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Officer Profiles

Supporting Ties
Oct. 17, 2018

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

What a three weeks we have had from SLWs, to FIRE Conferences, to chapter visits the state officers have been on the road for quite some time. It has been an amazing experience getting to know FFA members from around the state of Wisconsin.

At SLWs I was able to work with members to figure out some community service activities that they would be able to bring back to their chapters. In this workshop I had the members build a tower only giving them a limited amount of time and building supplies. In this time, I told them to build the best tower only using the supplies that I gave them, and they quickly took to the task at hand. Once the towers were built I asked members why their towers were the best and they quickly answered with responses such as, “Ours is the tallest, most creative, or even most structurally sound.” I was then able to ask them what made their tower stand which led to the support they have in their communities. We then discussed if they would be able to be a strong chapter without community support and they immediately answered “No.”

Our chapters in Wisconsin need the communities that are around them. Like the tower our chapters need a strong base in order to stand. Through SLWs we discovered many ways that our chapters can help those support systems around them. I am excited to see what our members do this year in order to keep growing Wisconsin FFA!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Calaway

Picture This...
Oct. 16, 2018

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Everyone!

As we are preparing for our trip down to Indianapolis next week, I spent a day at Oshkosh-West High School. While visiting, I had the privilege of facilitating an activity with Mrs. Rennebohm’s physical science class. My prompt was this: picture a leader we have in our lives, now draw them to the best of our ability. Our pictures included three police officers, two teachers, a sailor in the Navy. Now I have facilitated this activity with many classes before but this one was very special for me, as it helped me realize just how big of an impact our leaders have on us. If we have an example to look to, we are more comfortable growing as leaders.

As we continue growing as leaders ourselves, I believe it is important to reflect on the leaders who have impacted our lives. Our leaders invested in us, not so we could match their greatness, but surpass it. This means we can and should use their lessons and wisdom as a head start, not a finish line.

I hope this post inspires you to think of all the leaders you have in your life and analyze ways that we can pass on the lessons they taught us.

Thanks for reading and see you at National Convention!
Sincerely,
Mitchell Schroepfer

Improving to Reach Success
Oct. 10, 2018

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Everyone,

With Sectional Leadership Workshops finished and two out of three FIRE Conferences completed the State Officers are back to chapter visits for the fall. This week I had the opportunity to visit the Colby FFA chapter.

While at Colby I challenged one of the classes to a paper airplane flying contest. The entire class crafted what they believed would be the fastest, most accurate flying airplane they could. The goal was for the airplanes to soar about ten feet across the room and land in a square on the floor underneath a table. After all the students flew their planes, we came to the realization that the majority of the planes did not make it even half of the way to the target. So the class decided to take a step back, looking at the flaws in their paper airplanes. After noticing these flaws every single student made a change to their plane, they improved their planes. After improving the planes the class flew them again. This time the majority of the planes landed in target box or within a few feet from it.

The students noticed flaws in their planes, improved them and saw better results. This lesson can apply to everything that we do in life. Whether you are working on a project for school or are at sports practice there is always room for improvement. You are never 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time. There is always room for improvement.

Just like the students saw better results after improving their paper airplanes you too could reach greater heights of success if you are willing to notice your flaws and improve them. The next time you make a mistake or see a flaw I challenge you to fix it, improving yourself.

Soaring to Success,
Jillian Tyler

Focus
Oct. 07, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Hello everyone!

It is hard to believe that Sectional Leadership Workshops are now concluded for the year! What an experience the last few weeks have been touring agricultural businesses, presenting workshops on FFA and leadership, and having the opportunity to meet so many incredible FFA members such as yourselves!

In addition to presenting Sectional Leadership Workshops and traveling all over Wisconsin, the state officers had the opportunity to attend World Dairy Expo this past week to assist with FFA contests and experience one of the most prestigious dairy cattle shows in the world. My teammates and I helped with the dairy judging and showmanship contest, forage analysis competition, dairy products contest, and numerous other events while at Expo. In addition to helping with contests, we also visited with various sponsors who had booths set up at the trade show and throughout the grounds. These sponsors included Animart, Zoetis, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and Organic Valley, to name a few. The sponsor visits were so eye opening as they showcased how interconnected and supportive the agricultural industry is, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time to visit with the employees of these sponsor companies and learn more about their career roles and responsibilities.

While at World Dairy Expo, the state officer team also had the wonderful chance to meet with Gary Sipiorksi, who served as a Wisconsin FFA state vice president from 1968 to 1969. Mr. Sipiorksi was originally from Denmark and is currently serving as the dairy development manager for Vita Plus as well as a member of the board of directors for Citizens State Bank of Loyal, Wisconsin. Mr. Sipiorski shared some great insight as it relates to serving as a state officer and the impact FFA has made on his life and career. One of the main points he emphasized was the importance of staying focused, and never losing sight of the goals we set for ourselves. This point really resonated with myself and the whole state officer team, as focus and dedication are qualities that are required of us in order to best fulfill our duties and responsibilities in our year of service.

When we have focus, we are able to present the best version of ourselves day in and day out, with determination to succeed. Focus is the ability to stay strong and optimistic even through trials and tribulations, and allows us to stay motivated for the future. Focus, as defined, is “the center of interest or activity.” Is what you are focusing on in your life your greatest central interest? Do you have the right focus for your present and future self? As we move forward every day, I challenge you to remain focused on your top priorities and to see through into the future. Even when we face obstacles or failure, our ability to focus and stay determined will shine through and help us to overcome even the toughest of challenges. Keep staying focused and driven in all that you do, and great success and wonderful outcome will be experienced.

I look forward to meeting more of you in the upcoming weeks and months at chapter visits, National Convention, and numerous other conferences! Let us stay focused on our goals and future, and we will be unstoppable!

Forever focused,
Ashley Hagenow

Tractor Talk
Oct. 02, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As we roll through the fall, our state officer team has been wrapped up in our fall travels, traveling all over the state visiting businesses and industries involved in Wisconsin agriculture and putting on our sectional leadership workshops.

Recently, we traveled to Granton, Wisconsin for the Section 7 Leadership Workshop. After a successful workshop, Collin, Mitchell, and I headed off to our host family for the evening. Upon arrival and unloading in the pouring rain, the three of us met our host family. The mother, Janell, greeted us at the door and introduced to her two sons, Hunter and Mason. The two boys were 11 and 7, respectively, and were initially shy, hiding behind their mom as we stood in the doorway. However, Collin soon noticed the Green tractors spread out around the house, and after mentioning them to the boys, their eyes lit up. Both had a love for toy tractors, and paraded us around the entire house to show off every single piece of equipment that they had. Mason took us to his room to show off a treasure trove of John Deere machines, which filled up every square inch underneath his bed. He started to dig underneath and fish out tractor after tractor, which we took out to the living room and were asked to “farm” with them all over the living room. Naturally, our inner farm kid wouldn’t let this chance slip by, and Mitchell, Collin, and I sat on the floor and the five of us ran the choppers, baler, and grain carts. Initially quiet, the two had lit up getting the chance to share what they loved, and stayed up until far past their bedtime tilling up the living room with their toy machinery.

What made this night so wholesome for us three was not only having a place to stay, or a family to make small talk with. Mason and Hunter both had a passion, and when we tapped into that passion, the boys instantly flipped the switch and invited us to enjoy part of their life that they loved. This passion radiated to us, letting us soak in the opportunity to reminisce on our childhoods.

In life, the chance to share other’s passions comes unexpectedly. Whether it’s when talking to others about their hobbies, or being shown around a friend’s hometown, we all run into that “spark” that ignites a person and gives them life. For some, it’s the animals they may raise for the county fair. For others, it’s the time they spend in the shop working on their car. No matter who you are, a spark lies within, and just like the two boys, tapping into this to share will radiate this spark to those around us. Take time to understand where your passion lies. That spark will ignite your life as well as others around yours. Find your passion, and hold onto it tight. What will your toy tractor be?

Searching,
Gaelan Combs

Business is Booming
Sep. 25, 2018

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hello Everyone,

What a fall it has been! SLW season is in full swing, and we are having an absolute blast! It has been an incredibly rewarding experience getting to meet so many FFA members from all over the state. But one other aspect of Sectional Leadership Workshops that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed is the Business and Industry Visits.

Before every SLW, the officer team tours 2 agricultural businesses near the host officer’s hometown. Our visits have consisted of everything from a kidney bean processing plant to a biotechnology company to local cooperatives. These tours have been incredibly eye-opening experiences and have provided me with a glimpse into the astounding magnitude and diversity of the agriculture industry. It is nearly impossible to fathom just how big agriculture really is, but these tours have helped put everything into perspective for me. They’ve helped me realize just how interconnected all agribusinesses really are.

Different sectors of agriculture are certainly facing economic challenges today. But when you stop and think about just how many different businesses and services make up the agriculture industry and the endless career opportunities available, it is difficult to deny that the future of agriculture is a bright one! With 9 billion people set to roam this earth in 2050 and the intensive process required for getting food from the farm to the plate, the agriculture industry will only continue to grow and become more dynamic in years to come. Will there be challenges? Of course there’ll be challenges. But our generation is determined to take those challenges head on.

So, take pride in representing an industry that provides the food and fiber to sustain life on this planet, an industry that is the backbone of society. Attempt to understand just how massive the agriculture industry is, the unwavering career opportunities that are out there, and the complex processes that come together to feed the world. The agriculture industry is special. It’s outlook is promising. And that is a future we can all look forward to!

As always, please never hesitate to let me know if you ever need anything!

Take Care,
Collin

Whirlwind
Sep. 23, 2018

Paige Nelson - Secretary
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hello there FFA friends!

As I reflect back on this past week, our first week on the road for Sectional Leadership Workshops, I’ve realized it has passed by much too quickly. Our days are packed full of Business and Industry Visits in the morning, workshops and sessions with members, and many meals shared over delicious meals with gracious hosts. Needless to say, our first week could be described as a whirlwind.

It has been easy to get caught up in the chaos of the little details and trying to make every small thing just right. Do you ever feel like you are caught up in a whirlwind of all the details? Maybe you get busy with school, sports, FFA, friends, hobbies, or other activities. When we get caught up in the whirlwind we miss out on the opportunity to soak up the full experience.

Whether or not we have already attended Sectional Leadership Workshop or not, and even if we don't have the chance to attend we can remind ourselves to be mindful of being present in the moment. If we are present in the moment, we will be better able to retain information. In the whirlwind, memories can be easily forgotten in a few short days. I would encourage you to simply have a note book, or a space in your planner or calendar to make a quick note of those moments you don't want to forget.

It’s easy to get caught in that whirlwind, especially when we are very involved and well rounded, however let’s find a way that works for us to become present in the moment and recall our memories so we can get the most out of our experiences and opportunities.

Until next time,

Paige Nelson

Beginning the Hike
Sep. 19, 2018

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey everyone!

I hope you all made it back into the swing of balancing school, sports, family, and friends with the start of the school year. I know there’s a whole lot of activities to get done at the beginning of the year but you can power through, you got it!

One of our first big events of the year is the Sectional Leadership Workshop. As our first week of SLW’s is ending, I’m realizing how much I learned throughout the week. We kicked off in Prairie Farm this year, it felt great to be home!

There are a ton of amazing opportunities at SLW’s for everyone, even the state officer team. My favorite opportunity in my home section was being able to talk to the chapter officers about the policies coming forward at the national level. I want to be able to represent the members as they want to be heard and this was the perfect time to get their thoughts.

I went in to the workshop somewhat expecting quiet viewpoints and lots of head nods. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the conversation we had. Once I explained what we were talking about, almost everyone in the room had an opinion to put in. On every issue I heard testimony from both sides of the conversation. The members in that room knew what they wanted to see from National FFA. Everything from uniform contests to inclusivity was brought up in some way shape or form. I got to witness the diversity of opinions in section one first hand, something that I didn’t think would occur. Without the members, I would have never gotten to hear it.

I want to give a huge thank you to that workshop group for being so attentive and helpful throughout the whole discussion. Due to you being involved, I now know what I am to bring to the table at National Convention throughout the delegate meetings. I can’t wait to give our section and the state of Wisconsin a voice. Never be afraid to use your voice, you never know when it will be helpful.

That’s all I have for you today, maybe I’ll see you in Granton tomorrow for our fourth SLW!

Until next time,
Alexis

Growing
Sep. 15, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Whether it is showing at fairs, traveling to other states, or volunteering at community events, everyone has unique things that they love to take part in during their summertime. One of my favorite parts is seeing all of the amazing experiences people are having.

Recently, some of my friends traveled down to South Carolina. Deciding to learn more about local agriculture, they headed to a plantation. As they drove up, the drive was covered in beautiful flowering trees. They were so big that the branches came together to form an arch over the driveway. They must have been ancient!

These trees endured many hurricanes in their 300 year life. In all that time out of 89 trees, only two had died. Two trees. How do we get that kind of growth? Where no matter what storms there are, we never fail to bloom the next spring. The trees’ secret was actually underneath. You see, just like the branches formed an arch above the drive, the roots beneath held every tree together. There’s two types of growth – our branches and our roots. Often, we grow by getting – getting leadership skills at conferences, getting experience in our Supervised Agricultural Experiences. That’s our branches – where others can see us bloom. But our roots – that’s growth by giving. We grow by giving when we invest time into a mentee, when we get involved in our community through FFA, service organizations, and community events. We grow when we build those connections with others; connections that hold us tight through any storm.

Growth by getting. Growth by giving. Both are important. But it is our roots in every situation that allow us to grow even further. It is our connections with the people around us and shared memories that allow us to continue to grow. How will you grow by giving, strengthen your roots, and bloom to benefit others?

-Amelia

Make it Simple
Sep. 11, 2018

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

It is finally the time all state officers have been looking for: meeting you all!! This week we began chapter visits. Now for many of us, this is the first time we have ever put on a workshop; it is most definitely a nerve-racking experience.

For me, my first visit was to Hartford Union High School. Although the visit officially began at 7 am on Tuesday. The pressure hit me at about approximately 7:30 pm on Monday night. My original plan was to get to bed by 9. But as my worries and stress grew suddenly my list of to-dos grew as well.

Despite this last minute stress and hour long anxious car ride, the moment I showed up at the school my worries were minimized. As I was walking in, Emily, an FFA member, saw me and took a moment to wait for me. There was no bigger relief that day, than feeling welcomed. Whether Emily realized it or not, that seemingly small effort to wait a couple seconds for me was essential in calming my nerves.

Chapter leaders, as we work with other FFA members, approach SLWs or simply walk down the hallway, think about the actions that we can take to positively affect others. We do not need a title or position to allow us to make a difference. We have the power to impact those around us, the ability to encourage other leaders through our daily actions.

Looking forward to meeting everyone at Sectional Leadership Workshops. If any questions arise, feel free to shoot me an email at ekruse@wisconsinffa.org!

See you soon,

Emily

Backing Those Who Back Us
Sep. 08, 2018

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

This past week while we were at Sectional Leadership Workshop workdays we were nominated to participate in the 10 gallon challenge by Illinois Association of FFA. We took the challenge to heart as many of our supporters of FFA are in an agricultural field in which we need to be grateful for and support them in return. As a team we decided that with 10,000 dairy farms throughout the state we would take part in such an inspiring challenge. Dairy farmers are now facing some tough times and the 10 gallon challenge was created to bring awareness and show support of the farms that are struggling. For the challenge it is encouraged to buy 10 gallons of milk and donate it to a food pantry or drink it within your own home.

With participating in the challenge, we nominated all of our home chapters along with some other State FFA Associations to also partake in the movement. I challenge you to show your support of our agricultural industry in these hard times.

Thank you for traveling with us and don’t forget to keep leaving your legacy!

-Sarah

You Get What You Give
Sep. 05, 2018

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

I hope you all are off to a great start at school. This week the State Officers are also in school! All summer we have been busy planning out workshops and chapter visits waiting to meet all of you. And this week we are coming to the finish line! The team is putting their finishing touches on our Sectional Leadership Workshops and FIRE Conferences as well as learning how to better facilitate our workshops for you! We have poured much of our time into each one of our workshops ensuring that you will walk away having learned something and ready to take on the world.

Clint Eastwood once said, “What you put into life is what you get out of it.” Keeping this in mind every day is essential in order to reach your goals in life. What you put into something is what you get out of it. You may find throughout the year that your teacher will give you a homework assignment to help you practice a new concept before a test. If you complete this homework assignment, putting more time into that class, your chances of earning a higher grade on the test raise tremendously. If you are on a sports team and you slack off in practice and don’t pay attention when the coach is talking, do you think you will perform at your highest level during a game? Chances are you will perform below your highest level because you didn’t put 110 percent into practice the other day.

Only you can ensure that you fulfill your dreams and achieve your goals. You can ensure you do this by putting 110 percent of yourself into everything you do to make sure that you get out everything that you want. If you want to get an A on your next math test, do every homework assignment, study for an extra five minutes every night and ask your teacher for help. If you want to advance to Sectional Leadership Workshop in the Creed Speaking contest recite the creed one time before bed each night and ask one extra person if you can recite the creed to them before the contest. Go the extra mile in everything you do because if you go the extra mile in the beginning the benefits you will receive will be endless.

If you have any questions or would like to me attend an event, you can contact me at jtyler@wisconsinffa.org. I cannot wait to meet all of you at SLW, FIRE and chapter visits!

Thanks for traveling with us to SLW and FIRE Conference Workdays at Big Foot High School

Until next time,
Jillian Tyler

Labor and Tillage of the Soil...
Sep. 03, 2018

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Wisconsin FFA!
I hope you all a had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend. As many of our members begin a new year of school I would like to take a second to reflect on what labor means today.

When FFA was founded in 1928 about one-quarter of the American population were directly tied to agriculture. Today, it is around two percent. This means that an overwhelming majority of the general population, as well as a large number of our members, don’t have a firsthand experience with “Labor and tillage of the soil.” Does this mean that younger generations don’t know what hard work is? Although some may say yes, FFA members are proof that the younger generations can still roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

Thanks to the achievements of past agriculturalists, hard work means more than just blisters and sweat. Today, hard work includes things like planning nitrogen distribution for fertilizers or estimating yield potentials based on rainfall. It is the work done before the seed hits the soil that makes the difference today. Although more work may be done with a computer than a plow, we should still respect the traditions of our past.

For all our students who started classes this week, remember that it is labor done outside of the classroom that makes the difference. Whether it be an agriscience project you love or an English paper that won’t write itself, putting your mind to work can be as fulfilling as a day in the field. Lastly, just because the nature of agriculture is changing doesn’t mean we should be afraid of getting some dirt under our nails or a little sweat on our brows.

As usual, if you want to reach me for whatever reason, I am available at mschroepfer@wisconsinffa.org

Thanks Again,

Mitchell Schroepfer

Continuing to Grow
Aug. 30, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all been soaking up the last few moments of summer! If you are anything like me, I am sure the summer has simply flown by for all of you! Between showing at county fairs, attending conferences, and spending quality time with family and friends alike, there have been plenty of activities to keep us all busy and enjoying our summer break!

As part of my many travel opportunities this summer, I had the honor of attending the 2018 GROWMARK Annual Meeting and Agribusiness Symposium this past week held in Downtown Chicago at the Hilton Hotel. The theme for this year’s event was “What does it mean to grow?” Growing occurs in many ways, whether it be personally, professionally, or elsewhere, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to grow with others around me and to soak in all the knowledge and skills I gained from attending this prestigious event! Through motivational speakers such as John O’Leary, Scott Mckain, and Coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, carrying the FFA flag for the opening ceremony of the business session, or networking with professionals all across the agricultural industry, I was inspired to continue to grow and better myself as both an individual and a leader.

The question is this: How can we continue to grow and move forward in all that we do? There are numerous steps we can take to ensure that we can continue to grow and create a bright future for others as well as ourselves. It can be as simple as reaching out to a fellow classmate to see if they have an interest in joining FFA, or taking the five minutes after class to check in with our advisors or officer teammates. Maybe it is challenging ourselves to study more for a certain class, or deciding to run for a leadership position in an organization we are involved in. Whatever it may be, we grow when we challenge ourselves and set a higher standard than we have before. We grow and move forward when we leave something better than the way we found it, and when we know we have put forth our best effort and given everything we can. We grow by learning new things and through experiences that shape our perceptions and our beliefs. Growing is a continual process, and we never quite stop growing, even long after we have gone through school, established our place in the world, and have experienced the many different things that life has to offer.

My challenge for you all is this: continue to grow. Continue to push yourselves and hold yourselves to higher standards than you ever have before. Continue to seek out new opportunities and challenges that will contribute to your personal growth and development, and that will leave you with new skills acquired and new perspectives on life. We can grow by leaving our legacy and ensuring that there is a bright future ahead for the next generation of leaders, and I cannot think of a better responsibility than this to strive for. As always, I am only just a phone call or email away! If you have any questions, comments, or stories you would like to share, please reach out to me and I will be happy to talk and connect! I look forward to seeing everyone soon at Sectional Leadership Workshops and chapter visits, and I cannot wait to see how you all will grow this year and leave your legacy!

Grow together,
Ashley Hagenow

Mission Accomplished
Aug. 24, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As we wind down our summer and soak in the final days until school is back in session, it’s a great time to reflect on where we’ve been, and prime ourselves for a fantastic year ahead. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel across western Wisconsin with some of my teammates to tour cooperatives dotted across our rural landscape. Our first stop of our travels was to the corporate headquarters of Organic Valley, one of the largest organic companies in the U.S. nestled in the town of La Farge. We walked the halls of their headquarters, touring their offices, laboratories, and employee wellness rooms, all the while asking as many questions as we could think of.

As we walked around, we noticed one phrase plastered in almost every room in the building, so every employee saw it, every day; “supporting rural communities by protecting the health of the family farm and working toward both economic and environmental sustainability.” When one of my teammates asked about what this meant, our guide told us how Organic Valley was a mission driven company, and they wanted every employee to know what their company strived to achieve so they had a goal in mind. Their employees were motivated because they had a goal in mind. Every day, they worked to make this mission a reality.

The world around us is busy. We can get caught up in our busy schedules, the problems that may arise in our homes, or get weighed down by what we read in newspapers. However, being driven by a goal is the beacon that keeps us guided to hope. Our goal to have A’s and B’s this semester, our goal to push ourselves to create a new service project, or our goal to make every single member in our chapter find a CDE to be involved in is what keeps us afloat. Just like Organic Valley, we can retain our motivation by striving for what we believe we can achieve. What will your mission be?

So long,

Gaelan


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