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Officer Profiles

The Luck of the Irish
Mar. 17, 2019

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Growing up with my grandma being 100% Irish, St. Patrick’s Day has always been a big deal. My extended family gets together, wears a lot of green, and enjoys a traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from massive meals of corned beef and cabbage, the Irish are also known for green, shamrocks, and luck. That “luck of the Irish” reminds me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

The more work you’re putting in, the “luckier” you’ll seem. Whether your luck comes in the form of winning speaking competitions, having great show animals, being way funnier than the rest of your friends, or being the person who knows just about everyone and their brother, I’m sure that you’ve put in a lot of work towards that skill. It’s not necessarily always true, but I believe the harder you work at something, the better you’ll be, and the more luck you’ll have. What’s something that you want to be better at? Take whatever that thing is and set aside a certain number of minutes each week to work on that. The harder you work, the more luck you’ll seem to have. So on this St. Patrick’s Day, may you have “the luck of the Irish,” work hard to accomplish your goals, and find yourself a little better than you were yesterday.

Until next time,
Amelia

The Waiting Game
Mar. 12, 2019

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

The fact that it is March, seems incredibly unbelievable. I feel like it was not too long ago that I was waiting for the summer to fly by so that my team and I could travel to Washington D.C. or waiting for a long, relaxing nap after finishing up week three of sectional leadership workshops. Now that it is March and I see my teammates less and do not get to be in contact with as many members, I wish I had not spent my time waiting.

For most of us, this waiting time happens often: waiting for the end of the school day, waiting for the weekend, waiting for graduation. It is wonderful to get excited about the future, but when we wait for the future, we are losing out on the opportunities in the moment.

We have officially begun banquet season here in the FFA. These can be the best time to find motivation. We see the different opportunities our fellow members took throughout the year, hear of awards we can achieve, and set new goals for the upcoming year. Take a moment, after your banquet to jot down the ideas and activities that interested you, write your own personal goals. Doing this will serve as a reminder throughout the year of why we need to be committed in the moment. Be proactive in the moment.

Always grab onto opportunities and the small moments, appreciate those who surround us, and take every chance to strike up a conversation with someone new; Do not regret spending time waiting!

See you around,

Emily

Living to Serve
Mar. 10, 2019

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

As we come into the spring months with many contests presenting themselves let’s not forget the service projects that are there to help our communities. Many times, we commit ourselves to the contests we are in and forget to help those who are helping us get to the contests. Whether it is shoveling a driveway or packaging meals for those in need everything that our chapter can do will make a difference. One of my favorite things was being able to help out our community as without them I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I did throughout my time in the blue jacket. The most memorable event was being able to package meals that were sent to third world countries as that brought not only FFA members together but everyone in our school to help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than us.

Every year chapters around the state come together to make a difference not only in their communities but also at the Day of Service at state convention. Many of our chapters are getting involved in their chapters and making an impact on those around us. Chapters around the state are gearing up to package meals for the less fortunate. The meals packaged will either be shipped to countries more in need than America or used in their own communities to help those that need extra assistance. We are an association that truly lives for service and we are always looking for new ways to help out our communities. How is your chapter Living to Serve?

Until next time,
Sarah Calaway

Strength Through Cooperation
Mar. 06, 2019

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Paige, Amber, Emily, Gaelan, and I attended the Co-ops Yes! Conference on Monday and Tuesday. We had a chance to listen to Craig Hillier, a motivational and leadership speaker.

Since we were participants, I had the chance to work with a group of students for one of the activities. Craig asked us to share one of our strengths. The girl to my right spoke first and shared how she does well including others. Their eyes shifted to me and I shared my strength of working through awkward situations. And then we looked to the three boys to my left. They all turned amongst themselves as if politely waiting for someone else to share. Thirty seconds passed before it was officially awkward enough for me to step in. We started by talking about what they did at home, and one student was reminded of his strength as a hard worker. Then we talked about what they do in their free time, and another was reminded of his strength of being curious. And finally, we talked about their families, and the last student shared that his strength was caring for his siblings. It took some time and more encouragement than the other groups, but we got an answer from everyone. With everyone content with their answers, we moved on in the activity.

Maybe it takes you a while to name your strength, but I guarantee you’ll find one. Even if you think it’s natural, someone will find it valuable. Be proud of what makes you, you. And for this coming spring, I challenge you to add another strength to your typical list.

Good luck and I’ll be seeing you soon.
Thanks Again,
Mitchell

Let Your Future Shine Bright
Mar. 03, 2019

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

With FFA Week activities coming to a close, what next? Don’t worry there is always something to do in the FFA! I know some of you are feverishly studying for Sectional Leadership Development Events as all ten contests are in the few weeks ahead. Remember before going into your contest room take a deep breath, shake off the nerves and smile because you WILL rock it! No matter the outcome, you leave the contest a winner because you stepped out of your comfort zone and into the growth zone and you grew your public speaking and leadership skills taking them to the next level and that is something to be proud of.

I am guessing that a lot of you are already studying for Career Development Events, but if you aren’t I would talk to your advisor today to see if you can get signed up! Career Development Events were one of my favorite things to participate in during school. I loved being able to choose an area that I loved and run with it. During school I competed in numerous contests including the middle school Plant Science and Agriscience contests, Agricultural Communications, Food Science, Floriculture and Agricultural Education.

Another very important thing coming up is the Wisconsin FFA Foundation scholarship deadline. This scholarship is due on March 15 and should be mailed to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation in Madison. We are very fortunate in Wisconsin to have so many individuals and organizations that are willing to support us in post-secondary schooling that we as FFA members would be silly not to take advantage of these opportunities.

And one last thing that will be in the near future for many of us is chapter banquets. I know that my calendar is quickly filling up with different banquets to attend as are all of my ten teammates. If you are wondering what state officer is attending your chapter banquet you can take a look at our banquet schedules found on our webpages. More than likely your sectional officer will attend your banquet or a neighboring officer if there is a conflict, so starting out on your section page would be the best bet. If you notice that your chapter isn’t listed on a banquet schedule, then talk to your advisor to see if they have contacted a state officer about attending!

Good luck with all the upcoming contests and as always if you need anything at all, let me know. I am always happy to help!

Good luck,
Jillian Tyler

Doing Our Best
Feb. 24, 2019

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Wow! What a whirlwind this year’s National FFA Week has been! While many chapters will be celebrating their own festivities in the coming weeks due to the ACT test and shortened school weeks, I want to thank the FFA chapters who I had the privilege of seeing this week, specifically Wisconsin Dells, Adams-Friendship, Mauston, Poynette, Markesan, and Portage! I am looking forward to seeing many more of you in the coming weeks with more National FFA Week events, the Section 6 Leadership Development Event, leadership conferences, and Career Development Events!

While National FFA Week has been the main highlight in my schedule recently, I have also enjoyed getting to travel to numerous District Leadership Development Events in my section and throughout the state. The most recent contest that I attended was in New Lisbon, and it was wonderful getting to see all of the FFA members that I have worked with in District 18 during this year! One of my duties at District LDEs is moderating the Discussion Meet contest, and it has become a favorite duty of mine. Now while I was listening to FFA members discuss topics related to agriculture, I noticed a quote in the Discussion Meet contest room that caught my eye. “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

Recently, I have been feeling less than motivated to complete the tasks on my to-do list, and I know that many of us are stressed with deadlines, sports, FFA responsibilities, and so forth. Whenever I start to feel my motivation slipping away, I remember that quote that I saw in the New Lisbon high school. The work we put in today sets us up for a more successful tomorrow. Even if we feel like what we are doing is not enough, remember that it is unbelievable how “enough” we are to handle everything that life throws at us. It all starts by just completing one big thing a day, whether that be finishing a scholarship application, catching up on all of our homework assignments, or simply starting a book we have been meaning to read. When we start small and prepare today, we can change the course of our tomorrow and the rest of our lives to be the best we can be.

Doing our best today and all other days will set us up for a successful tomorrow and an incredible future. Stay disciplined, humble, and motivated, and great things will come your way! With that little bit of pep talk, I am excited for the busy week ahead! I hope you all have an awesome day and week being your very best, and please do not hesitate to reach out with anything!

Doing my best today for a better tomorrow,
Ashley

New Day, New Story to Share
Feb. 23, 2019

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy FFA week! This week is one of the most jam-packed times of the year, as we stuff our schedules with all sorts of activities to promote the FFA in our schools and communities. Luckily, I had the opportunity to join in on some of the fun section 5 has to offer! During the ride, I ran into a familiar face for many in the agriculture industry; Kaitlyn Riley, this year’s Alice in Dairyland, teamed up with local FFA chapters across Green county this week to promote agriculture in Wisconsin and promote the 2019 Alice in Dairyland crowning, hosted by Green County. Over my week, I shared two events with Kaitlyn, and grew to know her and the role of Alice in Dairyland for Wisconsin Agriculture.

One of the most interesting pieces of her story was what happens to an Alice after her year is “done”. Officially, the year ends when the next Alice is revealed, and the crown is passed on. However, she admitted that for weeks after, the old Alice in Dairyland continues to perform the duties of Alice, while the new Alice gets training on what the year will be like. After that year, former Alice’s continue to stay in contact, helping out with giving advice and even housing an Alice in need of a place to stay. Once their year ends, the work of supporting agriculture and the new Alice in Dairyland does not stop. This got me thinking: when does being an advocate for what I believe in “end”?

As FFA members, we have a finite amount of time to wear blue corduroy jackets. For an even smaller amount of time, this experience is thrown into the public spotlight with National FFA Week. We utilize this week to promote agriculture, the FFA, and ag classes so others know our story. But, after this week, when social media challenges quiet down, and publications about the FFA slow, our role as supporters of what we hold close to us doesn’t cease. Just as an Alice will help another Alice in need, it’s our duty to support the agriculture industry continually, not just during FFA week. From telling our story to the Culver’s worker that sees our blue jackets after an event, to promoting ag classes to new students, we have a role as supporters for agriculture education. What does your story sound like? How will you make your mark on the agriculture industry every single day?

Your Time to Shine
Feb. 22, 2019

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

As National FFA Week is wrapping up remember that is the perfect time to share your love for agriculture! It is a time for us to celebrate all that FFA is about. FFA week gives us the opportunity to spread the benefits of FFA throughout our school and communities.
I loved FFA week each year and have many awesome memories from those weeks in High School; such as the very competitive milk chug, watching many chickens run around the gymnasium, and working to host a delicious breakfast for school staff. I look forward to this week each year, and I am excited to hear about all the things that your chapters are planning. I am also looking forward to spending some time at your schools during the week.
I am sure your school’s FFA Week will be filled with lots of fun. Remember that this week is also a time to get all members involved in the activities and is a wonderful time to recruit new high school and Alumni members.
I truly encourage you to enjoy the crazy events that are left in you week, and more importantly, enjoy spreading the word about agriculture education to others. This is your chance to show others why you love FFA and tell your story!

Partners at the Top
Feb. 21, 2019

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Happy National FFA Week,

I hope you’re having a blast with all your chapter, school, and community events this week to celebrate FFA and tell the story of agriculture education and the agriculture industry. Today, I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Madison with a few of my teammates to visit the Capitol! To help spread our FFA message and ensure our state’s leaders are aware of FFA’s impact, we distributed Wisconsin FFA Annual Reports to each of our legislators. Aside from visiting each congressional office, we also had the privilege to personally meet with a couple of our Representatives to discuss the agriculture industry and its future leaders.

All in all, it was an awesome day! It was a true honor to represent Wisconsin FFA in such a historical and tradition-filled setting. It is comforting to know that many of our state’s prominent leaders understand the value of agricultural education and are as confident as we are in future of the agriculture industry. We are lucky to have them on our side!

Keep doing great things and enjoy the remainder of FFA Week! Thank you for all you’ve done this week and will continue to do in the future to promote FFA in your schools and communities. Hope to see you soon!

Take Care,
Collin

Slow & Steady
Feb. 20, 2019

Paige Nelson - Secretary
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hey all! Today was a snow day in my part of the world, but it's FFA week which means this state officer braved the blowing snow and drifted roads to travel down highway 10 for a live radio interview.

If I have learned anything in the past month and a half as a state officer, it is how to drive in snow storms. In the past, I stayed home and took care of my livestock when the weather was nasty because everything else took a back seat. This year I haven't let the weather deter me from trips in the snow because I am always so excited to see you all.

Driving in a snow storm is like being an FFA member throughout the year. We may be anxious about reaching our destination, but we must approach the trip slow and steady so we can safely reach that destination. This morning I was able to make it to my radio interview early because I gave two times as much time as I would need on a normal day, and drove slowly and carefully. I made sure to pay attention to every small detail as they came such as on coming traffic, large semis and snow plows that blow snow which reduces visibility further, curves and hills, and accumulating snow, drifts, and slush. However, I didn't get caught up on the details that had come and gone but focused on the details I was facing in each specific moment that passed. I kept my drive slow and steady.

As an FFA member we must approach the year slow and steady. We must focus on the details in the moment and not get too caught up in the details of the past or the details too far in the future. There are so many activities we get excited about as FFA members, maybe it is national convention, LDEs, CDEs, Food For America, FFA Week, the Banquet, or any other event you look forward to. In order to truly enjoy each of the limited number of years we are an FFA member it is important we take each year slow and steady. Instead of getting anxious about reaching the your destination (those few events you can't wait for), remember all those details in between and take in the moments that you have while you still have the opportunity to. Don't speed through things and let the little things pass you by, instead take it slow and steady just as you would while driving in a snow storm so you can appreciate the beauty of the snow covered trees while safely reaching your destination.

For the rest of FFA Week, don't wish the week away during your not so favorite ag olympics event or wish it could be June already so you can receive that award on stage. Take this week and the rest of your FFA experience at a steady pace so you can reap all the benefits FFA has to offer.

Happy FFA Week!

-Paige

Past and Tradition
Feb. 19, 2019

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

It’s FFA Week, which means a lot of different things. Maybe for your chapter FFA Week is a week of dress up days, activities, and competition. Maybe it is a week of service to your school district and community. Or maybe, it was nothing at all, just something you saw on social media and heard about on the early morning radio.

No matter how you celebrated, FFA Week holds a long history in this organization and a good few traditions across the nation, state, and your own chapters. Now I realize I do a lot of lists for my blog posts, but I like lists, so here’s another one with facts about FFA history and FFA Week.

1. FFA Week is always celebrated the week of George Washington’s birthday. George Washington once said “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man.” That, and the fact that he kept his farm accounts carefully and accurately, is the reason we always celebrate around the same time of year.

2.The first FFA Week was in 1948. That’s 71 years ago!

3. On Wednesday the 20th, the alumni will be celebrating Alumni Day. Our alumni chapters do so much for us in our home chapters as well as across the state, so give them a HUGE shout-out. There will also be a check-in for alumni during FFA Week.

4. The National Officer team will spend time in different states across FFA Week. The officers will visit different chapters and learn a bit about the state on the way.

5. Last fact, here we go. There will be more than 670,000 members and 459,000 alumni across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. That’s more than 10 times the people you can fit in AT&T stadium.

Soak in all the madness of FFA Week and tell me your favorite part when I see you next. I’d love to hear your stories!

Catch ya later,
Alexis

Carry the Potatoes
Feb. 18, 2019

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

One crazy perk of being a state officer: you always have the weirdest items at the grocery store check-out line when you’re putting on a workshop the next day. I’ve stood in line with fly swatters, kidney beans, hundreds of paper plates, rope, and tarps. Yesterday was no exception: I stood in line with 15 rolls of tape, 1 pack of index cards, and 85 pounds of potatoes.

I then took those potatoes, put them in my car, drove a long way, and met up with my teammate Collin for our workshop. We were quite the sight lugging 85 pounds of potatoes into the main office, saying, “We’re here to visit with the FFA chapter.” Later on in the workshop, I had the students all bring the potatoes back into a tub I was holding… all 85 pounds of them. My plan was to also lift that tub onto the auditorium stage and dump out all of the potatoes. I quickly realized that: 1) I did not have a good grasp on the tub and 2) Official dress (the skirt, the heels, the corduroy – take your pick) is not an optimal outfit to lift a tub in. So Collin jumped up onto the stage and helped me put the tub on the stage behind me.

Whether it’s because we overestimated our ability to lift potatoes, overcommitted our time, didn’t know how to say no, or genuinely wanted to be really involved in a million activities, we all have a lot of responsibilities to carry. February always seems like the busiest month in FFA: proficiencies are due, state degrees are due, there’s those Leadership Development Events (LDEs), National FFA Week is in full swing, we probably have about two community service events per week, and maybe you want to apply to be in state honors band and choir. To say the least, it’s a busy month. And on top of that, there’s other clubs, sports, and community/family events. More stuff to carry. More weight of responsibilities.

But just like Collin and I lugged the potatoes together, there will always be someone to support you and do things with you. To quote a line from the fourth paragraph of the FFA Creed: “in less need for charity and more of it when needed.” It’s about seeing the needs of everyone else around you and responding to those needs. Your response doesn’t need to be out of pity or out of lack of belief, but instead out of teamwork. Support is all about showing others that someone is with them – not necessarily solving their problems, but instead giving them the encouragement and skills to keep solving their own problems. They’ll be there to help you when you need it. I challenge you to do the same for them – give more of if when needed.

As we jump into a busy National FFA Week and a busy close to the school year, remember to carry the potatoes. What can you do to help the people around you? How can you show fellow members, teachers, and community members that you are there to support them?

See the need. Take action. And carry the potatoes.

I’m just an email, message, or call away if you ever need anything!
Amelia

Developing an SAE
Feb. 17, 2019

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Today on our social media challenge, the prompt was SAE Sunday. This prompt got me thinking about how can my experiences encourage others.

My supervised agricultural experience (SAE) is highly untraditional, it does not involve plants, animals, or research, but it was a job that enabled me to gain career skills. I took an existing interest of mine, swimming, and created an opportunity for community development and professional growth.

We, as active members in our schools and communities, are already participating in actions that can serve as our SAE. It does not mean we have to get into raising animals or get a brand new job. FFA wants us to gain experience in our desired career fields and to teach us how we can utilize our talents in agriculture.

Here are some ideas for SAEs that you may already be participating in:
Working as a cashier
Participating in Church Community Service Events
Tutoring
Working with your home garden
Training your dog

Take time to evaluate what interests you already have and how they can play into the agricultural industry! Make the most out of your time in FFA!


Happy National FFA Week!

Emily

Many Opportunities
Feb. 16, 2019

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

This Thursday before the Farm Forum contest kicked off on Friday the state officers and their advisors met at the Hotel Mead for our February board meeting. This was a great time for us officers and our advisors to meet and discuss ideas for the rest of the year and beyond. These meetings are essential as it helps us to plan events and make decisions to help members like you to be successful in our events. Right now, many of our meetings are revolving around convention to pick the different people we are welcoming and I can assure you we have some exciting things coming.

Following our meetings Thursday night, we kicked off the Farm Forum conference on Friday morning this conference it geared towards high school juniors and hosted by the Farm Bureau. This conference revolved around how to advocate for agriculture and FFA as well as looking toward future plans. From speakers to workshop presenters there was no shortage of knowledge to be had as we had an eventful weekend. Friday night like many conferences we celebrated with a dance which helped us get energized for another day of workshops Saturday. If you are a 7th grader through high school sophomore I would highly recommend attending this conference as a junior as it allows you to meet new people and gives you insight into options for your future.

Overall, it was an outstanding weekend spent in the blue jacket and I’m sure next year will be just as great!

Until next time,
Sarah

Patience is a Virtue
Feb. 13, 2019

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Patience is a virtue. My mother always used to say that when my brothers and I would get impatient waiting for dinner. I still am working on this whole patience thing, my lack of success hunting deer is a testament to that. But on Monday, I saw a great example of patience.

The District 23 LDEs were underway and I was there helping out. At 6:15 all our competitors were finished up and waiting on their results. By 6:30 I had announced results for five of the competitions. At 6:45, I received the results of the prepared speaking contest, and word was that employment skills would be coming soon.

Well, those short few minutes turned into 45 more. Finally, at 7:30 our last results came in. I quickly announced our finals winners for the day and then the chapters packed up and went their separate ways. Not one school left early. I told members and advisors over and over that they could just look on facebook for results, and time and time again they all shook their heads no. They insisted on hearing the results. These were students who weren't even competing, and yet they stuck around so their chapter members who were waiting could hear the results first hand.

Although some may have been avoiding responsibilities, a majority stayed to support their friends and enjoy the moment. I thank these members for giving me an example to follow, to live in the moment and cherish the people around me, not just worry about tomorrow.

Patience is a virtue, but waiting an hour and a half with friends and FFA members is not hard at all.

Thank you all for reading, I wish you all the best.
Enjoy the snow, it's part of the Wisconsin experience.

Thanks Again,
Mitchell


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