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Officer Profiles

Trust the Journey
Sep. 22, 2017

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Happy Fall all! As the first day of fall came to a close I found myself on the back of my horse checking on the cattle out to pasture. In that moment I couldn’t help but reflect back upon all that has taken place this past summer. The adventures had, goals set, friendships gained, memories made, and all that is to come over the next months of service.

A quote that replayed in my mind in those moments is this: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” –John Wayne
To simply sum up this quote is to say the word “trust”. You see trust is a huge part of me being able to saddle up my horse and ride out to check pastures. My horse was diagnosed with Moon Blindness at the age of 7, and has sense then gone completely blind. The trust shared between this horse and I is indescribable, but has certainly given me a new outlook on life.

As I reflected back upon all the events, conferences, cattle shows, and workshops I was able to be a part of as a State Officer over the summer that same feeling of trust is what I felt. The trust of knowing the path you walk today is what can make a difference in the lives of others tomorrow.

Truly yours,
Brooke Brantner

Realize the Opportunities
Sep. 19, 2017

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

Staying at home while being in state office is always fun and games, until my mom says those magic words, “You’re going to have to get up with me in the morning.” Those words don’t sound very special until I tell you that by “morning” she means 2:45 in the morning, and by “get up” she means doing calf chores. However, when she said those magic words last Friday, that Saturday morning my 77-year-old grandma says, “isn’t it fun feeding the world?” with a huge smile on her face. Without a second thought, I just smiled and said “oh yes grandma,” and went on with chores.
When I was feeding the calves, I had time to think and reflect on what my grandma had just said. Although I was up and working at 3:00 in the morning and it had started to rain while I was trying to bed the calves, I had the opportunity to make a difference in the world by feeding the people in it.
Realizing opportunities is very important as we start the first round of Sectional Leadership Workshops this week. We have the opportunity to make a difference in the world by first making a difference with ourselves. At Sectional Leadership Workshop, we are able to better ourselves as FFA members, and in turn, better ourselves as a person.
I am very excited to have this opportunity to feed the world, and also facilitate at Sectional Leadership Workshop. I hope you are all as excited as I am to continue to learn and make a difference in our FFA career and in the agriculture industry!
Let’s realize all of the opportunities in front of us!
Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

I Hope You Dance
Sep. 16, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter
President

Do song lyrics ever really resonate with you? Well, maybe it’s just because I love music, and therefore listen to music seemingly all the time, but this happens to me a lot! I can have heard a song a million times, but for whatever reason, in the right moment, a song lyric can really stay with me for a while.

This week while preparing for our upcoming Sectional Leadership Workshops, I was also listening to one of my good old throwback Spotify playlists. So of course, all the good jams kept coming on: everything from musicals and boy bands to Scotty McCreery and throwback Taylor Swift!

As I was working along to the music and even singing along from time to time, for some reason I actually took a second to stop what I was working on and actually listen to the lyrics of the song that was on:

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting change. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. I hope you dance.” –Lee Ann Womack

“I Hope you Dance” has been one of my go to songs for years, simply because it is so beautiful, relatable, and inspiring.

Most of us can probably remember being at some dance, whether it was at an FFA conference, wedding, school or another venue, where we could have gotten up and danced to the music, but decided to sit out – I know I’ve been guilty of this more than once. But that song that we passed on, that could’ve been the best song, the best experience, and a great memory in our life, and we’ll never know. We never know until we try.

So next time, before we pass on dancing or before we pass up another opportunity, think of these lyrics. In the upcoming weeks, if an opportunity is presented to us, let’s take advantage of that! Maybe it will be if a friend asks us to come to an FFA activity, maybe it will be our teacher asking us to work with someone new or maybe it will be choosing to dance with my teammates and I at Sectional Leadership Workshops, let’s choose to say “yes” – let’s choose to dance!

Opportunities are ours to make the most of. And you know what, it never hurts to try.

I hope you dance,
Ciera

Apples & Gratitude
Sep. 13, 2017

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

While we are now getting in to the swing of chapter visits as state officers this week, we spent last week preparing for chapter visits and Sectional Leadership Workshops (SLWs) at Clinton High School. Being so close to the southern border of the state, our team decided to go on an adventure to Illinois and to Edward’s Apple Orchard!

Living so close to the border in Section 10, I am a frequent Edward’s donut eater, and enjoyed getting to share memories in a beautiful piece of my “home” area with my team. We tasted some delicious apple cider donuts and different types of apples, went to the petting zoo, took pictures on the tractor & train play area that is set up there, and finished up with some hot apple cider. As we were walking back to our cars, I noticed several of my teammates looking at their cider cups. Having drank this same cider hundreds of times in my life, I hadn’t even glanced at the cup it was in. What my teammates were reading was a simple quote, left on every cup:

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things.”

Despite having been to that orchard dozens of times, and having my dad bring us home cider & donuts after work even more times than that, I hadn’t noticed this quote at all. And yet, my teammates had noticed it. It’s the little things; like drinking a good cup of coffee, coming home to your family after a busy day, having a genuine conversation with someone, or like drinking hot apple cider with a team that has become family. Those. Those are the big things, so take some time to really appreciate them.

I have had an amazing time enjoying the little things in chapter visits so far, and am excited to see all of you throughout this busy season! This fall, take some time in between classes, sports, and activities, gather up some good friends & family, and enjoy the little things. You might just find your heart pretty full with some pretty big things.

With gratitude,
Amelia

Living your why
Sep. 13, 2017

Sam Pinchart - Vice President
Luxemburg-Casco FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hey what's up Wisconsin FFA!?!? Last week Friday I started my chapter visits and I have done a couple since then. During these visits I have given students time to ask me questions. The questions I have been asked ranged all the way from "what FFA activities can I do to further prepare me for the future?" to "How much hair gel do you put in your hair?" Some questions have been standard FFA questions and some have been way out there crazy questions like the second example.... and by the way in case you were wondering I don't use any gel in my hair. In all seriousness some of the questions have been pretty thought provoking but none more than the following-"Why did you want to be a State Officer" Now I had answered this question numerous times while running for state office however it felt a little bit different coming from an FFA student. In all honesty I hadn't thought about that question much since I ran. I took a few seconds and then I began to give my answer feeling the same passion I had felt while running for state office. After that chapter visit I had thought about why I ran for state office and then for the first time since I was elected I evaluated myself, had I been living up to the reason I ran? You see there is a reason we do everything but we don't always take the time to see what that reason is. During the course of this year we are going to hear a lot about "Live Your Why" as that is this years state theme. This means we have to evaluate why we do what we do. Then we have to live that why through everything that we do. You see I shouldn't just feel the passion of why I ran when I answer that question, I should feel it with everything I do. We need to radiant with the passion of "why". I promise you that this year I will ALWAYS continue to remember my why and live it out with EVERYTHING I do. Now I challenge you to find your why and shine that onto everything you do.

Sincerely,
Sam Pinchart

The "Little Things"
Sep. 04, 2017

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hey there Wisconsin FFA! How was your summer? I hope it was as fun and memorable as mine has been! From BLAST OFF to Jag Lake, the time has flown by! It's September, we all know what that means..SCHOOL! I keep seeing Facebook memes about how horrible, tragic, and sad the first day of school will be. It's strange to know I felt that horrible, tragic, and sad way 365 days ago; and now it's over. I can't help but reflect on my years in High School and as an FFA member and how I wish I could go back in time and cherish more of the “little things in life.”

Some of my most memorable moments about High School were FFA, not just the events, leadership conferences, or workshops; but the memories made with my best friends. Im sure we all share some of the same feelings: the excitement you get from leaving school early to get on a bus and trek to a conference or Workshop. We share the anxious feelings as we unload off the buses at the State CDE judging contest in Madison. As FFA members, we share the memories life chats on long car rides or in ag classes.

Now, as I wish my best FFA buddies off to college, I can't help but have a bittersweet feeling knowing we won't be adventuring through life side-by-side. We sit in restaurant booths with steamy mugs of coffee and share the “little things” about FFA we are going to miss. We never took the time to truly cherish every memory created in High school, and sometimes as FFA members. I hope and challenge everyone of us to make memories as FFA members and never forget about the “little things in life.”

I am so excited to see all of you at Sectional Leadership Workshops and FIRE Conferences! If you have questions, or need my assistance, don’t hesitate to email me at eriley@wisconsinffa.org! I hope everyone has a great first day of school and a successful school year!

With Love and Happiness,

Elisha Riley
WI FFA State Treasurer
Section 8

Take a Chance
Sep. 03, 2017

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hey Wisconsin FFA!
I Can’t believe it already September! School is already started and summer has just flown bye so fast! Seems like just yesterday it was mid-June and I was entering interviews with nervous excitement and a hopeful heart.

As an FFA member I have always looked up to State Officers and idolized them to the highest degree. I never really took the time to think of all the opportunities and chances they took within the organization to help make them the person and leader they are. Looking back, I am pretty sure I thought they were born with the leadership, speaking and organizational skills that helped them lead Wisconsin Association of FFA. Later in high school I realized that every opportunity in our organization was a “chance” to grow and develop ourselves into the role we want to play in the world. FFA has so many chances for us to develop our skills to fit our dreams. I took those chances to helping me to follow my dream of being a State Officer and an Agricultural Educator.

Through the National FFA Organization we are given so many chances and grow ourselves and as leaders. Chances like Conferences, Sectional Leadership Workshops and Career Development Events help us as FFA members grow us to fit the roles so we can live our dreams.

Take a chance this school year!
With love,
Kathryn Lampi

Back to Class
Aug. 29, 2017

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

Sam Js School Survival guide

It’s that time of year again! I remember my senior year, getting ready for my, “last first day” getting back to school always brings mixed feelings. As you head into this next year try and remember some of these tips that got me through middle and high school!

Organization- This one is difficult and was always hard for me, but if you can stay organized it will make everything easier. Empty your backpack and keep it filled with only the essentials, keep your locker organized and most importantly, wherever you choose to do your homework make sure it is organized and free of distractions.

Get into a routine- Having a routine helps to make sure everything gets done efficiently and helps to prevent procrastinating. For me, this was making sure I was in the barn by 4:55 every morning, that way I always started my day on schedule and didn’t fall behind!

Study buddy- If you have a challenging class, find some study buddies. Not copy buddies, but friends whom you can work out challenging problems with. This was how I was able to survive AP Calculus.

Stay busy- There is nothing like middle/ high school, make sure you enjoy it and make the most of every moment. Spend time with friends and try new things together, you never know where they will take you. Challenge yourself and remember your time there is short, so don't dread it, enjoy it!

I’m excited to see many of you at SLWs and chapter visits! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions @ sjesse@wisconsinffa.org! And enjoy the picture of my very first day of school :)

Ever Grateful. Ever True
Aug. 26, 2017

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello Wisconsin FFA! I hope you all are having an amazing summer and are ready to take on this coming school year! Every summer seems to fly by, especially this one. With every summer, I have learned to be grateful for the time and experiences I had.

“Ever grateful. Ever True. All hail our ole Purdue”, like UW-Madison’s “On Wisconsin”, these are the infamous words of Purdue University’s fight song. After my first year as a boilermaker, these words have stuck with me. As I go into each new adventure in life whether that is going to college, being a state officer or starting a new job, I am “ever grateful and ever true”. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and will pledge to be true to my values, my roots, and myself.

It is easy to focus on the negatives like there are only a couple more days of summer or having to work all summer long and not being able to spend time with family or friends. I know I used to think like this but, the glass is always half full. Even if the summer seemed short, what did we do? Even if we were busy all summer long, think of the new people we met, think of all the experiences we have had and the memories that we made. By being happy and grateful for each adventure, we will be happier overall and more likely to stay true to ourselves. “Ever grateful. Ever True” are the words that I chose to live by. What are yours?

I hope you enjoy your last few days of summer and I challenge you to find and embrace words to live by (and to always Live Your Why)!

With a grateful heart,
Liz Grady

Jag Lake-A Hidden Treasure
Aug. 22, 2017

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

Holy smokes! The first part of August from State Fair to Jag Lake, time has truly flown by. You might be reading this wondering what is Jag Lake. If you were like me, you might have thought it was a camp for State Officers. This is the exact opposite! In fact, this hidden treasure is the perfect place for any chapter retreat during the summer. Jag Lake offers the perfect opportunity to bond with any officer team and plan a year full of activities!

The state officer team used our opportunity at Jag Lake to plan and finalize details for Sectional Leadership Workshop, FIRE Conference, and newsletters. The team is excited to showcase our workshops, speeches, and send out our newsletters. This atmosphere was the perfect balance for us to relax, enjoy the lake, and accomplish our goals. Not only did we do this, but it gave our team a chance to get to know each other and more about our experiences. I cannot say enough about my experience at Jag Lake and I recommend this for any chapter looking to escape to the great outdoors! When planning your next chapter retreat, keep this special place in mind.

This was my first time at Jag Lake and I have some advice for those who have never been.
1. Do not run, you will trip and fall, and skin your knee, just like me.
2. Bring bug spray!
3. Enjoy the scenery, bring fishing poles, and swimsuit.
4. Have fun!

As always, please contact me with any questions at mfitzsimmons@wisconsinffa.org. I hope everyone’s summers are winding down quietly and I can’t wait to see many of you this fall!

Singing out from Section Four,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

The Adventures we Might Take!
Aug. 18, 2017

Ciara Koboski - Vice President
Black River Falls FFA Chapter
Section 3

For the past three weeks my team and I had an adventure. Our adventure started off at the Wisconsin State Fair. Where we worked with many members in the Discovery Barnyard and were able to visit with the band and choir members. As a team we even took turns working with younger students at the Veggie Races.

Our adventure didn’t stop there though after two week of new adventures at State Fair we travel north to Bolder Junction. In Bolder Junction this is where you can find the FFA Camp Jag Lake. A week of team bonding I will never forget. The trip there was and adventure in itself. We left the last night of State Fair and headed to Fond Du Lac, WI. Where we stayed the night before we headed to the camp. When going down the driveway to Jag Lake we hit many puddles.

Arriving at Jag Lake I had no idea what to expect. This was a place of beauty, fun and joy. There were canoes to go on the Lake with and as a team we traveled to the Island in the middle. Some of our team members went and bought fishing pulls so that we could fish on the lake. I decided to try something new and adventure a canoe with one team mate and while he fished I swam near the boat. We then adventure into an area with many lily pads. The views were beautiful and the work we accomplished as a team was amazing. During this year try something new, you never know the outcome may surprise you.

Hold on Tight
Aug. 13, 2017

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hey there Wisconsin FFA! I hope everyone is having a great summer and looking forward to the upcoming school year! As the summer is quickly coming to an end I just wanted to give you all an update on some of the adventures that have been had!

It is currently the last day of the State Fair, and over the course of these past two weeks I have had the pleasure of helping educate others about vegetables, ear notching, and animal health! I have also closed a huge chapter of my life by exhibiting cattle for the very last time as a Junior exhibitor at the Wisconsin State Fair, and along with that was a realization of a very valuable life lesson.

The picture above is one I haven’t been able to stop thinking about over the past few days. It was taken 11 years ago, minutes after I said goodbye to my very first steer at the County Fair. It has served as a constant reminder to always hold tight to the things that make you who you are. In the past 11 years there have been a million memories, thousands of miles, and hundreds of reasons to feel so blessed to have grown up showing cattle. Showing cattle has taught me so many life lessons that have made me who I am today.

The most important is realizing that the outcome of what occurs in the show ring will never compare to the people standing at the rail of that ring. The parents, brothers, sisters, Advisors, 4-H Leaders, and mentors are all the people who push you to be not only a better showman, but person at the end of each and every day. Those are the ones you hold tight too, because the time will always pass but the people you meet along the way are what make you who you are.

So as you jump into this upcoming school year I challenge you to keep in mind the opportunities that are presented to you. Sometimes they are disguised as a school project, hobby, extracurricular activity, speaking contest, or judging event. No matter what they are I hope you realize the people you meet within these opportunities. These people will be the ones to push you, motivate you, and serve as a constant reminder to always hold tight to the things that make you who you are.

With a full heart,
Brooke Brantner

We Must Always...
Aug. 12, 2017

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

Wisconsin FFA, how’s the last month of summer? Not only is summer coming to an end but so is State Fair! These past ten days have been full of vegetables, piglets, and loads of fun. I’ve learned a lot this summer and it has been a whirlwind of events. However, throughout the whole beginning of state office and especially throughout state fair, I have continued to realize how important it is to be kind.

One of my favorite movies of all time is the newest Cinderella movie from Disney. When Cinderella’s mom passes away, she tells her daughter to always “have courage, and be kind.” This saying can be used in our everyday lives. When working with those who do not know about agriculture or those who have different opinions as you, you may be tested with some challenges. However, we must remember that it is always important to stay kind.

Now that the summer is coming to an end and the school year is fast approaching, this is a great time to work on our skill of being kind! Whether it’s a student sitting alone at lunch, or a new FFA member not sure what they can do, I encourage you to take the challenge of having courage, and being kind in order to reach out and make others feel comfortable. Cinderella accepted people as they were and befriended whoever she met. She was not discouraged through her situation, and she kept having courage and was always kind.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and let us all remember the importance of having courage, and always being kind!

With love and kindness,
Meikah Dado

Look to Learn
Aug. 08, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter
President

Hey Wisconsin FFA! We’re checking in at the half way point of the Wisconsin State Fair, and so far our time here has been nothing short of spectacular! My teammates and I have all loved running Veggie Races and working in the Discovery Barnyard so far!

Today I worked by the sows and little piglets in the Discovery Barnyard and taught fairgoers about ear notching. At this station, we give people paper plate pigs to color a pig face on, and then we talk about how and why farmers ear notch pigs by notching their paper plate pig’s ears.

Now, I’ve worked at this station a few times throughout the fair, and every time there has been at least a handful of children, and often their parents too, that absolutely LOVE learning about ear notching from us – and today was no exception. There was this one dad in particular who was blown away by this concept of ear notching for identification! He even asked me to show and explain it to him again so he made sure he knew how the numbering worked. Before he left, he looked at me with the biggest smile and proudly said, “I learned something new today!”

You know, I taught this man a lesson on ear notching pig, but honestly, he taught me something even more valuable. He taught me about learning.

This man came up to what he probably thought was simply a coloring station for children, but that didn’t stop him from looking for an opportunity to listen and learn. We can all learn from the simplest things, even while we’re enjoying a fun day at the fair or at a children’s activity about pigs. When we take a minute to stop and look around or even reflect for a moment, we can learn something from the things around us or the situation we’re in. Just like this man, we can look to learn everywhere we go.

He not only taught me how to look to learn, but he also reminded me how exciting learning really can be! Maybe he did have a breakthrough moment about ear notching, but what really stood out was how excited he was to learn something new. We learn each and every day, but when we take a second to appreciate learning – that’s when it becomes valuable, and that’s when it gets exciting! Just like him, we can maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the little things in life, like learning something new.

This excited fairgoer is such a great reminder for all of us to get excited about learning and strive to learn something new each day!

Keep looking to learn,
Ciera

Yay Ethanol!
Aug. 04, 2017

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hi Wisconsin FFA! While we are only finishing out the second official day of the Wisconsin State Fair, the state officers have already been pretty busy helping out at the Discovery Barn and Veggie Races. This morning, I had the opportunity to help run veggie races, where fairgoers can choose a car made of vegetables to race and cheer for while also learning about vegetables and Wisconsin’s agriculture industry.

During the veggie races, we get to ask fairgoers what their veggie car “runs on,” before the race begins. This is one of my favorite questions to ask, as I get so many creative answers! As a group of racers, we choose what to shout so that the veggie cars will run. Some veggie cars ran on shouts of “Go Veggies Go!” or “Potato Power!” But my favorite thing that some fairgoers’ cars ran on was ethanol. This morning during my veggie races shift, Morgan and I got to shout “Yay ethanol!” with one of the first groups of racers as their leeks, potatoes, and corn bolted down (some more successfully than others) the Veggie 500 Track. The best part was, when I got to ‘interviewing’ the next group of racers, they asked to shout “Yay ethanol!” because they had felt the excitement that filled the area. This meant that I got to yell excitedly about ethanol not once, but twice. Making up these fun chants made my shift at veggie races fly by, because the fairgoers shared my energy!

We can get exhausted from the long days and short nights that come with fair week, classes, and extracurricular activities throughout the year. It’s sometimes hard to refill that enthusiasm after long hours, when it seems that our race through fair week, finals, or a competition will never end. But if we can remember what we “run on” – what refuels our energy and enthusiasm for what we are working on – our focus can keep us enjoying all that the race has to offer. And what we run on helps others find something to run on, too: just like the second group of racers was excited about ethanol because the group before had been.

As we move out of fair season and begin to head back to school in the coming month, never be afraid to remind yourself what you run on, even if it means shouting “Yay ethanol!” with a group of 6 year olds to fill the room with energy. We never know who might be inspired by our enthusiasm. Be it at Sectional Leadership Workshops, National Convention, or a chapter visit, I can’t wait to see all of you this fall & to find out what Wisconsin FFA members run on!

Enjoying all that the race has to offer,
Amelia


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