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The Best Custard
Apr. 24, 2019

Collin Weltzien - President
Arcadia FFA Chapter

What’s your favorite flavor of Culver’s frozen custard?

This past week, I worked with Culver’s on some media promotion of their Scoops of Thanks Day. Scoops of Thanks Day is a day when you can go into your local Culver’s restaurant, donate $1 that goes straight to the local FFA chapter, and receive a scoop of frozen custard. We were doing TV and radio interviews to promote people supporting Culver’s and FFA. Technically, we answered the same four questions on each interview. But during one interview, we got asked a question we didn’t expect: What’s your favorite flavor of custard?

Now, yes, I was doing a Culver’s interview. And, yes, everybody knows that frozen custard is a must when you go to Culver’s. But I hadn’t pre-planned out my answer for it. I hadn’t thought about the best flavor and weighed the pros and cons of each. Despite this change in plans, I still knew my favorite flavor of frozen custard and could answer it (Cappuccino Cookie Crumble).

Whether it’s interview questions changing on you, your schedule at work being switched, your FFA competition not going the way you expected, or something else that changed at the last minute on you, there are a lot of things that pop up and are certainly “not what you expected.” No matter how big or small that change is, it can be frustrating. But that one additional question didn’t mess up our entire interview. In fact, it might have improved it!

“Not what you expected” does not equal bad. “Not what you expected” does not equal failure. It’s different, it may be new, and it may throw you off. But it is not bad.

As we near the end of the school year, begin to get FFA competition results, find out about chapter office, school grades, and more, remember that “not what you expected” does not equal bad. Utilize what happens to grow yourself and keep improving. Get frustrated with the change (go buy yourself some frozen custard as a remedy) and then move on. Enjoy the last few months before our FFA year wraps up. How will you grow from the unexpected?

You can support FFA at your local Culver’s on Scoops of Thanks Day, Thursday, May 2nd.

Not a Fan!
Apr. 21, 2019

Michelle Stangler - Vice President
Watertown FFA Chapter
Section 10

Happy Easter to all! I hope each and every one you had a great weekend celebrating however you do!

This past weekend I had the privilege to attend a Brewer’s game with some of my teammates. It was a wonderful time and also reminded me how long baseball games actually last. As we all got to talking we came to find out that approximately half of us who went would not consider ourselves baseball fans, yet ironically, we all wanted to go. Maybe it wasn’t the ideal sport to be watching for some of us, but we all agreed that being with our friends was far worth the money and time invested into a trip to a Brewer’s game.

Same goes for some of our Easter celebrations: maybe we do not enjoy all of our cousins equally the same or we spend hours in a car with a crabby family, but in the end, being surrounded by the people we care about is worth those minuscule sacrifices.

Maybe we do not get along as well if every on our chapter officer team as we do others or maybe we get a little burnt out after studying for state CDEs each day before school. Our organization, the FFA, is far worth these commitments. Despite how well we all get along, we all have intentions to better the FFA and despite how unpleasant early mornings seem now, we know the impact and contributions we are making to our teams are worth the time.

We all have times, people, and situations we are less fond of then others but we must continue to strive in those areas as well in order to reach what is truly important to us.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!


Future Generations
Apr. 17, 2019

Joe Schlies - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

This past Saturday I had the chance to travel to Brillion for their Ag for a Day Camp. During this day they showcased different facets of agriculture to 3rd through 6th grade students. They invited me to be one of their rotation stations and I was able to bring my beef steers with me to allow the students some hands-on experience with the large animals.

This was an outstanding opportunity to help educate the next generation. From giving them hands on experience to giving the students an understanding of the daily care that goes into farm animals is very important. With many individuals being 2-3 generations removed from the farm events like this are one of the ways FFA chapters can connect with students and show them the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their everyday life. During this particular event I met with three groups of students and got to answer questions and give them a glimpse into the work I do with my beef cattle starting with the care that goes into prepping them for shows. This was a rewarding experience as some of these students will never have the opportunity to be near a beef animal again in their lifetime but in this moment, they were able to get a feel for what agriculture is truly about!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Calaway

Let's Welcome Our Next Speaker
Apr. 14, 2019

Lydia Williams - Reporter
Shawano FFA Chapter
Section 8

One of the best parts of being a state officer is visiting with members like you. As many of my counterparts have shared, this happens at chapter banquets all around the state. Banquet season is amazing for several reasons: it ushers in springtime, it means you can eat lots of mashed potatoes, and it offers members the chance to stand up and speak in front of their friends and family. It is this last reason that is my favorite.

Traditionally, presidents deliver their retiring addresses with eloquence. We hear the confidence in their voices, the product of weeks of preparation and worry. They do a great job, setting a great example for our members. And then there are the other speakers, the ones who haven’t spent weeks worrying about their speeches. A stumble here, or a missed word there, and always a laugh at the realization of their mistakes. These are my favorite speeches.

Don’t get me wrong, presidents and members who so amazingly speak with courage and pride are the gold standard that all students should strive for. And this is why I love the not-so-polished speaker; because they are striving. Every speaker, every member, must start somewhere. No president takes the podium without experience in public speaking. Watching those first words uttered into a microphone is a special feeling. The audience and I have only a guess as to how far these members will go, but we do have the privilege of seeing where they started.

As you attend your own banquet or other events, enjoy the speakers who grab the microphone without hesitation, and don’t forget to appreciate the ones who aren’t the most confidence, because you are witnessing the first steps of a limitless journey.

Thanks for reading. Keep working on your own journey and don’t forget to say thanks to those in your life.

I’ll be seeing you soon,

Live in the Moment
Apr. 11, 2019

Daniel Clark - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Well it seems that we can’t seem to catch a break from mother nature this year, but never the less FFA must go on! This past week I had the opportunity to attend two chapter banquets, Abbotsford on Sunday and Wausau on Wednesday. At both banquets I was privileged to deliver the keynote address and it wasn’t until during one of those banquets that I realized how important the message of my speech is. Looking back just one year to when I was a senior in high school I remember thinking the exact same things that a few senior FFA members said to me in conversation. They spoke about their upcoming graduations, how they were so excited to finally graduate high school and go to college next year. That is when I realized what everyone from FFA members to parents, to alumni, ag teachers and sponsors really needed to hear from me.

Selecting a topic for banquet speeches is not as easy as it seems. There are so many things that I could say and do as a state officer, but how will I know I am saying and doing the right thing? We’ve all been there, when a guest comes to speak at our school or work we feel obligated to listen. Going into banquet season I knew that obligation was exactly the last reason why I wanted banquet attendees to listen to my keynote speech. After mulling around a few different ideas of what I believed you all needed to hear from me as a state officer, I chose to focus on living in the moment.

Living in the moment is something that is not easily done but is something that we must all try to do. We get caught up in everyday life and forget about the big picture, the moments that really matter. Slowing down and having those simple conversations with FFA members while at their banquets is when I realized that we are all guilty of racing through life.

Slow down and enjoy the time we are given doing the things we love, whether that is time spent competing in FFA events, talking with friends and family or even just taking a nap. By slowing down to enjoy the “little things” we are able to capture the memories. Memories we will be able to look back on one day and smile at. “This is something that you don’t fully understand when you are young, and I’m glad you shared the message you did tonight. I believe that young adults like yourself, listen to each other and not us older folks,” an older gentleman shared with me after one of the banquets. From this day forward start living in the moment and share this message with others, that way we can continue making Wisconsin FFA proud.

If you need any help throughout the rest of the year, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Living in the moment,
Jillian Tyler

Preparing for the Next Step
Apr. 08, 2019

Jared Mack - Secretary
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter
Section 6

This past Saturday, the State Officer Candidate Kickoff took place in Madison. This event and one other in Amery take place in the spring to prepare students who are considering running for state FFA office in Wisconsin. The day includes question and answers from current state officers, practicing interviews, workshops, and resume review, to name a few.

As we were working with outstanding students who will potentially represent Wisconsin FFA as the state officer team, I got to thinking just how important preparation and preparedness is for any step in your life, big or small. The students who attended SOCK are preparing for a next big step in their lives, just like we are all preparing ourselves for big steps in the course of our lives. We work each day to build up to important chapters in our lives, whether that be working to earn good grades for a high GPA upon high school graduation or organizing all the details for a successful chapter banquet. Think of each day as a building block to constructing a set of stairs to take that next step in your life.

Whether you may be preparing in the next few months for a competition or opportunity at State FFA Convention (be sure to check out Wisconsin FFA social media for all the latest state convention updates!), or you are working towards developing your plans after high school, taking the time to prepare for that next step is crucial to setting you up your success. Starting small today and working consistently is a great way to prepare your mind for whatever comes along in your next step. With the right mindset and attitude towards preparing ourselves for what our futures hold, we will be content with any outcome.

I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming chapter banquets, state CDEs, other spring events, and finally State FFA Convention. As always, please reach out with any questions or if you just want to chat!

Preparing for a positive outcome,

Barrows and Bidding Numbers
Apr. 03, 2019

Emily Sheehan - Sentinel
Parkview FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy spring everyone,

With the weather heating up, and fair season around the corner, it is almost time again to start finding animals for show. For someone like me, who doesn’t breed his own animals, that means spending weekends hunting for the perfect show animal at auctions and sales across the state to continue my S.A.E.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to grow my own show stock when I went down to a show pig auction at the Rock County Fairgrounds. As I milled through the barn, I made notes on which pigs would fit for my shows, which ones I liked, and my top dollar for those animals come auction time. I made a plan for when to bid and thought I was ready to jump right in. After a bit of waiting, a pulled pork sandwich, and some chit-chat with the breeders, I picked up my bidding number and took a seat waiting for the sale to begin.

As lots rolled in and out of the sale ring, the auctioneer perched himself above the show ring, scanning his eyes back and forth looking for the next bid. His callers were hollering for numbers they saw fly in the air, and pigs would be higher, higher, higher, until the auctioneer yelled “sold!”, and someone walked home with their newest addition to their stock. Now, this auctioneer was going fast. At the start, bids were flying in from all over, until eventually two or three may compete for the best deal on the pig in the ring.

Eventually, the first pig on my list walks into the ring. As the auctioneer sweet talks the pair of barrows in the ring, I get my hand ready to shoot up and bid for this pig. As soon as it starts, the bidding explodes. All of these bids flying in, all of these numbers swirling around, left me in the dust as I got caught up and never raised my hand to bid on that animal. After the bidding quieted down and the auctioneer calls sold, I realize that I was so stuck in everything around me and got so lost that I never even put my name in the running to have the chance to walk away with that barrow.

During this time of the year, with finals, C.D.E. contests, and banquet prep all swirling around us, it is easy to become distracted in everything around us and forget to push ourselves to continue to finish the year strong. Just like in an auction, life can sometimes come at us all at once; however, the only way to have a chance to be involved is to put ourselves out there to be a part of the action. We can push through the craziness that springtime brings us and find the opportunities still out there for us to walk away with. Time is limited. How will you make the most of what’s left?

Bid high,


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