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Officer Profiles

Roller Coaster Road
Jan. 16, 2019

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

There’s this road near my house called Roller Coaster Road. Seriously, that’s what everyone calls it! We call it that because it is so hilly. As you drive down the road, you accelerate up the hills, let up on the gas as you reach the top, and feel your stomach drop as you head down the hill. You know that feeling? The one you get on roller coasters, when the elevator goes down too fast, or when you drive down a hilly road? I have always absolutely loved that stomach drop feeling – as a kid and now! Over the years of driving Roller Coaster Road, I’ve learned a few things about getting the best stomach drop feeling and getting the most out of driving the road.


1) I remember when I was little, one of my friend’s moms was driving us down the road. As we approached the turn onto it, she announced that all passengers should “keep their hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times until the ride’s conclusion.” We giggled as she continued making operator-style comments throughout the drive. Rather than simply driving down Roller Coaster Road, she enhanced our experience with the announcements about being on a real roller coaster. And because of it, we enjoyed the ride. Enjoy the ride by enjoying every moment. How can you appreciate the little things in your life to enjoy the ride?

2) For me, driving down the road going north is wayyyy better than driving down the road south. You get more stomach drop feelings, there’s practically more hills, and the slopes are just perfect. One direction is just better than the other. Sometimes, I feel like life is like that, too. It can seem like one direction, one thing you’re doing, has everything that another direction or choice would have, as well. But then, one direction is quite simply better. Even though it shouldn’t be like that, it is. Take time to pick a direction for your life that you love. Then, rather than comparing directions & lives with others, enjoy the direction you’re headed.

3) So Roller Coaster Road isn’t actually the road’s name. It’s called “Alden Road.” And from one end of it, you would never know what was in store on your journey down the road. A lot of times, we don’t know where our journey will lead. There’s no way to control the end outcome or make sure everything happens perfectly. But as I reflect on the many times I have traveled down Alden Road, it isn’t the end of it that I love: it’s the journey.

So enjoy your journey. And if you ever happen to be near the Southeastern Wisconsin-Illinois boarder, take a journey down Roller Coaster Road.

Enjoying every moment,
Amelia

Who do We Inspire?
Jan. 13, 2019

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

This week at half-time the state officer team challenged the participants to think about we will bring home from this conference. Workshops regarding community service, passing the torch between officer teams, getting our members involved in state convention and how we can build our supervised agricultural experience all talked about what actions we can take in our own chapters. The leaders at this conference did a spectacular job brainstorming what they will do at home to improve their chapters.

This was not only a refreshing weekend for chapter leaders but I was also refreshed. When the question of whether or not to run for state office comes about, one reason we all decide run is the potential to make an impact in an organization and industry we have grown fond of. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at times with the tasks at hand and trying to juggle multiple aspects of our lives. No matter if we are on the chapter level or state level, sometimes we all need a refresher on why we serve.

As I spent this weekend working with members from across the state, I felt re-energized; seeing members excited about change, about bettering their chapters and communities, and about being involved in this organization, was a reminder of why I serve. Thank you to all of you who were present this weekend, who volunteered to speak, who smiled as we passed each other in the hallway and danced your heart out. You may not have thought about the impact you had on me but you reminded me of how wonderful our organization truly is.

You inspired me without even knowing, who else can we inspire with our drive and passion?

Thank You!

Emily

Time Flies
Jan. 08, 2019

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Time flies as some may say and that resonates right now. As we look back it has been 7 months since state convention and it has been quite the year so far. From seeing members at conferences and chapter visits it has been amazing to see what Wisconsin FFA members can accomplish.

Now looking forward we have 5 months until the next state convention, that means 5 more months of you doing amazing things. We have Half-time conference this weekend to kickstart the next half of the year. As we start this second half of the year, where does your chapter hope to go? What activities do you have coming up? As we think about these questions let’s remember a couple things, we only have a select few years to wear the blue jacket, we already have one half of the year down, and we can do anything we set our minds to.

As we are halfway through the year things may be getting tough and that’s ok because not everything is going to be easy. Find ways to overcome those obstacles that you may be facing as the greatest things come after a challenge. We have made it halfway through so now we are able to see what we can accomplish and if you say nothing well that is what the second half is for, you can change that nothing into something. Make sure to set your sights on something and set out to see it through to the end.

We have 5 more months Wisconsin FFA to make a difference and we are on the right path so far.

As always if you need anything let me know, I am here for you!

Until next time,

Sarah Calaway

New Year, New Us
Jan. 03, 2019

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Its Friday, December 21st, you finish your final quiz in your final class of 2018, you get home and plop down on the couch. Your next two weeks are full of food and presents and nothing else to do but watch "Elf" at least a dozen times. Suddenly, you look up from your three-hour Instagram scrolling session to see that 2019 is upon us.

Where did our time go?

Did we accomplish anything?

How did we eat that much cheese?

Here we are today, picking up right where we left off that Friday so long ago. Back to the grindstone. In this new year, some of us are trying to get better through New Year Resolutions. However, a healthy majority of us are sticking to the “Same old, same old.” Although we may be comfortable, I strongly believe that none of us are living a perfect life.
So, is today the day we start living our perfect lives?

You’re welcome to try, but I like to look at things a little differently. If we try to live our perfect lives starting today, most of us will fail by February. You probably saw “New Year, New Me!” at least once while you were scrolling this break. This doesn’t have to mean “New me starting now.” Instead, it can mean we have 365 days to make small changes that help lead us down better paths.

Here is an example. If my goal was to run a six-minute mile, I could start today by sprinting for about two minutes, and then collapse in defeat. Instead, I can start by jogging a mile three times a week. I would take my average time and subtract 10 seconds, that would become my goal for the next week. In three months, I’ll be at my final goal.

Everyone wants immediate results for future goals. In reality, there is only immediate work for future results. For 2019, I challenge you all to set small goals every day on ways you want to get better. I guarantee that when 2020 hits, you will see those results.

Best of Luck in 2019, we are all rooting for you!

Sincerely,

Mitchell Schroepfer

New Year, New Goal, Better You
Jan. 01, 2019

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas break spent with family and friends! As we kick off the new year heading back to school and work some things might be different than they were before Christmas. For some might have new clothes or gadgets they received for Christmas, some might bring the leftover treats to snack on throughout the day, but one thing that will be different for all of us is writing the date. It usually takes me about two weeks before I finally start writing the correct year at the end of the date. Why could this be? Why is it that every new year, most people struggle to write the correct year when writing the date? Maybe because it became a habit, or a tradition you could say.

Another tradition some people make when we start a new year is a New Year’s resolution. The start of New Year’s resolutions dates back some 4,000 years ago to the ancient Romans who made promises to their gods that they would return any borrowed items and pay their debts. These New Year’s resolutions have evolved with time and the most common resolutions for 2018 were, eating healthier, getting more exercise and saving money. Now these resolutions can be wonderful things if you keep them, but how many of you know someone who loses their New Year’s resolution within the first day, week or even month of the new year? Studies show that 90.8 percent of people lose their New Year’s resolutions, leaving a small 9.2 percent who achieve them.

Sticking to your New Year’s resolution can be hard for some of us while others find it easy. A New Year’s resolution is a promise you make to yourself to become better. Looking back at everything you did in 2018 what can you do to make yourself better? Maybe you need to study more for school and extracurriculars like FFA, 4-H and Forensics or maybe you need to set technology aside and spend more time being present in the moment. Maybe these examples don’t match what you need to do to become better but take the time to find out what does match.

We all have the potential of being the best, so what are we waiting for? In my book you are never too late to set a goal to become better. Let’s all create a New Year’s resolution that we can fulfill and practice every day from now on so that way we can be the best we can be for ourselves and for those around us.

If you need any help throughout the new year please let me know, I would love to help! As always you can call, Facebook message or email me.

Happy New Year,
Jillian Tyler

It's The Little Things...
Dec. 23, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Merry Christmas! I hope you all will have the chance to catch up with family and friends over the holiday break and earn some time to recharge and refresh for the new year!

In lieu of the holiday spirit, I found myself feeling less “Christmassy” than ever before this year. Between being busy with FFA duties, worried about the endless to-do list that never seems to get completely done, and just trying to find a little time to myself, it seemed that the holiday season had sprung upon me. Just last weekend, I realized that Christmas was less than 2 weeks away, and I had barely even begun shopping for the friends and family on my list. Even those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies I know we all LOVE to watch were doing nothing to get me into the holiday mindset. Why did Christmas feel so sudden and forced? Why did I not have an ounce of excitement in me for the upcoming enjoyable holidays?

The truth is this: we all can get caught up in the daily to-do list of our lives, without even taking the time to enjoy the simple, small things, such as a morning cup of coffee or enjoying a family meal after a long school day and sports practice. I have found that by taking a step back and focusing time on the little things, such as reading my favorite book or baking and frosting Christmas cookies with my mom and sister, I am now back into the holiday spirit and am ready for all that Christmas and the upcoming new year has to offer!

So now that we have some time to ourselves, let’s focus on where we can go from here. What little things can you start doing in order to help you bring that “Christmassy” spirit into your life all year long? For some, it might be spending more time with family and friends, and for others, it might be starting a goal to live a healthier lifestyle. As FFA members, we can find that spirit all year long through service projects, volunteering, and the chance to better ourselves through leadership opportunities. When we are given the chance to help others, we also set ourselves up for success and can enjoy the little things more fully and deeply.

Now let’s try to find that Christmas spirit all year long! Be kind, be helpful, and be ready to enjoy the little things in all that you do. Embrace the next few days spent with loved ones and eating lots of food and Christmas cookies, and take the time to reflect on how blessed we are to celebrate this wonderful season! Please do not hesitate to reach out anytime if you ever have any questions! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you all are looking forward to what 2019 will bring!

Enjoy the little things,
Ashley

Nursing Home Narratives
Dec. 17, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy December everyone,

The holiday season brings a sense of family to all we spend our time with. Celebrating our beliefs, giving back to our community, or bringing in the new year with those we care about, time of the year is bursting with love for the people in our lives. Thankfully, I was able to share a little piece of this community atmosphere when I trekked down to spend an afternoon with the Oregon FFA making Christmas ornaments with residents of their local nursing home.

As we entered, the staff helped usher some of the residents to our work room, I found myself milling around socializing with some of the residents who had entered. In the beginning, many had apathetic looks on their faces, accustomed to having guests come to make crafts or sing Christmas carols. However, as we ran through talk about the weather and what group we all were with, one question seemed to take small talk to a full-blown conversation:

“So, what brought you to living in Oregon?”

After this, what was once apathy turned to excitement and engagement. One gentleman proudly shared his story of being a farmhand and moving to Oregon for work. One woman shared how she was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Oregon when she married and her first experience with snow. Others were waitresses, businessmen, or full out Elvis Presley lovers. No matter who I talked to that day, asking for their story lit them up and brought up the best stories- stories of love, pride, excitement, and more.

What brought you to where you are? Do you take pride in the story that you have yet unfolding? These individuals did wholeheartedly. They took pride in the story of who they are, what experiences shaped their worldview, and the life they had lived. Not a single person was shy to share who they were, what brought them to where they were sitting right now.

We, too, can hold onto the story of what makes us who we are. Whether we are proud of our rural background, or excited to share that agriculture class that brought us to be a part of the story of agriculture. Those experiences that make me, me, and that make you, you, are what we can hold onto our whole lives. As we work with others, in the classroom, in our communities, or with other supporters of agriculture, we can share this spark. Hold onto your story.

Live passionately,

Gaelan

What Do Your Rings Look Like?
Dec. 16, 2018

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas is right around the corner! Houses are decorated with various colors of festive lights, sweat treats are a part of every meal, and gifts for loved ones are beginning to pile up under the Christmas tree. If your family is anything like mine, then you’ve had your tree up since black Friday (my birthday) and the final ornaments in the perfect spot. Though my family has an artificial tree, while putting it up this year reminded me of a very cool message that can be taken away from these popular Christmas staples.
Have you ever cut down a tree and looked closely at the rings in the trunk? In most species, a tree will add a ring to the trunk for each year of its life, and each ring shows the key factors of survival and tracks the development of that tree throughout the past year. For example, if there was a drought that year, the rings would be close together because it wasn’t able to receive as many nutrients. On the other hand, if there was a big year for rain, the tree would have grown more, so that year’s ring would be farther apart.
I feel that each of us has internal rings that develop just like those of a tree. When I look at my tree rings, they are shinning bright with the passion I’ve found for FFA. As a freshman in high school, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my siblings in becoming an FFA member. At the time, I had no idea of the impact this organization would have on my future and how much of a mark agriculture would make on my life. My tree rings have only continued to grow even stronger throughout my year of service to FFA.
We add so much to ourselves in a year. Layers and layers of strength, growth, and character are being built up in us all the time. We may not even realize how much something that someone said, or something we did can affect us, until we actually take the time to look back at the tree rings inside of us.

Happy Holidays,
Amber

Looking Back
Dec. 12, 2018

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hi Everyone,

With chapter visits complete and Checkpoint #2 Training in the books, this week marks the first in quite some time where an FFA event isn’t found on my calendar. Now, there’s certainly plenty of FFA related items on my to-do list, but for me, the “week off” means plenty of quality time spent working on the farm. It’s been quite a change of pace in my routine and a slightly different work environment to say the least! Going from interacting with 100 or more students in a school day to maybe encountering a total of 3 or 4 people daily out on the farm has definitely been a changeup. But, as I do occasionally, I got to thinking. And as I got to thinking about my unique week, I realized just how fast chapter visit season flew by.

It seems like yesterday I was given the task of visiting the 25 FFA chapters in Section 3. I can vividly remember the classic, “Oh my, how am I going to handle that?!” feeling. And 3 short months later, here I am looking back thinking, “Wow, where did they all go?”. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun my chapter visit experience was! The conversations I had and the connections I made with FFA members from across my section are memories I am forever grateful for. I came to realize just how special it was to have the opportunity to directly impact the lives of other students through my chapter visit experience. But why did it take me until chapter visits were over to come to that realization?

You see, often times, we never truly understand the value of our experiences until they become memories. We tend to get so caught up with “what’s next” in our lives that we hit cruise control and forget to celebrate the present moments. Sometimes it takes a look to the past to fully appreciate what we’ve accomplished.

As our FFA experiences continue to grow as we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, let’s not forget to live in the present and appreciate the progress we make with every moment. But let’s also make sure to take time to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a jingle. I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season spent with family and friends!

Take Care,
Collin

Finding the Good
Dec. 09, 2018

Paige Nelson - Secretary
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hey there everyone!

Most say it is the most wonderful time of the year; we celebrate the holidays with friends, family, food, gifts, traditions, and more! If you are like me you look forward to all those things, but living in Wisconsin we all know that snow, ice, and the pesky wind come along with all that good stuff.

In the winter, I often find myself longing for warmer days. Are there times when you wish for warm weather too? Maybe we are all guilty of wishing time away so we can hurry up and get to whatever it is we are looking forward to.

The other night I was riding in the car wishing I could be at home already in my pjs watching a movie or hanging out with my family where it was cozy and warm. It was a particularly cold night and while I was being grumpy about the cold I noticed the snow looked like glitter sprinkled over the fields, trees, and whatever else it covered. It was beautiful, and completely changed my mood. Growing up my mom had always told me "you can tell it is really cold when the snow looks like glitter," all of a sudden I appreciated the cold a little more.

Similarly, my mood was changed this morning while driving. Everything had a beautiful layer of frost from the fog I was so excited to drive in the night before. These were just two little reminders to me that we can find the good in situations and our attitude may change. I can assure you I am still not a fan of the cold winter months, but I have a little more tolerance and appreciation after those two reminders of how beautiful winter can be. Maybe I don't want winter to be over quite yet.

Are there times where you could find the good in situations? Would finding the good allow you to live more in the moment? Maybe you would be better able to appreciate the little things by finding good in everything. Everyday can be the most wonderful time of the year if we find the good, stop wishing away our time and allow it to be beautiful and wonderful.

Wonderful Wishes,

Paige

Holiday Cheer
Dec. 05, 2018

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey there everyone!

With the holiday season in full swing, I hope you are enjoying your time with friends, family, and studying a bit for all those tests you have before the break. This week, I got to spend some time with my FFA family as we started to plan for the second half of the year.

First item of business was the Halftime Conference. We are so ready to put on a great conference this year for all of you! The theme is Agents of Change, with a dance theme of Blackout. Come prepared, it’s going to be wild. We also got to see our favorite National FFA Facilitator, the one and only Wyatt Shaw.

This was Wyatt's last time in Wisconsin with us, making our last training session bittersweet. We made sure to give him a good Wisconsin Christmas before he left. We went to Jill’s, our section 7 officer, home and had Christmas dinner and gift exchange. We sent him back home to Oklahoma with cheese curds, lots of Wisconsin FFA themed items, and hopefully a few memories. We can’t thank him enough for the skills and life lessons he shared with us throughout our training sessions.

I want to send a huge thank you to all of you for the first half of this year. I have loved every moment of it and it’s been you members and advisors that have made it great! You keep doing what you’re doing out there because you all are doing great things. Keep growing, keeping learning, and keep being awesome. I hope you have an amazing holiday season! Hold your family and friends close and if you need anything, don’t be a stranger!

Catch you later,
Alexis

What it Means to Wear Blue
Dec. 03, 2018

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

The blue corduroy jacket. This piece of clothing tends to generate many questions when I have visited high schools. From staff to students, I’ve heard multiple comments on it:

“Do you wear THAT every day?”
“When are you going to catch up with the
times?”
“I did not know corduroy jackets were still
around!”

Those are only a few of the comments I have received on our jacket. Although corduroy may not be the most “in” item, corduroy is full of tradition. Items that are labelled as “in” eventually go “out of style”, our jackets have been a part of our official dress since 1933. There have been so many changes throughout the past 85 years, but our pride in our organization has not changed.

Maybe a fancy blazer is more common, but we are not trying to be common. We are leaders, progressive agriculturists, the future workforce and part of a tradition that continues to grow. We represent those who came before us and lay more groundwork for those who will follow.

There are times that I get shivers when I put on my blue jacket. Shivers from the magnified feelings of pride, confidence and hope. This jacket is not only an article of clothing but it is our organization’s traditions, present and future in one. We are FFA and proud of our organization

Wear your blue with pride!

Emily

Stuff That Bus
Dec. 02, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Happy December! As we enter the winter months, there are often lots of volunteering opportunities for us in our communities – as we prepare for this, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on experiences I’ve had and what we can learn from them.

Recently, I volunteered at a “Stuff the Bus” event. We wore our ugly sweaters and talked to customers at the local grocery store, inviting them to donate canned goods or purchase a pre-packaged bag filled with items that the food pantry needed. Afterwards, we rode the bus across town and unloaded a whole bus load of food at the pantry! Then, it needed to be sorted. Canned vegetables. Pasta. Soap. Tuna. Canned fruit. Everything has a box, and then the boxes are stacked up on the shelves to make it sort of “store-like.”

While unloading the bus takes a while, it is this sorting process that takes the longest. I’ve volunteered at this event for many years, and there are a few things that seem to challenge us.

1)There’s a lot of people in a small space.
2)The people who work at the food pantry know where everything is, and the FFA members volunteering don’t always know where it all goes.
3)The pre-packaged bags have all the same stuff, but there are always a few extra donations that throw off our rhythm, because we don’t have a box for that.

From those challenges, there are a few things I have learned about service.
1)There are a lot of people who want to volunteer. Sometimes, this can be hard because all those people aren’t quite sure where to start. As FFA members and supporters, one role we can take is to help provide opportunities for all those people. Invite more people to participate in your chapter’s events to learn more about what FFA does in your community. Bring a friend to the next service event you attend.
2)Sometimes, you won’t know everything about the needs around you. Maybe you won’t know where stuff needs to go, who is in charge, or what your exact role is. Find a way to contribute what you know how to do. If you know where the canned beans are being sorted to, make that you mission to sort all the canned beans. If you are good at working with children, sign up for stations at events where there are a lot of kids. You can use your knowledge and strengths to better help other people.
3)It may seem like those strengths don’t fit into a “box.” Just like we had some extra donations beyond our boxed categories that threw off our rhythm, we may sometimes think that our extra talents are out of place and actually just disrupt things more. And it’s not true. You bring something to the table that is unique, workable, and can help to make each service project more impactful.

This season, as you take advantage of ways to volunteer in your community, remember to find the people who want to help, find ways to use your knowledge and strengths, and to serve others in small ways.

Happy serving,
Amelia

Leaders for All
Nov. 26, 2018

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Again Everyone,

With the Thanksgiving break behind us and the end of the fall semester coming up fast I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my chapter visit thus far. My time with our members has been one full of memories made and lessons learned. Although most of my time has been spent cheery and light-hearted, there have been moments that have required a more solemn attitude. One of these moments has repeated itself more than once.

During an activity in which students reflect on leaders in their lives, I have had several students share that they have no leaders to look up to. There are so many emotions that come forth all at once, but this unfortunate truth leaves me speechless every time.

I bring this up after Thanksgiving because I want all of us to remember and be thankful for the leaders that helped us get here today. Some of us may take these leaders for granted, I know I have, but I hope we all take this opportunity to appreciate their impact.

Finally, for those of you looking for a leader, don’t be afraid to start with your chapter advisor. If you aren’t comfortable there, strive to be your own leader, there is no reason you can’t be a role model for others and yourself. I challenge you to be the best that you can be.

Thanks again and take care,

Mitchell

Give Thanks Today and Every Day
Nov. 22, 2018

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

It’s no secret that we seem to be hearing Christmas songs being played over the radio earlier and earlier every year. Even before Halloween, stores were advertising Christmas candies and TV shows were revealing “How to Score the Perfect Holiday Gift”. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love decorating with lights outside, putting up the Christmas tree, and sipping hot chocolate after a cold day. But, sometimes when we get so wound up in Christmas excitement, we tend to overlook a very special holiday: Thanksgiving!
We need to take a step back and realize how great Thanksgiving really is! It is so exciting every year to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or Football in the morning while you smell all the delicious food cooking that you are going to eat over the next few hours! But, thanksgiving is more than just food, fun parades, football, and shopping. It’s for spending time with family and reflecting on all of our great blessings.
It’s easy to forget how fortunate we all are to have houses to come home to, nutritious food on our dinner plates, schools to attend, and families that loves us unconditionally. The Thanksgiving holiday might only be celebrated one out of 365 days in a year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an attitude of gratitude every day!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Amber


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