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Officer Profiles

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

Supporting Your Every Step
Feb. 10, 2019

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all have powered through the cold weather and snow! After the District 20 Leadership Development Event contest in Owen-Withee last Wednesday Collin Weltzien and I drove to Madison for CTSO day on Thursday. Arriving at our hotel in the wee hours Thursday morning we slept fast and were ready to go to the capitol to advocate for FFA and agriculture with the rest of the State Officer team. However, like many of you we had a snow day on Thursday. Our day at the capitol with the other Career and Technical Student Organizations including DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, HOSA and Skills USA was canceled due to the poor road conditions caused by the one and only, Mother Nature herself. We spent our snow day reading leadership books, prepping for the State FFA Alumni Convention, Farm Forum and State FFA Convention and we even managed to sneek in a quick nap…shhhhh.

Friday the team traveled to Stevens Point for the Wisconsin State FFA Alumni Convention. As a member of the Granton FFA I have always been fortunate to have a strong FFA Alumni and Supporters group behind me. This weekend along with my team I was able to see what other FFA Alumni and Supporters chapters do to help you, FFA members. We were able to put on workshops teaching the alumni members more about parliamentary procedure and different ways that they can get more involved with their FFA chapters and local members like you. While presenting the workshop focusing on alumni chapter’s involvement with their local FFA chapter my teammates and I found that your FFA Alumni and Supporter members want to be more involved with you as FFA members, but they don’t know how to do so.

As we approach National FFA week I encourage you all to reach out to your Alumni members and not only let them know how much you appreciate them but also tell them more ways that they can be involved with you. Whether that be chaperoning chapter events, assisting you with LDEs and CDEs, helping you start or maintain an SAE, attending your chapter meetings or supporting the chapter fundraisers. This weekend alumni members were told to reach out to you and ask how they can assist you, however, I feel that we as FFA members should take the initiative. We should ask our FFA Alumni and Supporters members to help us when we need it.

Without the Granton FFA Alumni and Supporters chances are I would not be serving you as the Section 7 State Officer this year and I know that I would not be the person that I am today. FFA Alumni was established to support the FFA organization, to help us in our time of need, but they can only help us if they know how. So again, please reach out to your FFA Alumni members for assistance, develop a relationship with them and become a member of the FFA Alumni and Supporters organization. The state officers joined as lifetime members this year, what about you?

If you have any questions please let me know, I am always happy to help! You can call, Facebook message, or email me!

Living to Serve,
Jillian Tyler

Constant Reinvention
Feb. 04, 2019

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Happy 2019! I am not sure how many of us have seen the meme that says: “January was a tough year, but we made it,” but I know I certainly relate! If last month had you feeling a little blah, know that you are not alone!

Have you ever heard the phrase “reinvention?” Reinvention happens on all levels, whether it be with a major company, software, or even ourselves. Reinvention is defined as “the act of an instance of replacing a product with an entirely new version.” Someone once told me that we should strive to reinvent ourselves every 6 months. But what exactly does this mean? I don’t know about you, but I certainly am not changing my hair cut and style every 6 months for the sake of “reinvention,” or trying some new health product to become an “entirely new version of myself.”

Guess what? That is not what reinvention is all about! When we talk about reinvention with ourselves, the focus is how far we can continually push ourselves past our comfort zone, and constantly be learning new things and gaining new skills. Reinvention is a subtle change in thinking and working towards developing a stronger and more positive mindset. It is imagining amazing possibilities for yourself and working towards a hopeful and exciting future. Reinvention adds a new dimension to our lives, as we take on a new chapter that supplements what we have already accomplished. In essence, the reinvention of ourselves is the process of our imagination and creativity acting on experience.

As my teammates and I prepare for our upcoming travels this month to Madison for Career and Technical Student Organization Legislative Day at our state capitol, Stevens Point for State FFA Alumni Convention, Wisconsin Rapids for Farm Forum, and all around our sections and state for National FFA Week festivities, one of our assignments beforehand was to read a leadership book. The book I chose to read was called “RISE: The Jessica Phoenix Story” by Julie Fitz-Gerald. (If you are looking for a good read, I highly recommend this one!) The book tells the story of Canadian Olympian equestrian Jessica Phoenix, and the trials and triumphs she experiences throughout the journey of her sport. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes at the end of chapter 11, and coincidentally talks about reinvention: “Taking what we learn and using it to adjust our approach for better results is the mark of a successful person – and it’s how Jessica has reached the top level of her sport.” I interpreted this as the fact that if we do not take the time for learning, developing, and reinventing ourselves, then we will not reach the top level of anything, either as an FFA member or otherwise.

Even though January has passed and the prime season for New Year’s resolutions is drawing to a close, remember that reinvention can occur at any time. Maybe it’s taking the leap of faith to compete in a new Career Development Event or pushing yourself to serve as a chapter officer. You might set a goal of investing more time in your relationships with others or adapting more healthy habits. Regardless of how you decide to reinvent yourself, remember we have the power to travel beyond our current reality, to a place where we are invited to discover new possibilities. Keep up the great work, and I cannot wait to see you all soon!

Reinvigorating and reinventing,
Ashley

The Little Things
Feb. 02, 2019

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy Groundhog Day!

Brr! After the polar vortex has finally receded, and the world returns to normal, we come back to days where our cars will run, and school will be in session once again. As it happens, cold, snow, rain, whatever it may be, never seems to come exactly when it’s right; it’ll snow when we want to be out with friends, or it’ll rain when we want to soak up the sun. But, what do you do when life doesn’t go your way?

This Thursday, I found myself out in the freezing cold, waiting to load up our hobby beef onto our trailer to take to market. With all of the planning, preparation, and a market date set months in advance, our day seemed to somehow seem to land in the middle of 35 degree below zero weather. As we prepped for cold, kept vehicles warm, and layered up to load our steers on, I couldn’t help but notice that there could have been so many better times to do this than today. Just my luck!

However, what stood out to me about that morning, more than anything, wasn’t the cold or the wind. As I walked down to the barn, the sun had just begun to rise up to shine on us in the valley. The river at the edge of our land was steaming up into the morning sun, as the absolute cold sucked heat from the water and the snow blanketed our fields. Maybe it wasn’t the most fun snow day I remember, but it was sure a beautiful sight. Nothing could beat that view.

The cards we get dealt may not always be what we wish for. We might wish for an easier path, a better time to deal with our duties, or maybe even just wish that the burdens that we hold on our shoulders weren’t there anymore. But we can’t always control those wishes that we have. We can’t control the hand we are dealt. We can control what we make of the cards we are given. As we are given situations in life that don’t seem to fit right, we can pick out the memories that make a life worth living.

Find the little things and love them wholeheartedly.

Stay warm,

Gaelan


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