Jan. 27, 2018
Winter. A time to prepare for Leadership Development Events. The beginning of a new semester. A time for long days on the farm. The beginning a new sport. A time to bear the cold. The beginnings of a new year.
January brings many new things as well as many hours of work and preparation. As the winter days continue, we may lose sight in the negativity. The weather is unpredictable: cold, rain, snow, or sunshine. There are many chapters to read, problems to solve, projects to complete, and worksheets to fill-in. We have class to attend, work to do and chores to complete. While it is easy on these cold, winter days to be bogged down, we must remember that, “every day may not be good but, there is something good in everyday”.
It’s the time to think positive. It is a new year; a new semester; a new day. Each new day provides us with endless opportunity. Whether it’s something that made you smile, a friend who made you laugh or that cup of coffee that brought your energy level up, I hope you find the ‘something good’ in your day.
Wishing you all the best,
A Career in Agriculture
Jan. 24, 2018
Agriculture careers can range from the farmer who produces their product, to those who market and communicate with others about that product. That raises the question, how can I find a career or area in agriculture that interests me? One way that you might be able to narrow down and find out an area for you is through job shadowing. Job shadowing can be a way to learn more about the job, and the education it will take you to reach that position.
Another opportunity to gain experience in an agriculture career is through a supervised agriculture experience, a hands-on learning experience in agriculture. Through these experiences you can build not only skills, but experience in your SAE that will allow you time to determine if this pathway could be one you’d like to continue down. Personally, I know that my experience in my Veterinary Science SAE has lead me down wanting to continue a career in animal science. Finally, one way you can continue learning about agriculture careers is taking classes in the agriculture department. Classes can range from welding, natural resources, and even food science. Talking with your agriculture instructor can allow you to learn more about these classes and pathways.
No matter what FFA can give you the skills to set you up for future success in your career. Whether you learn skills through Leadership Development Events, Career Development Events, it can be guaranteed you’ll be ready for future success. So how many careers are needed to make a pizza? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with one career that you know is needed to make a pizza!
Until next time,
Interpretation of a Few Words
Jan. 22, 2018
Take the saying I Love You for example. Everyone says I love you for different reasons and at different times. It’s how the other person takes what we’re saying that gives it our meaning. Each one of us has a different meaning to everything we do. Take our FFA Organization for example. If you ask someone who really doesn’t know what FFA is, what is their first interpretation of it? While at work the other day I took the chance to ask my coworker if she knew what FFA was. She had said when she was in school she thought it was just people who got together to talk about tractors. Other words we hear often from peoples first impressions of FFA is farming, tractors, and future farmers. How are we going to change people’s first impressions of what they feel FFA is? How will you show others that FFA has something to offer everyone?
Just like we each one of have a different interpretation of I love you, we each have a different reason we are in FFA. Sometimes, it may be tradition, or maybe you’re the first one in your family to join. FFA was a place where I was able to grow as a individual and make friends that will last a lifetime. How will we live our why? How will we tell others what we want them to know? How will you help others see that there is more to FFA then what their first impression was?
Jan. 19, 2018
Some folks just don’t get it.
They think owning cattle makes no sense.
It takes too much time, too much equipment,
not to mention the expense.
But the fondest memories of my life
they think might sound funny
were made possible by Mom and Dad,
‘cause they spent the time and spent the money.
You see, the most important lessons
helping values grow so strong,
come from loving cattle and passing the tradition on.
As I shut off the barn lights this evening, and looked back behind me at the building in which I have truly had a chance to grow up in, I couldn’t help but think of this poem. Raising and showing cattle has been a way of life for my family for generations, and to me it is so much more than a tradition… it’s a legacy.
Over the past few days I have had the chance to spend a little time at home, and enjoy working on my family owned and operated beef farm. On this farm are hundreds of childhood memories, thousands of lessons learned, and a million reasons to feel so blessed to have grown up as a farm kid.
Here are a few lessons that have made me who I am today:
1. Don’t let a wishbone grow in place of a backbone.
2. Always double check your work, as if you are double checking a closed gate.
3. Take time for those around you and appreciate their company, just as your dog does for you.
4. Without rain there would never be a successful harvest, so don’t let a bad day get you down.
5. Be more like your horse and listen to understand not just to hear.
6. Never stop learning, and be willing to help the next person in line grow along with you.
7. Enjoy the everyday miracles, like the birth of a newborn calf, or a simple sunrise in the morning.
8. Twine string and a good attitude can solve many problems.
9. Think before you act, unlike a mad momma cow.
10. Love with all your heart.
What are some of your most valued lessons that help you pass on a tradition and leave a legacy?
It's Time to Apply!
Jan. 11, 2018
1. Emphasize your involvement, whether it be FFA, athletics, music or other activities. Make it shine!
2. Have other’s proofread each section of the application. This prevents us from completing an application with silly spelling or grammar mistakes.
3. Ask for a letter of recommendation in advance, at least two weeks! Teachers, advisors, and other group leaders are busy. Ask them for a letter of recommendation early enough so they have time to do their very best for you. However, your first choice for a recommendation may not be able to complete your letter, so have backups.
4. Use the word count. If the application asks for a maximum of 500 words, be sure to be as close to the 500 as possible. Be clear, concise, and get the point across.
5. Write Thank You’s! If you are awarded the scholarship, be sure to write a thank you. The money is to benefit you, and will be the quickest money you ever earn so be sure to write a thank you.
6. Keep the due date in mind. The earlier the scholarship application is finished, the less stressed you will be. Although procrastination may happen at times, fight off the urge to put it off!
These 6 hints will hopefully help you get through these final days of high school. To start out, be sure to apply for local, state, and national FFA scholarships. There are also many agriculture businesses that offer scholarships on the local, state, or national level. If you are not a senior in high school, keep these in mind for any paper or application, and be prepared for when the time comes!
Just Like Math 24
Jan. 10, 2018
In complete honesty, my 4th – 7th grades were spent with a lot of Math 24, even to the point where I would play it on the bus to and from school and during recess every day with my friends so we could prepare for the competition! I must say we took this fun way to do math quite seriously.
A few days ago, I found my box of Math 24 in my room. When I stopped and thought about it, although to most people it’s just that fun way to practice math, you can apply a lot of the lessons from Math 24 to life.
Here are just a few ways life is just like Math 24:
1) Multiple Solutions:
In Math 24, most cards have multiple ways that you can come up with 24 as your answer. Whether you do 8x3=24. 4-2=2. 4x2=8. 8x3=24. Or 12x2=24. 4-2=2. 3x4=12. 12x2=24. As long as you use what is given to you to get to 24, you still did it right. When we are solving any problem, or just going through life, there are so many paths we can take. Just look at all of the opportunities we have in the FFA, which routes we take and which ones we choose to take advantage of is all up to us. If we choose to use the opportunities that we have, in the end we can develop our premiere leadership, personal growth and career success.
2) Cube out:
When you say something wrong or make a mistake in Math 24, you receive a cube, and each player can get 3 cubes until they “Cube Out” and have to sit out for the rest of the round. Even though we may not be handed cubes in everyday life when we make mistakes, just like the player has to accept the cube, we can accept our mistakes for what they are and then continue playing the game and living life to the best of our ability. Math 24 reminds that we should try to limit our mistakes, however they have cubes for a reason, so we know mistakes are going to happen. We can just do our best to accept and learn from our mistakes.
3) Level up:
Each year that you do Math 24, you get to level up and they make it just a little bit more challenging. You start with the Single Digit Math 24, then move to Double Digits, up to Integers, and then Fractions and Decimals. As we move on in anything, we can find ways to take ourselves to the next level and challenge ourselves. Whether it’s our school classes each year or further developing our skills, we should always look to challenge ourselves.
4) Thinking on Your Feet:
In Math 24, you have to solve the card as fast as you can. We may not always need to quickly solve a math problem, but people have to make decisions each and every day, and therefore problem solving and the ability to think on your feet are extremely important qualities. I certainly practiced this in Math 24, but also I know I was able to further develop these skills doing dairy judging through 4-H and FFA. Now I know I am much better able to make quick decisions whenever I need to.
Life really is just like Math 24! As we jump into 2018, I want to challenge all of you to take the lessons we can learn from Math 24 and apply them to your life. Find the solution or route that is best for you this year, own and learn from your mistakes, continue to challenge yourself, and continue working on your decision making skills. If we follow these lessons, I know it will be another great year!
Wishing you luck as you live out 2018 just like Math 24!
Jan. 09, 2018
I hope your enjoying the start to your 2018 year! I want to take you back to a memory I had this past December, way back in 2017;) The officer team was at the Dells for the American Farm Bureau convention. At this convention we were going to sessions and timekeeping for the discussion meet. The morning of the second day I was the last to depart down towards the conference room. In my hotel room I was searching for my last bit or wardrobe, my shoes. I franticly searched everywhere for them but I could not find them. Then I saw them... black dress shoes, but they were not mine. They were Sam Jesse's. I immediately knew what had happened. Sam took my shoes by mistake. I texted him "You have my shoes." He responded "wear mine and we'll switch." I then texted him "....Thief," to which I heard no response. I proceeded to wear Sam's shoes down towards the convention hall on the first floor. Now when we first got elected we went to kohl's and bought the same exact shoes. Same style, same size, same everything cause we're dorks. So I thought I would be okay briefly switching shoes. His shoes felt different, weird, and slightly uncomfortable. We met up and switched shoes to have our own back but the experience made me wonder.
Those shoes looked exactly the same and when bought they were. However after six months of walking the shoes had started to form around our own feet. With each step we took we started to shape our shoes around where we had been and of course our feet. Sam's and my shoes were different because we have different feet. Like wise even though someone may seem to have the same story as us they don't. We never know where someone's been, what someone is going through, or where they are going until... we ask.
I greatly appreciate a phrase Sam Jesse occasionally says, "Why are you the way you are?" While yes, he usually says it to be funny, I have noticed he always pauses after he asks. He always gives the other person time to answer. How often does someone do something to us and our first reaction is to think about ourselves? When driving, "Why did he cut ME off." When talking,"Why is she so mean to ME?" Instead of thinking about our own shoes, we need to think about the shoes of others. Why are they the way they are? "Why is HE driving so recklessly?" Maybe it was a mistake. "Why is SHE mean?" Maybe she has issues of her own she is working through. Never judge a book by its cover. Even though they may seem to have the same story as you...everyone's story is different. In 2018 look to see the bigger picture, look to see the WHY.
"WHY do they do what they do?"
New Year, New Me!
Jan. 07, 2018
Now that Christmas is Over and we all celebrated New Years, we have all probably have our New Years resolutions. Maybe to lose, weight, eat better, etc. But some may not have set our new years resolutions yet, and that's okay! Here's a lost a few resolutions to do, and stick with!
1: Read a book or two
Books are a simple, yet fun way to relax and relieve stress that comes with the new year. It could be a romance novel, an Amish love story, suspense, a mystery, or even a book about agriculture1
2: Carry a Water Bottle
Water is a staple beverage for every human body and extremely important for mental health, but I know it is sometimes a struggle to achieve those eight glasses per day. A simple solution is to keep a full water bottle near you, so if you're ever bored..drink a refreshing glass of water!
3: Smile More
Another one that may seem simple, but sometimes forcing a smile is the best thing to do to boost yourself, and someone else!
4: Call or Text a good friend
Keeping in touch with friends and family we don't see often is a great way to make their day, and relieve some stress. Maybe get in touch with a friend that had moved, call a great grandparent, a family member from a different state...anybody! Keeping those connections is a great resolution, that requires little effort!
5: Try Something New
I left this one broad because it should me. This "something" could be an FFA activity, a speaking contest. Join another club and get active. Take a trip to a place you've never gone. Anything. Try something new and get yourself out of your comfort zone!
These are all simple, yet feasible ways to stick to your New Years Resolution, and grow as an individual along the way! Happy New Year, Wisconsin FFA members, advisers, and friends!
Get to Resolutin',
WI FFA State Treasurer
Jan. 06, 2018
Whether it’s in a bus or living the van life, some of my favorite memories are from road trips with my FFAmily. We were on our way to National Convention my junior year; Mrs. Konkel, our advisor, was planning to do a little bit of sightseeing on the way to Louisville, Kentucky. We stopped at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial, also called “The Arch.” In St. Louis, Missouri. On the way to Louisville, Kentucky. From Walworth, Wisconsin. Only a little detour: if 3 hours and 214 miles of driving is little. After leaving the school at about 8 a.m., we arrived to our hotel WELL after dark. I know what you’re thinking: this sounds like a really round-about trip, that wasn’t that much fun! But here’s what I didn’t say about this trip yet:
There was elation: running across the parking lot at Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, and then laughing as we realized we forgot something in the car.
There was singing: belting out songs from our “National Convention mixtape” a grad had made.
There was a tiny-teensy bit of fear: when like half of us were scared of heights & still wondering why Mrs. Konkel had detoured here.
There was laughter: when part of our chapter shared an elevator with some hilarious Canadians that kept teasing them about the height on the way up the Arch.
There was soaking wet people: it was raining when we were in St. Louis, and we parked far away from the arch, fast walking down the streets, trying to avoid the puddles.
There was food: stopping at Cracker Barrel and eating way too much – but first sharing laughs and trying to beat each other at the golf tee game that sits at each table.
And finally, there were good memories shared: our chapter falling asleep in the back of the school suburban as we finally drove through Kentucky.
It’s over two years later, and we still tease Mrs. Konkel about the time she detoured us to St. Louis on the way to Louisville. But here’s the thing – I wouldn’t trade anything for my memories of running, singing, laughing, & eating some Cracker Barrel. Mrs. Konkel wanted us to have those memories, so she made time for that detour. If you want to do something, do it. Make time for it, even if it’s not necessarily on your “perfect route.” It will be so worth it in the end.
Make time for that career development event practice. Make time to sit around after the FFA meeting, just talking with other members for the sake of talking. Make time to practice for the next sports game, or for filling out scholarships, or for simply going out to lunch with friends. If you want to do something, DO IT. Don't worry about whether it fits perfectly into your route. It is worth the detour, worth the time, worth the fear.
The memories are worth it.
Can’t wait to see what you do,
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