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Trying Something New
Apr. 25, 2017

Ashley Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. This is a quote that most FFA members live by whether they realize it or not.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to attend eight banquets all of which have been nothing short of amazing! I have loved getting to see the different banquet programs from these chapters. I have seen everything from Alumni support during an auction, FFA chapters celebrating anniversaries, to a legit FFA rap! These members truly love what they do and do what they love! These FFA members have shown what a decision to try can really do.

On Monday night, I had the opportunity to attend the Auburndale FFA banquet. This year is a special year for their chapter as they are celebrating 80 years! During the banquet the officers noted some huge highlights of their chapter since their charter. It was amazing to see so many supporters and Alumni for their chapter at the banquet celebrating these milestones with them. These FFA members who are accomplishing their goals today is because of the members who made the decision to try chartering a new FFA chapter in 1937.

Many times, advisors talk about their members who are receiving an award or retiring from an officer position. Advisors always say how that member who started out as a shy middle or high school student decided to try something new whether it was joining the quiz bowl team or running for chapter office.

It is amazing to see so many new members receiving their first FFA degree pins or recognition for competing in their first competitions. They are the members who are creating a strong future for the FFA and will continue their strong chapter traditions. These new members eventually transform into high school seniors receiving their senior medals, retiring chapter officer plaques, and ultimately putting on official dress for one of the last times.

Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. So whether you are just starting in FFA or closing in on your last couple of months as a high school member every accomplishment that you have received is because you made the decision to try out being a member of the FFA.

Forever True. Forever Blue.
Ashley Zimmerman
Wisconsin FFA Vice President

Changing the Guard
Apr. 23, 2017

Hannah Taylor - Reporter
Poynette FFA Chapter
Section 6

A few years ago I went to Washington DC with my high school band. We got to see lots of amazing sights, but one that will always stick with me is watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. What struck me most was the pride and honor with which the soldiers pass on their duty.

I was recently able to attend the Mauston FFA Banquet and hear one of their advisors, Mr. Hines, give one last thank you speech as he retires after 39 years of teaching Ag. When he talked about the new generation taking over, he referred to it as the “Changing of the Guard.” These words automatically brought back the image of the soldiers passing on their sacred duty with such pride.

We have all heard many times about the aging farmer and what that means for agriculture. According to the Department of Labor, the average age of a farmer in the US is 58 years old. We may also know that many Ag teachers like Mr. Hines are getting ready to retire and hand their positions over to the next generation. I have thought of these issues many times, but hearing Mr. Hines refer to it as “Changing of the Guard” gave it a whole new meaning.

Of course passing on our duties in agriculture should be taken with honor and pride. It is our job to keep people safe and healthy through a secure and bountiful food supply. Whether it means coming back home to take over the family farm or getting certified to teach agriculture and continuing the legacy that our own Ag teachers have upheld, it is going to soon be our turn to take over. So as we look forward to taking on those valued responsibilities we should always bear in mind the pride with which we serve and strive to reach the standards that past generations have set for us.

Thank you so much to Mr. Hines and all the retiring ag teachers and farmers, for all you have done and continue to do for not only the agriculture industry, but for the whole world in effect.

Forever blue. Forever true,
Hannah Taylor

Don't Blink
Apr. 19, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - Vice President
Clinton FFA Chapter
Section 5

One thing about my year as a State Officer is that it has been filled with many car rides. Driving to and from Chapter Visits, leadership conferences, and now banquets, I have spent many miles on the road. And honestly, I have learned to love car rides as my car rides are always filled with many good karaoke jam sessions and a lot of quality time to think and reflect.

Just over a week ago, on my way home from the Belleville FFA Banquet, one of my favorite throwback songs came on the radio: “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney. I use to just think this song had a good sound and a great story. But suddenly when I heard it again that Sunday night, this song really stuck with me and gained a whole new meaning.

As I was singing along, “I've been trying to slow it down. I've been trying to take it in. In this here today gone tomorrow world we're living in. Don’t blink,” those lyrics really stuck with me.

It’s banquet season in the FFA world which means we are quickly approaching the end of the school year and the end to yet another year in Wisconsin FFA. Being in the banquet mindset and hearing this song, I couldn’t help but connect it with my last year. It seems like just yesterday when my teammates and I were introduced as State Officers at the 2016 Wisconsin FFA Convention. Like it was just yesterday when we starting meeting all of the amazing Wisconsin FFA members at Sectional Leadership Workshops and chapter visits. And like it was just yesterday when we celebrated National FFA Week. But now we are less than two months away from the 2017 Wisconsin FFA Convention! So much has happened within the last year, it really is amazing!

No matter how small, every single moment and every memory this last year with FFA, especially those spent with Wisconsin FFA members and supporters, really has been a blessing, and it all really has gone by extremely fast.

So as we prepare to turn the page on this FFA year, let’s remember to stop and take a moment to look back on all the great times. Stop and take the time to cherish the moment. Stop and take a moment to listen to the music, because you never know what you may learn from it. Whether it’s “Don’t Blink,” “Fast,” “You’re Gonna Miss This” or another classic, there really are so many great songs that remind us to take a moment to stop and cherish the moment you’re in.

Kenny Chesney couldn’t have said it better, because looking back, it goes by a lot faster than you think. It really does go fast, but we can slow it down by taking that time to appreciate the little things.

Don’t Blink,

Thank You Seniors.
Apr. 18, 2017

Kari Fischer - Parliamentarian
Argyle FFA Chapter
Section 4

Happy April Wisconsin FFA!

I hope every single one of you had a fabulous Easter and a nice, relaxing break from school. Now, during this break, we probably ALL saw how beautiful it was outside, right? 60 degrees, sunny, and just so nice out that we didn’t want to go back to school at all though. But, whether it was Monday, Tuesday, or whatever other day, we all found ourselves sitting back at school in our desks again. You see, you all have something that I called the “Pre-Summer Jitters” when I was in high school. Our thoughts loom towards the many adventures that we’ll be having this summer with our friends, the money that we’ll be making during our summer jobs, and how relaxed and stress free the next few months will be. But remember FFA students to “be all there” these next few weeks in school. Being an active FFA member is a precious, short amount of time. Some of us may have six years total, some four, but either way we should be living in the moment and appreciating the time that we have now in our local FFA chapters, because we’re never going to get that time back. As a high school freshman, sophomore, and junior, I never realized how precious and important those moments were until my senior year, and I bet that’s what a lot of high school seniors are thinking now. So, with that thought, I want to send a huge thank you to our senior leaders out in our FFA chapters. For some, you may have been involved since 7th grade, or maybe you just joined this year, but either way you have created a lasting impact on your FFA chapter that will last for years to come. You’ve spent countless hours assisting your FFA advisor with tasks, drummed up thousands of dollars in sales for your Fruit Sales, and won a few awards along the way. You have all made the Wisconsin FFA so much more amazing and successful and I wish you all the best on your future endeavors, whether that’s in the agriculture industry or not. Just remember that FFA has prepared you with the skills and talents needed to succeed in your future career. So seniors and Wisconsin FFA, enjoy your last month of May and make it one that will be remembered for a lifetime.

May the Force Be With You,

Kari Fischer

Leading on to Others
Apr. 12, 2017

Laura Munger - Secretary
Holmen FFA Chapter
Section 3

This past Monday, Ashley and I had the chance to attend the World Food Prize in Madison. During this event, high school students were able to come together and present their solution for one factor that challenges a specific country. Students brought forth ideas from vertical farming, incorporating agricultural technology, and increasing means of education into our society. The discussion was fascinating, and the ideas would be able to impact the lives of so many people around the world.

As I was observing the presentations, one girl's story pulled on my heartstrings a little more than the others. Veronica told her story about her childhood in Ukraine during the civil war and tension that has threatened the lives of millions. Veronica told us about how her country's capitol was bombed only thirty minutes from her house. She told us of the fear many Ukrainians live with every day, the hoops they have to jump through for basic survival necessities, and the inability to confidently fight back because of the lack of education.

Veronica's eyes glistened with emotions as she talked about her home country and the turmoil they live in. She gushed over her chance to come to the United States to attend school for a few months as an exchange student. She talked about how she learned about so much more than the basic subjects in her classes. She was first exposed to the concept of volunteering, which she hadn't heard of before. Veronica explained how she found her voice through the community service, Leadership Development Events, and chapter activities she participated in through her school's FFA chapter. Veronica had seen two completely different worlds within the two countries, and was determined to close the gap between them.

Veronica's World Food Prize plan was to help more people benefit from the exchange program. She hoped that they will be able to return to their country and help educate others in their community about how they can help end the turmoil. Veronica became a leader and gained a voice and has developed a goal of helping others do the same.

Show Off Those Mad Skills!
Apr. 08, 2017

Caleb Green - Vice President
Stanley-Boyd FFA Chapter
Section 2

With Regional Career Development Events in the books and the State contest right around the corner, I have learned something great: Wisconsin FFA members have some mad skills. From agronomy to wildlife, our members have some outstanding skill and knowledge of the CDEs they participate in. It truly is something special.

Have you ever seen a livestock, horse, or dairy cattle CDE competitor give oral reasons? It is spectacular. They really know how to use their vocabulary and knowledge of the area to put together some convincing reasons. I really encourage you to check it out.

How about watching a floriculture participant put together an arrangement? Definitely impressive. Knowing where to place the flowers along with the knowledge of the flower general is fascinating.

Another impressive event is my personal favorite in the forestry CDE. Seeing members find DBH, merchantable height, and even pacing between points, for sure astounding. They really know how to work with all of the different tools a forester would need.

I have seen all of this and more in just the regional contests. I can't wait to see the improvement to be made for the State contest in Madison. If you have never tried a CDE before, I definitely recommend it. Keep on working hard and striving for greatness.

Until next time,
Caleb Green
Wisconsin FFA State Vice President

Attitude Is Everything
Apr. 05, 2017

Rylee Black - Treasurer
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

The other day, my friend Libby told me a story that really resonated with me. It was more of a parable than a story. Libby is just one of those people who has a story to teach any lesson. I'm still not sure if she has an old soul or just watches too many TED talks. Anyway, the following is the story she told me:

There was a woman with beautiful, luscious locks of hair. She was very proud of her hair. One night, she went to bed. When she awoke, she had only three hairs left on her head. Instead of freaking out and becoming upset about the loss of her beautiful hair, she said, "I was planning to try wearing my hair in a braid today anyway!"

The next day, she awoke again but only had two hairs left on her head. Again, she did not get upset. Instead, she said, "I guess I'll try a middle part today!"

On the third day she woke up with only one hair left on her head. She still did not get mad or freak out. She simply said, "This will be the easiest ponytail ever!" and went on with her day.

Finally, she woke up again with no hairs left. For pretty much every girl and even most guys, waking up bald would be one of the most horrifying things they could think of. This girl however, decided to say, "I'll never have a bad hair day again!"

Attitude is everything. We ultimately have control of our lives. We can't impact everything. It's unrealistic to think that aren't outside factors that we can't influence, but how we react is what makes the biggest difference. The saying goes, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. We all have the ability to remain optimistic and to keep on moving, even during the most challenging of times.

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