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Always Growing
May. 28, 2019

Collin Weltzien - President
Arcadia FFA Chapter

When I was little, I’d go over to my grandmother’s house a lot. And every once in a while, on special days like Christmas or randomly in the summer, I got to add a line on the wall. There’s a door jam that has tick marks that have been etched in with pencil. Beside each mark is a name and the date the mark was made. It was a growth chart on the wall – the names were not only mine, but also my dad and all his siblings while they were growing up.

As I was growing up, I loved seeing how tall I was compared to my uncles and aunts when they were my age. I’d find all the lines on the wall close to my measurement and look at what years they were from. But I also loved seeing the lines from when I was younger. Was I really that short when I was six? While this growth chart is a simple way to keep track of how big your kids and grandkids are, I think there’s real world applications, too:

As we grow, we are constantly leaving marks where we have stood. Think of the places you spend the most time: whether it’s the agriculture room, your home, where you practice sports, in the field, or the band room. Who has been impacted because of the time you spent in those places? How can you ensure that you take actions that make a positive difference in others’ lives, everywhere you go?

We’re also always comparing our growth to others – like I did with my aunts and uncles. How can you harness that competitiveness to grow yourself? Others can be your motivation to get better, but how do you make sure that you don’t get bitter through that competition? If we sit back and get upset rather than intentionally taking opportunities to grow ourselves, we simply won’t grow.

Amidst all that competition, it’s nice to take a moment to look at how you’ve grown. Think of who you were when you first joined FFA – whether that was 2 months or 2 years ago. Are your speaking skills different? Have you been more places? Are you a better leader? However you have grown recently, that is where the joy comes from. Find fulfillment in your growth – and in how much you can still grow.

I loved when I got to make a mark on my grandmother’s wall and label it with my name. Enjoy when you get to make a mark and call it yours. And look forward to all the future times you’ll make a mark.

Grow. Because you want to make your mark. Because of the competition. And because growth is fulfilling.

Always growing,

What if This is Your Legacy?
May. 27, 2019

Michelle Stangler - Vice President
Watertown FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As it is the end of May, we are nearing State FFA Convention; which is scary but exciting, nerve-racking but astonishing and insane but very real. I think back to where my teammates and I were last year at this time. I recall sitting at my kitchen table for hours, writing and rewriting example speeches, researching and memorizing events that chapters put on, but I most vividly remember spending many nights unable to fall asleep due to the butterflies in my stomach.

"What if I got a topic I was less comfortable with?"; "What if I choked in an interview?"; "What if I lost?"

These “what ifs” kept me up at night. Those questions will always run through our mind when we care about something. Whether we are competing in a speaking contest, have made the finals in our proficiency awards, were selected as a Star finalist or we are running for state office, there will always be those “what ifs.” To all those who are competing at convention, embrace those “ what if” questions.

Our “what if” thoughts go both ways, “What if I get my favorite topic”, “What if I win?,” “What if I ace all my answers?”

We must prepare ourselves for all “what if” situations. State Convention is a time for YOU to shine. This year my teammates and I had the honor of meeting thousands of members, learning about your special skills and interests; you are talented, individualistic, and our team has confidence in you.

What if this is your legacy?



The Final Countdown...
May. 25, 2019

Joe Schlies - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

As State Convention approaches the state officers are going through the final preparations in making sure we are celebrating Wisconsin FFA members accomplishments to the best of our ability. With just returning home from script reading and convention workdays we are ready to celebrate with all of you all that has been accomplished throughout the year. Now as our year as state officers reaches an end, we are preparing to pass the torch to a new team.

In just over two weeks we will be handing our positions over to a new team to travel and represent Wisconsin FFA for the upcoming year. However, before we can hand over the torch, we have 7 sessions to put on and many awards to hand out at the 90th Wisconsin FFA Convention. This year is a very important year when it comes to milestones and we have two that stand out to me that I would like to highlight. The first is that we have reached our 90th state convention and we have been celebrating members accomplishments for 90 years and we have no plan on stopping any time soon. The second hits close to home for many of us it is that this is the 50th year that women have been allowed in the FFA. That’s right 50 years ago many of us were not allowed to join an organization that has touched many of our lives.

As we approach state convention remember these milestones as we are about to create more history at this year’s convention, and you are a part of that. We will celebrate many accomplishments and as we prepare for the final weeks, we look forward to seeing all of you at convention!

If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Calaway

To Whom it May Concern...
May. 22, 2019

Lydia Williams - Reporter
Shawano FFA Chapter
Section 8

Two Weeks, Five Days. We are in the final countdown to the 90th State Convention of the Wisconsin Association of FFA!!!

Our contestants are making their final preparations, our chapters wait nervously to hear their National Chapter results, and a special group of members are preparing to try and become a part of the Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team. One year ago, this was me. I was living in Madison, working for the university during the day and spending my nights studying Quizlets and literature about the State Officer election office. Long story short, I am now preparing for State Convention in a very different way. During this preparation process, I have come across some interesting historical items.

The first of these items was a binder from 2013. It contained the details for the 2013 State Convention Day of Service along with some other odds and ends. I flipped through the pages and read some of the details. Not a lot has changed when it comes to planning, but I did chuckle at some of the fonts that were used.

The second item was an old envelope addressed to a former Section 8 State Officer. The name of the recipient wasn’t what interested me, it was the name of the sender. This envelope was sent by a former Antigo FFA Advisor, who also happens to be my mother. To see your old address on a five-year-old envelop that was sent to the then state officer was a strange experience. And this got me thinking.

The items that I discovered have had quite the history; traveling from city to city and chapter to chapter and officer to officer. There was no way that the person who put together that binder in 2013 would imagine that I would open it up in 2019. That envelop should have gone into the garbage shortly after opening but for some reason, it ended up in the bottom of a forgotten folder.

These relics fascinate me for three reasons: they are obscure, improbable to be found, and are part of a legacy.

Neither of these creators could imagine where these items would end up. Similarly, none of us today can imagine exactly how our actions will be felt years from now. A thank you note may bring a smile to someone’s face a year after opening, a scrapbook may help a member reminisce years after graduation, even an old, dirty envelop may inspire a blog post 5 years from now.

Whatever the case may be, our actions are creating real, tangible legacies every day. It is a responsibility of ours to do our best to ensure that these legacies serve our friends, help our neighbors, or even inspire unknown strangers. You never know who may come across it.

Thanks for following along this year. I look forward to seeing you all at State Convention.

Thanks Again,
Mitchell Schroepfer

Convention Awaits
May. 17, 2019

Daniel Clark - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello again! I hope banquet season went well for you, I attended my last banquet earlier this week. What is next on your plate? Finals? Graduation? Summer orientation? In the life of a State Officer, State Convention is next up on our plate!

The State Officer team is full steam ahead with convention planning and preparations. Today is the start of script reading and workdays for the team. We are busy putting the finishing touches on session scripts and many other projects, writing thank you notes and many other things. State Convention may seem like a giant party, but in reality, there is a lot work that goes into convention. Since January we have been working to contact workshop presenters, judges, speakers, convention expo exhibitors and others all to make the 2018-2019 State FFA Convention the best it can possibly be!

Mahatma Gandhi put it best when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I hope that you all choose to lose yourself with us and kick off State Convention, Monday June 10 by participating in the annual Day of Service. From the Day of Service we move to Tuesday, when we will have sessions one, two and three and recognize members that participated in essay contests, leadership development events and those applied for proficiency awards as well as thanking our foundation sponsors in session three. At the conclusion of session three, we will be rocking out at the Chris Kroeze concert which was graciously sponsored by Culver’s. Be sure to thank them for their continued support of the FFA organization!

Wednesday morning is going to be a BLAST, because Amber Patterson and I will be chairing session four where we are able to recognize chapters that have increased their membership and the winners of the Career Development Events Contest. In this session we will also meet the State Officer Candidates! Don’t worry, after session four the fun does not stop! The grand opening of the convention expo happens immediately after session four. At the expo you can visit with different sponsors and colleges and there is one surprise that I guarantee you will not want to miss out on, so be sure to attend!

Moving to session five Wednesday afternoon, many members will receive their State FFA degrees, the highest award the Wisconsin Association of FFA can bestow upon its members. The sixth general session, Wednesday night, is jam packed! We honor individuals who have dedicated themselves to our organization, present the Stars Over Wisconsin and announce the 2019-2020 State FFA Officer team! Session seven on Thursday concludes State Convention. We will recognize the State FFA Band and Chorus, award the winners of the scrapbook competition, hear from Amelia Hayden, retiring State President, and induct the 2019-2020 State Officer team.

Looking at everything above it seems like there is a lot to do, but we do no stop there. I will be the first person to tell you that sometimes the sessions get a little long. That is why on Tuesday and Wednesday there will be many, many workshops and tours available for you to attend! So don’t hesitate! Ask your advisor about participating in the Day of Service, attending workshops and going on tours. In order to take part in some of these things you need to reserve your spot, and you would be silly not to!

I can’t wait to see you all at State Convention in just a few short weeks! Until then, if you need anything I am always here to help!

See you soon,
Jillian Tyler

Think Small, Dream Big
May. 12, 2019

Jared Mack - Secretary
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter
Section 6

Have you ever had a conversation that just sticks with you? A great conversation can occur when you least expect it and can sometimes have the greatest impact long after the interaction ends. About a month ago, I attended the World Food Prize at UW-Madison. For those of us who have never even heard of this event, the World Food Prize provides a chance for students, teachers, and hunger fighters to meet on global hunger and food insecurity issues and discuss plausible solutions to these problems. This provides a great learning opportunity for both students and teachers alike, and it was wonderful to see so many FFA members from all across the state in attendance at this year’s World Food Prize.

As a group of us was walking back from a campus tour, an FFA advisor came up beside me and asked how my year was going, and then proceeded to ask me what my plans are for next year and what my eventual career goals are. In response to the career goals question, I answered that I hope to work for a major agricultural company such as Cargill or Syngenta as a public relations or communications specialist. She then asked me one more question: “Why do you need to go so big when you can have an even greater impact starting small?”

This question literally stopped me in my tracks as I really thought about a response. Why do I think I want to work for such a large company in the future? What kind of impact do I think I can have on such a large scale? This question and these thoughts were especially relevant as the World Food Prize had us all thinking on a very large and global scale, but I think we must first start thinking small in order to have the largest impact on others.

All too often, I think we get caught up in the big dreams we have for ourselves and our goals for the future, when really, we must first think small in order for our dreams to become a reality. When we think about what we can do at the small, local level in order to make a difference, the possibilities are virtually endless when you consider volunteer opportunities, starting a non-profit organization, or mentoring a person in your local community. These ideas may eventually reach up all the way to the top level like many of us envision, but it is first about changing our mindsets to think small with big dreams that follow.

I want to thank the FFA advisor that I talked with that day for the life-changing conversation we had, and I encourage you all to continue thinking about the impact you can make at the small, local level with big dreams for the future! I cannot wait to see so many of you at State Convention in about a month, and let me know if you need anything in the meantime!

Thinking small and dreaming big,

The Art of Upselling
May. 11, 2019

Emily Sheehan - Sentinel
Parkview FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello again,

Plants being sold, hanging baskets hung, greenhouse doors wide open, and sales skills fine-tuned: Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen plant sales with FFA chapters pop up all over my area in time for a nice present this Mother’s Day. Since then, even with a limited knowledge of plants, I’ve joined some FFA chapters as they start their last fundraiser of the year to help out and buy my own plants for the year.

Throughout these sales, I had an idea of what plants I needed to get, but the list was slim: some red petunias, white petunias, and whatever inpatients that I could find. However, as I went from greenhouse to greenhouse, some smooth-talking FFA member or advisor would convince me right before checkout that there were a few more items that I could go with. So, I added onto my list, tacking on basil, a jade plant, and a spider plant. Even though I didn’t walk in needing them, how could I say no to a plant that was 50 cents or a dollar? That thinking made me buy into the art of upselling.

Upselling, for those who were never in the Ag Sales CDE like me, is fairly straightforward: you make a sale more profitable by tacking on extra items to the original list for the customer. While with the Edgerton FFA, I saw their advisor upselling bags of soil mix, flower pots, you name it to others as they were about to check out. He had made an art out of taking a good sale and making it even better so everyone would win. The customer came home with more to start their garden with, and he made more profit off of a single sale. He took a small moment and upsold it into a large gain.

As summer begins to roll around, sometimes we may be given opportunities to start upselling moments and accomplishments in our own lives to make the most out of each experience. For some, we are about to attend one of our last FFA meetings as a high school FFA member. For others, we are about to start a new experience as a chapter officer, or as a high schooler. Now is the time to begin upselling our own experiences and make the most out of the time we have left this year. Make that upsell in your life by making a friend with someone new in your FFA chapter or create a new goal to accomplish as an officer for your year. Take the time to upsell your time left in your classes by paying attention and getting the most out of your last lectures. We only have so much time left; however, by taking these experiences and making the most out of them, we can upsell our own lives and make a good year into a great one.

Until next time,

Enjoy every moment
May. 08, 2019

Grace Morrissey - Vice President
Shullsburg FFA Chapter
Section 4

Are you living your best life? Or do you need a second chance to go back and change some days? I know my answer is yes, but we only get one chance. When I was in high school I can remember always wanting an event to come, but then when the event came I would wish it was over. One of the big events I prepared was our chapters banquet. Myself and the officer team would work for many hours writing the script, contacting local businesses for donations, and organizing all the awards. As it came closer to the day I would become super stressed since I pushed everything I was doing off until the last minute. Finally banquet day had arrived and I always remember saying, “I cannot wait for this to be over”. Now that I am 3 years being done with chapter banquet planning I look back and realize everything I learned through the planning days, such as the life chats with my teammates or how much organization helps. I can honestly say that I really wasn’t “present” in the moment of banquet planning.
Now as a state officer I still catch myself frequently wishing some events were over already and not being in the present, whether it be with my personal family or FFA family. It wasn’t until the end of November that this issue really sunk in. I had just completed a chapter visit and looked at my phone. I had many missed calls and texts from people asking where I was and what I was doing. I was hesitant to respond, but when I did I was given the news that my best friend had been in a bad accident and was being med flighted to Madison. I immediately thought of the worst as I sat in the office waiting for a ride. Many questions came to mind as I thought about the past 10 years of our friendship, “Was I mentally present or has my mind been wandering?” “Did I appreciate the time we spent together?”
Fast forward to now and I find myself with members, parents, and supporters of FFA and those same questions come to mind. Instead of 10 years I only have 1! 1 year to leave an impact and not have to worry about being accepted for you I really am. As we sit here today celebrating accomplishments of the Chapter can we truly say we are present and enjoying the moments spent together? Many times, we catch our minds wondering to questions such as how late you’re going to be up doing homework tonight, what you are going to do at work tomorrow, or who is going to win the sporting event. I will be the first to admit I let my mind wander during many events, but how do we get ourselves back to living in the moment? We each must find our own way to being present, I have now realized how fast your life can change and never know when the last time could be talking to a certain person or being at a certain event may be.
It is time for us to stop pulling on the past that cannot be changed and start living the best life. I challenge all of you to not wait for something tragic to happen before you start enjoying the moment and being present. I almost lost my best friend November 27th and that was what it took for me to start being present in the moment. Your FFA career will be over before you realize it, enjoy every moment and be in the present in the time you have left to leave an impact.

It Will All Work Out in the End
May. 05, 2019

Curtis Weltzien - Treasurer
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hello once again,

As our school and FFA years wind down the home stretch, the sun regains its warming powers, and farmers head back out to the fields, I’m sure many of you can taste the nearby onset of summer as vividly as I can! This past week was among the busiest of my semester. Between multiple exams and class projects, fitting in a chapter visit, and attending a few different banquets throughout my section, I remember thinking to myself on Monday: “How on earth am I going to make it through this week?”. I began to feel overwhelmed by my seemingly never-ending to-do list and pitied myself for the minimal time I’d have to fit it all in. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard the voice from inside tell me, “Relax Collin. It will all work out in the end. It always does.”

And sure enough, it did. All my exams went well, and I had an absolute blast visiting with FFA members at each of the chapter events. I was certainly exhausted by the end of it, but that made the accomplishment of completing everything on the list that much more rewarding. We’re often capable of much more than our brains like to tell us initially. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves and stress out when the road turns uphill. But in reality, that doesn’t do any good. By crossing things off our lists one item at a time and adding in a little grit here and there, we can often push ourselves beyond what we find imaginable. Somehow, someway, we always find a way to get things done.

As we begin to cram for our final weeks of school and pressure ourselves about some final FFA events coming together, try to remind yourself to take a deep breath and remember that “it will all work out in the end.” Have faith that your work ethic, dedication, and commitment will pay off, and I promise you will find a way to complete any daunting tasks the end of the year throws at you! Best of luck in the remainder of the school and FFA years and for heaven’s sake, get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

See you soon,

Our Future
May. 01, 2019

Lindsey Augustine - Vice President
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

This past weekend members from across the state traveled to Madison where they were able to compete in Career Development Events (CDEs). Many of these students put in long hours studying and preparing in and out of ag class. CDEs are one way FFA members can prepare themselves for their futures. While the career you are interested in may not be directly related to your CDE we are each able to learn something new that can be applied to our lives later on. Maybe you are not interested in working in agriculture, but want to be a nurse or doctor someday. Competing in a CDE like vet science gives you the opportunity to learn about and identify tools used in veterinary practices, but some are used in health care for humans as well. Maybe you are in livestock evaluation, and while you don't plan to judge any shows in the future, you are able to work on your speaking and presentation skills when you deliver a set of reasons. Find a CDE or opportunity in FFA with the goal of gaining skills you are able to transfer to your future weather that be to help you gain knowledge for your career or maybe a class you hope to take later in high school or in college. The opportunities in FFA to prepare us for our futures beyond the blue jacket are limitless!

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