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Officer Profiles

Slug Bug!
Feb. 28, 2018

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

Growing up, my friends and I often played “slug bug.” When we were on a car ride, we would look for Volkswagen Beetle cars, and if we were the first person to see the car, we got to (lightly) punch the other friend. While this was just a way to pass the time in car rides that seemed to last forever, sometimes it got competitive. Certain houses that we often drove by would always have a Beetle car by them, so we’d wait, craning our necks to see who could “see” it first. After a while, it seemed like there were no other cars on the road – or at least none that mattered. If we thought about it, there were many more Beetles that we noticed than any other specific type of car. What we focus on expands – by focusing more on Volkswagen Beetles, my friends & I saw more of those cars than any other model.

But this happens in more than just cars. My senior year of high school, I was focusing on finishing a project for my agriscience research class. My next class after that one was Vet Science, and sometimes I would work on my research project instead of the Vet Science class. It was what I wanted to focus on, and it was Ag related anyways! What could it hurt? Fast forward towards the end of the term, and I was definitely missing a few too many assignments in Vet Science. What we focus on expands. I had focused on my research project, and it expanded to take over my entire Vet Science class period, too.

How can we make sure that what we’re focusing on helps us achieve our goals? While (lightly) punching each other as kids was fun, it wasn’t really helping my friends & I do anything. Let’s start with this: picture who we want to be in 5 years. How do we want to be described? Kind, funny, authentic, giving. Whatever it is, focus on being that. Each day, ask yourself: How can I make sure my actions today are (kind, etc.)? For example, I ask: How can I make sure my actions today are focused on helping people around me? I answer that in a few ways: by listening to others, noticing what they need help with most, and encouraging the people I meet to keep working towards their goals. When we go through that same process, we can focus on our answers that day. What we focus on will then expand.

By being intentional about who we will become, we can productively focus our efforts & expand so we are exactly who we want to be. What will you focus on?

Focus in,
Amelia Hayden
2007-08 Neighborhood Slug Bug Champion

Feb. 26, 2018

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

Wow what a great week! As FFA week ends so does something else….the Olympics! I love watching the Olympics but even more than watching them compete I love hearing their stories. A lot of them are so inspiring however we oftentimes think that we aren't capable of anything close to what they can accomplished. And if you are thinking you can’t do something… you’re right, you can’t. This Olympics I was reminded over and over about one of my favorite quotes “Those who say they can and those who say they can’t are both usually right.” If you think you can’t do something, you will never be able to do it. The start of achieving is believing you can.
One story that really stood out to me is that of United States Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. I remember watching a documentary talking about him. He won gold in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics but didn’t even place in the top three in 2014. He said that loss really had nothing to do with his skill. He was just mentally unprepared. I don’t really blame him. I imagine it’s pretty scary to snowboard up an ice ramp 22 feet high. So that’s it right? Failure? Wrong. Shaun knew he still had the skills to compete for Olympic gold. All he had to do was mentally prepare and assure himself he could do it. He started focusing on taking better care of himself by eating healthier and anything else that made him feel better and more confident. Most importantly he started telling himself he could do it. Shaun was focused and mentally prepared. He believed he was going to take home gold. Going into his final run in 2018 Shaun was guaranteed silver but he believed he could do better. After an insane run he claimed Olympic gold for the third time in his Olympic career.
The only thing standing in the way of achieving our hopes, goals, and dreams is ourselves. We should assume the following mindset...The only thing standing in the way of possible is I’m. I’m standing in the way of my possibilities and thus making possible, “IMpossible.” However as soon as I’m no longer standing in the way, IMpossible becomes possible...The limitations we have only exist in our minds. Always believe you are capable of anything you want because you are. In the words of Rob Schneider, “YOU CAN DO IT!”

Believing in each and every one of you,
Sam Pinchart

FFA Week All Year Round
Feb. 24, 2018

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

Happy National FFA Week!

FFA week gives us as FFA members a great opportunity to advocate for the agricultural industry. During this week we are also given a nation wide platform to share our agricultural story and the reasons why FFA is so vital to us. Sharing our story is exciting and easy with the social media challenges put out by Wisconsin FFA, local dress up days and agricultural activities during this week. We are able to share a picture with an explanation about what matters to us, that intern gets people excited about our projects. While participating in local events and dress up days it prompts our classmates or teachers who don’t normally ask about the Ag department or the FFA organization. Those simple questions easily can lead to conversations and even potential members or new supporters of the organization.

It’s easy to share our FFA story during this week of the year because it’s a nation wide movement and have the excitement of our fellow members encouraging us to work hard spreading the word of FFA. We may lose sight of spreading the word of FFA during the rest of the year. When have a massive responsibility to continue to share the importance of agriculture and FFA during FFA week and ever week during the year.

What are you doing to keep sharing your FFA story all year long?

Saving the Best for Last
Feb. 24, 2018

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

National FFA week is always a busy, and wild week of excitement as we do community service, assemblies, and fun activities, we need to take a few minutes to reflect on our week as members and supporters. Taking a few moments to relax after a long week, but also reminisce about the memories we will remember forever.

Whenever I remember National FFA week, I think of the tons of community service my chapter did during the week. We served the students, the members, the teachers and faculty, the community, the alumni, and ourselves; all in one week. My chapter served ice cream the agriscience students, a home-cooked meal to teachers and faculty, a service event for the community, and got students out of a few hours of class for an annual assembly!

So at the end of this week, take a few moments to reflect upon the work that you put into this week, how you have impacted so many lives, and how you can continue that tradition every day of the year! Happy National FFA Week everyone!

Day One
Feb. 23, 2018

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

Ever catch yourself daydreaming in class, at the table or riding in the car? Maybe you're dreaming of operating your own farm, driving a new vehicle or even winning a state LDE competition. What is holding you back from pursuing that dream? A dream is simply just a goal without a plan. We all have goals and often times get so tied down in making sure we write them down with the right acronyms, that we lose focus of their actual purpose.
When planning your goal, first picture your dream in detail. To take this from a simple dream to a goal, begin planning. Think of a few tangible things you could do to begin making progress towards this goal, whether that's studying harder, making the right connections or picking up an extra shift. You’ve made it to the hardest step. Making today day one, rather than maybe one day. You will always be busy, so don't let that be a deterrent, you’ll never have more time then you do in this moment. So how can you make the most of each day to get closer to achieving that goal and living your dream. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, so why I wait till then. Use the list of things you would like to achieve and schedule them into your day as a top priority. You may have to wake up earlier and you will have to push yourself some days, but isn’t it worth it to make your dreams a reality?
This is FFA week, a great time to celebrate the history and accomplishments of our organization. The great achievements of our organization and its members, did not come from people who gave a half-hearted effort, rather it came from those who had a desire to push themselves and achieve. As FFA members, we share a support system unlike any other, made up of members, advisors parents and alumni who each want to help us succeed. I encourage each of you, to think long and hard about your dreams. Make a plan and form your goal. Prioritize the things you will need to do and most importantly, don't wait! Dreams don't work unless you do!

Sam Jesse
2017-2018 WI FFA Sentinel

I Believe
Feb. 21, 2018

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years”

The first line of the FFA creed, “ I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds” is instilled in many FFA members who recognize that their actions speak louder than words. FFA members across Wisconsin come together for conferences and conventions to learn and discuss agriculture topics. FFA members plan local events like Food for America to teach youth in their communities about agriculture. FFA members give back to their community through community service projects. FFA members show their belief in the future of agriculture through their FFA experiences or deeds. What are you doing to show your belief in the future of agriculture?

Today, a few of the state officers came to Agriculture Hall at the University of Wisconsin - Madison to honor E.M. Tiffany, the author of the FFA creed, for his work and dedication to agriculture and agricultural education in the state of Wisconsin.

With a belief in the future of agriculture,


Thank you
Feb. 20, 2018

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

An open letter to the supporters of FFA and Agriculture Education:

Throughout our FFA career there are many influential people that give their time, treasures, and talents. They may have asked us to join FFA, sponsored our activities, or even helped us to compete at our highest level possible. These valuable supports and sponsors deserve a huge thank you!

Thank you, to our FFA advisors. You selflessly dedicate yourself to your students to ensure they have the best experience in FFA and agriculture. As FFA advisors, you stay late after school, drive to conferences, and even work during the summer with students. Your wisdom helps to guide students and allow them to discover future possibilities.

Thank you, to our parents. As parents of FFA members you have become accustom to the late school nights spent at contests, and washing white shirts and black slacks, skirts, and pants. Thank you for always supporting us as FFA members in our experience. You are always there to give a ride, sign permission slips, or help at a local FFA event.

Thank you, to the Alumni. The Alumni chapters on the local, state, and national level support us as FFA members in many ways. Alumni makes the difference by supporting trips to contests or conferences, supporting scholarships, and sharing their experiences. Thank you for volunteering to judge Leadership Developments, fundraising for the FFA, and ensuring FFA members have a wonderful experience

Thank you, to the sponsors. You support the FFA finically and allow students to be recognized for the efforts and talents they possess. You make all opportunities possible finically and make conferences, state convention, and awards possible. All sponsors make an impact on nearly 20,864 FFA members in the state of Wisconsin. Thank you for your support of these members and allowing them the opportunity to experience FFA. Your support as sponsors truly makes the difference, and I am forever grateful.

The supports of FFA make a difference each and in every day in the lives of youth who participate in FFA. Thank you for all that you do to support this organization. I would not be here today without the many supporters that encouraged me in my FFA career. Thank you for all that you do to benefit this organization.

With a heart full of gratitude,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

Share Your Story!
Feb. 19, 2018

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

Each one of us has our own story. Some of us share our story to each person we meet and others don’t always share their story. I am one of those other people not everyone knows my background. Our story makes us who we are so why are we not always willing to share our story. Some of us may be afraid of getting judged, not fitting or just not being accepted for who we are.

This week is a great place to start with sharing your story. Where did you get started with in the FFA? Was it tradition or are you the first in your family? With each unique story told may be the connection that someone just may need to help them get started in the FFA. It could mean being part of the family tradition. Amber is the third generation FFA member in her family. It meant everything for her to have a jacket with her name on it to follow in her father’s footsteps. She worked her way up through out her years in school to then lead her chapter as President senior year.

The beginning of your story could also mean starting a family tradition. Amanda never thought she would join the FFA. She had a friend beg her for years before she considered joining the FFA. Once she joined she fell in Love with it and even ran for a chapter office. She was then able to get her brothers to join and her family involved. The summer after she graduated Amanda got her State Degree.

What people are going to remember you for? As do all of you hope when our time is done in the blue jacket people are going to remember are stories. You tell your story. Why not start now?

Feb. 18, 2018

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Happy FFA Week Everyone!
As the first day of this impactful week comes to a close, I would like to challenge all of you to think about opportunity. What opportunities have been presented to you throughout your years in the FFA, and more importantly why do you value them?

Today, I spent my time delivering beef calves, and as each one was born I couldn’t help but reflect back on the importance of opportunity. You see, the heifer that was giving birth to one of the calves used to be a past show heifer of mine, and I found myself thinking back on all of the opportunities that were presented to me because of this one special heifer. She gave me the chance to value the dedication, patients, and commitment it takes to raise an animal. She showed me that time spent working alongside my family doing what we loved, with who we loved was something to be cherished. She reminded me of the thousands of miles traveled from show to show and moments spent in the show ring. However, the most important opportunity she gave me was the chance to meet, learn from, and build relationships with people from all walks of life. From the industry leaders who took the time to evaluate us in the show ring, the fairgoers who were so willing to learn and ask questions about agriculture, a complete stranger who would wish us well as we prepared ourselves for a show, to a younger member who would look up to us for guidance. Above and beyond everything else, it is the people we meet while we are doing what we love, who change our lives.

As we, as FFA members celebrate this week ahead, let us keep in mind the importance of opportunity. Maybe that looks like a Proficiency Award, Supervised Agricultural Experience, Leadership Development Event, or a Chapter Banquet. Whatever this opportunity is, take the time to appreciate all that goes into making it possible. Think back on the lessons it teaches you, the places it takes you, and the moments it allows you to cherish. But above everything else the opportunity it gives you to share your why with those around you! This genuine act brought forth by opportunity is what leaves a lasting impact for all involved!

With a full heart,
Brooke Brantner

Being a Servant Leader
Feb. 17, 2018

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

The National FFA Organization takes pride in truly living by its motto- “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” However, it was always those last three words that caught my attention. Living to serve. How do we, as FFA members, live to serve? One of the most important aspects of living to serve is being a servant leader. To me, being a servant leader means doing all things, for others. To do this, I follow three simple steps.

First, I change my mindset. Although it is easier said than done, changing our mindset to think about others instead of ourselves is the first and most important step in order to be a servant leader. In our FFA chapters we can do this by making sure every member feels comfortable in the organization. This could be by talking with them in the hallways walking to class, or even staying late after a FFA meeting so they can finish a funny story about their weekend. By going out of our way to make others feel comfortable, we can change our mindset to think about others instead of ourselves.

Second, I write down my specific goals I want to obtain for others. The goals may include something to better yourself, or to lead by example. By writing these goals in a journal, or even in the notes app on your phone, it is a commitment that can be looked back on throughout the year. A few of these goals could be doing two service or volunteer opportunities in the next three months, or it could be as simple as learning not to talk about your own successes. By having specific goals, we are able to keep servant leadership in our minds at all times and achieve those goals and reach the next step of servant leadership.

Finally, the last step I use when attempting to be a servant leader is making observations about where my talents can be used. By knowing our skills, we are able to serve others to the best of our ability. We each have unique skills, but how are we using them to help others? By knowing if we are good at individual conversations, planning events, or presenting workshops, we are able to help our FFA chapters become servant leaders.

During the 2018 National FFA Week, keep in mind the last line of the FFA motto. Keep these three steps in mind and decide what works best for you. How can we Live to Serve? How can we be servant leaders?

Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

Strive to Strengthen Agriculture
Feb. 17, 2018

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter

This past weekend, I and over 200 other FFA members and advisors kicked off National FFA Week by attending the 2018 FFA Farm Forum! Farm Forum is a conference for Wisconsin FFA members in their junior year of high school and is hosted by Wisconsin Farm Bureau. I love the WI FFA Farm Forum, because it truly is revolved around the agricultural industry, learning how we can be effective advocates for agriculture, and discovering our future opportunities within this amazing industry!

This weekend at Farm Forum, we had the opportunity to network with other FFA members, hear from amazing speakers, participate in various workshops and breakout sessions, and we also were able to learn more about the agricultural industry!

As I was traveling back home today, I realized that Farm Forum perfectly correlates with the third part of the FFA Vision Statement: Strengthening Agriculture! This weekend, FFA members learned more about today’s agricultural industry, and they filled their toolboxes to help them become better leaders and agriculturalists. Farm Forum is one of the amazing ways that FFA can, and does, strengthen agriculture!

FFA continues to strengthen agriculture in so many ways, and here are a few of my personal favorites:
1. FFA and Agricultural Education help spark a passion for agriculture in today’s youth, and provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful as our future leaders and agriculturalists.
2. FFA members network with each other, FFA Alumni members, and business and industry professionals, building up and strengthening the agricultural community and increasing communication among agriculturalists.
3. After learning more about agriculture in classes, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, and through FFA workshops and conferences like Farm Forum, FFA members share their knowledge with their peers and communities to help bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.

Food For America, Partners in Active Learning Support, Ag in the Classroom, Community Petting Zoos, networking and professional development opportunities, advocating for agriculture, FFA Farm Forum and so much more! I have had the opportunity to see so many outstanding Wisconsin FFA members and chapters strengthen agriculture!

What are some ways that you and your FFA involvement have helped strengthen agriculture? Whatever they are, continue the great work helping to strengthen our amazing agricultural industry!

Strive to Strengthen Ag,

Can you see it?
Feb. 14, 2018

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

Pop quiz! Who knows the three parts of the National FFA vision statement? If you don’t, you’re not alone. While interviewing as a state officer candidate, I was asked the very same question. And I didn’t know the answer – in my head, I’m thinking, “We have a vision statement?” Yikes. A vision statement is a brief statement that outlines where you want to go in your organization. If everything goes according to plan, your vision will be the end game. So FFA’s vision statement showcases what FFA members will achieve through their involvement in FFA and agricultural education.

But in that particular interview, I didn’t know it. I didn’t know where FFA was going – the vision for FFA members. If we don’t have a vision of where we are going, it’s kind of hard to plan to get there. We might accidentally bump in to it, or have someone put us in the right direction, but when we are trying to intentionally achieve something, it’s kind of important to know what that “something” is. What is your vision? Where do you want to go?

Maybe it is tangible, like winning a tournament, or taking a certain challenging class in school. Or maybe it’s more of a characteristic, where you are working to be more outgoing, to develop your leadership, or to be more service minded.

Knowing where you want to go can guide you to get there. Take your vision, and now make 3 steps that will help you personally get there. Put intention into working to get there, and you will.

And the three parts of the National FFA vision statement?
Growing leaders,
Building communities, and
Strengthening agriculture.
When we are a part of FFA, we go down a path of leadership, building up our communities and agriculture.

Focus on your vision now. Can you see it?

The Dash
Feb. 11, 2018

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

We often think about what others would think if we were gone. What would be our legacy? Would they remember good things? Bad things? I would like to think we are remembered how we live our life. Our core values impressed in the memories of those who have crossed our path. I would also like to think that the legacy we leave behind is not of ourselves but what we have instilled in others. I would like to think that our legacy never truly dies or ends but rather pieces of it are picked up and carried on by different people. The influence we have given to people during our lives remains well beyond our time. We can only hope that we have influenced positively throughout our lives. But why wait until the end of your life to define your legacy?
With each person we cross we have the ability impact them in some way, shape or form. Sometimes we don’t even see how we affect those around us but influence is an ongoing process that never ends. Sometimes words influence, sometimes actions influence and sometimes lack of words and action influences. Remember that there are always people who will look to you for direction. What do you want them to learn from you? What is the legacy you want to leave them with?
As I attended my FFA chapters local Alumni meeting I was reminded of what legacy truly is. This past summer the Luxemburg-Casco FFA Alumni and Luxemburg-Casco FFA unexpectedly lost a great friend, Robert “Bob” Baudhuin. Bob was involved in many community activities and was a strong supporter of agriculture. Bob was also involved in numerous FFA Alumni activities and fundraisers and always went out of his way to support both the FFA and it’s students. Bob has impacted many Luxemburg-Casco agriculture students, including myself. It never seemed to be about where Bob started or ended rather where he spent his time in between. That time is Bob’s legacy. A legacy of family, friends, faith, supporting FFA, agriculture and being welcoming to all. A legacy that lives on in the lives of everyone he has impacted. This past banquet the Luxemburg-Casco FFA Alumni had talked about creating a scholarship in Bob’s honor.
So If you truly want to leave a legacy, leave a legacy in others. In the words of Scotty McCrery “It ain't about the numbers chiseled in concrete, it's about how they lived their lives in the dash between”

Carrying the legacy,
Sam Pinchart

Fail Forward
Feb. 08, 2018

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Today, as I was scrolling through Facebook I came across a Facebook video from Will Smith. In this video he talked about failure. He stated that we need to swarm ourselves in failure and to "Fail Early, Fail often, Fail Forward." How can we fail?

Failing early isn't usually what people think of as a positive aspect. We often choose to avoid failure, but in that time we loose to opportunity to truly succeed. When we fail early, it allows us to succeed and move onto bigger and better failures.

When we fail often it allows is to persevere. The more we fail, the more we succeed. Successful people fail a lot, they fail a lot more than they succeed, but they use that energy and wisdom to go to the next phase of success. Having the ability to fail and try again is a strong attribute to being successful.

Failing forward is my favorite aspect to this quote. It reminds us that failure is a natural aspect in our lives. We need to learn to accept and cherish failure. We need to use our failure to fuel our success.

Failing is a natural aspect in all of our lives. We can either be afraid of failure, prolong it, and fail late; or we can accept and cherish all parts of failure. Swarm yourself in failure, fail early, often, and always fail forward.

Your truly,
Elisha Riley
Section 8
State Treasurer

Generations of coffee
Feb. 04, 2018

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

It’s likely you’ve been told before to, “Respect your elders”. Though we are nothing short of respectful, we often fall short of taking the time to learn from them. Since middle school I have enjoyed going to my local coffee shop in the early afternoon for “Education Hour”, where local farmers from the ages of 55 to 95 hang out. They talk about the future of agriculture, what’s new in the neighborhood and simpler times. Though I know many of there stories word for word having heard them repeated so many times, each visit does bring a new lesson to be learned. This week I had the privilege to attend the funeral of one of the last of these original coffee drinkers. A neighbor and close family friend who had been farming for more than 70 years.
This week I’ve thought about the lessons I could learn from these old farmers, most of whom have passed on over the last few years. As much as I enjoyed their stories and the laughs shared over countless cups of coffee. I think it was the lessons learned that I’ve enjoyed most. Lessons on perseverance, lessons on how to cherish family, what a good day's work is like and most importantly the importance of good friends regardless of competition, age or what color tractors you like.
The stories during education hour were well told, rarely accurate, always entertaining and anything but educational. However, the lessons learned were invaluable. Cherish the elders in your life, start a conversation, learn about them and find out what they can teach you. I know I've enjoyed each moment with those in my life and am thankful I reached out and took the initiative to hear a new perspective.

Samuel Jesse

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