind me say, “Ah, they’ve still got you guys in the corduroy.” A man sitting at a nearby table with his two kids had said this, and I ended up eating breakfast with them, laughing about the good times had in the blue jacket and memories he made. I love that we as FFA members can always find someone to connect with, someone else who knows that corduroy makes the hot hotter and the cold colder, someone who knows all of the work that goes into this organization, and all of the experiences that make it worth it. The tradition of the blue jacket. But it’s not just his tradition, or just my tradition. It is Our Tradition.

I left breakfast to head to the Regional CDEs in Appleton. There I talked with many FFA members about how their CDEs went. Many answers sounded similar to mine when I walked out of the competition room: “This went wrong,” “That’s not what I thought the competition would be set up like,” “I’m going to have to study more of this part.” Looking towards the future, we all have things that went just a little wrong in competitions. But that’s really cool – to always have higher heights to reach for. The State FFA Convention next June will be our 90th Wisconsin FFA Convention, and it has me thinking – what will the next 90 years look like? That’s for us as members, stakeholders, and alumni to create: through our competitions, community service, and careers. It is Our Future.

We each play a big part in maintaining the traditions while creating the future of FFA. We can do this by connecting with the person across from us at breakfast, by helping those around us grow as leaders, by building up communities through Food for America and service programs, and by strengthening American agriculture as a whole through our careers and our FFA involvement. The ways we add to FFA’s legacy are found in our conversations had with others and our actions in the community. Legacy is a big responsibility. It’s how we are remembered. And it is for everyone who has ever been involved in FFA – from me, to your grandparent, to your chapter, to the family at the continental breakfast, to you. We all have a part. It is Our Legacy.

I am incredibly excited to be serving you this upcoming year – I know each of you does amazing things, and I am looking forward to seeing them! Please invite me to anything your chapter is hosting this year that you’d like me to come to. Even if it is a small event, it would mean the world to me to get to know you and see how YOU are contributing to our legacy.
Please let me know if you ever need anything – you can email me at ahayden@wisconsinffa.org

-Amelia


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