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Officer Profiles

Tips for the Best Summer EVER!
Jul. 26, 2017

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hey hey hey, Wisconsin FFA! What’s good? Summer is flying by! It feels like just yesterday we were all at State Convention and now it's almost the beginning of August! Now that summer is more than halfway over, let take a second to reflect on all of the fun times we have had thus far…bailing hay, walking livestock, weeding the garden, working. Not all the fun things you wanted to do this summer? Here’s a few helpful hints to make the most out of what's left of summer!

1. Go for a Walk: There’s nothing more relaxing about summer than walking down a back road with crops on both sides, listening to birds gently sing their songs, while watching the sunset go down in front of you. It’s the perfect time to cool off from the heat of the day, reflect on the work you accomplished, and think of the fun things to do tomorrow!
2. Swimming!: Who doesn't love a nice cool swim after a hot, sweaty day of baling hay, or working hard at your job? If you haven't hit the lakes, or rivers, or ponds, or pools yet, you're missing out and NEED to do that as soon as possible! Take a night off and float the waters with the FFAmily!
3. Trek on down to a County Fair: No, I don't mean the ones you exhibit at either. Take a day off to be a fair-goer for once! Take a walk through all the barns, see all the animals, and ride all of the rides. We don't get to this often, and “fair season” is usually a time for early mornings, long days, and short nights. Attending one relieves that stress, and it’s actually tons of fun! Plus it's always fun to check out what fellow “ag junkies” like us are doing from different areas!
4. Campfires: Cozying up with a blanket in a lawn chair with friends is a great way to make the best of summer! Campfires are great for warmth and the flames are mesmerizing as you stare into the fire. If you haven't done this go-to summer fun, grab some logs and kindling and get started NOW! P.S. FFA campfires are dabomb.com!
5. Road Trips!: Summer is the perfect time for road trips to unknown destinations! Whether your trip is one day or one week long, taking time to explore the scenery around you and make memories with your best friends is an absolute must! I know we have all dreamed of taking that spontaneous trip with our best FFA buddies and truckin’ it to the middle of nowhere; well this is your time to do it!

Let's make this clear: Summer is almost over! Don’t spend all of your time working hard and doing chores, go and make the most of what's left of summer. Escape from the busy life if agriculturists and create memories that will last a lifetime! I can't wait to see all of you at the Wisconsin State Fair, County Fairs, and at Sectional Leadership Workshops. I hope you take my advice and try and make as many memories as possible before those school doors open and it's back to the books!

Section 8 Signing out,

Elisha Riley

The Road That Leads You Home
Jul. 25, 2017

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Wisconsin FFA,

During my most recent time at home I was able to attend the Owen Junior Fair. It was great to see old friends and classmates and meet new people. At the fair, the Owen-Withee FFA displayed their tractor restoration project and had a booth highlighting their accomplishments of the past years. It was great seeing some of the accomplishments that the Chapter has made in their short 5 years since their revival and I am proud to have been there since the start of the recharter of the Owen-Withee FFA Chapter my freshman year of high school.

Part of the festivities on Sunday included the pulled pork dinner put on by the Owen-Withee FFA Alumni Chapter. It was great to see the alumni members working together with FFA chapter members. I truly appreciate the hard work that they do to support the FFA members and Chapter. Their kindness and giving many times go unnoticed, but as FFA members we need to take a step back from our own excitement and think about the alumni and the effort they put into supporting us and that allows us to have amazing experiences in our organization. Our success as FFA members is finding out what our home base is, whether that be our FFA Alumni Chapter, FFA Chapter, Advisor, community member or parents. Once we find our home base and the people that are biggest supporters we are able to make a bigger impact in the lives of others and accomplish more in this organization and in the world.

It is has been exciting traveling across the state with my teammates but the most exciting road to turn on is the road that leads you home and to those supporters that make up your home base.

Who is your home base and what road is going to lead you back to them?

-Kathryn Lampi

Account-uh-bil-uh-buddies?
Jul. 20, 2017

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

What's good Wisconsin FFA?
A few weeks ago at the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO) in Springfield Illinois, my fellow officers and I were walking into the session when they asked us to form a giant group huddle with the Illinois and Indiana state officers. Everyone was a little curious about what was going on, but nobody asked questions until a song began playing. Not just any song, but the Chicago bulls warm up song, the most dramatic song in the history of ever. Instantly my heart began racing as I was drawn back to the last time I heard that song. Wednesday night of state convention, the night the 2017-2018 state officers were announced. So I’m freaking out, when David Townsend, the national FFA president, jumps on a chair and starts announcing…. “From the state of Wisconsin, Meikah Dado and Brooke Brantner! Ciara Koboski and Morgan Fitzsimmons! At this point, my heart rate is at about 200. I am freaking out, next he says, “Liz Grady and Sam Jesse!”. Liz and I run to the front and join in on the swaying line as the rest of the officers are announced.
At the conclusion of these dramatic announcements, we were told that these partners would be our account-uh-bil-uh-buddies! Now you may be wondering, what is an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy? I too was curious, but was quickly informed that an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy is someone who holds you accountable, but is also your buddy, hence the creative name. But account-uh-bil-uh-buddies aren't just for state officers. I want to encourage each and every FFA member to find themselves an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy.

First off, an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy is someone you can be open and honest with about anything. Somebody who you can confide in. This could be a fellow FFA member, a parent, mentor or a friend.
Next, an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy is someone who can remind you of deadlines! If you're anything like me, you may forget things once in awhile, and having somebody to remind you of these dates can be a real help!
Finally, an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy is someone who will become a reliable friend. Somebody who will help to keep you in line, and someone you can share a laugh with. But remember account-uh-bil-uh-buddies are only effective if the relationship is mutual.

Ultimately, the announcement of the account-uh-bil-uh-buddies was worth the drama. Account-uh-bil-uh-buddies are awesome. I encourage you to take this concept back to your chapters and find yourself an account-uh-bil-uh-buddy!!!

If you have any questions about account-uh-bil-uh-buddies feel free to email me @ sjesse@wisconsinffa.org or follow me on facebook!

Samuel Jesse

What have we been up to?
Jul. 19, 2017

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hey, hey Wisconsin FFA! I can’t believe it has already been a month since convention. Your state officer team has been keeping busy, starting out with three weeks of training. First was Blast Off where were learned more about the role as a state officer, our individual strengths as well as leadership and professionalism. Next, we joined the Agriculture Education teachers in Appleton for the WAAE Conference. Here, we learned about Team Ag Ed: its 7 components and how they work together. We also worked as a team to develop our state theme: Live Your Why! The following week, we traveled to Springfield, IL for NLCSO. This is where we had the opportunity to set team goals and a vision statement. We also learned specific skills of developing and delivering workshops, appropriate advocacy for agriculture and how to work as a team by holding each other accountable. Last week we were able to put these skills to use at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days hosted by Kewaunee County.

Farm Technology Days was an exciting event for us. We were all happy to be outside and talking about agriculture. During the event, we split into small groups to work in different areas including Farm Demonstrations, Farm Tours, Tram spotting and the Wisconsin FFA Booth. We put our skills to the test all week and had plenty of fun too- Ciera and I even met and talked with Greg Peterson from the Peterson Farm Bros.

It has been such an amazing experience so far and I can’t wait to be back at it again with my teammates! Up next is the Wisconsin State Fair. I hope to see you there!

-Liz Grady

It's Fair Season!
Jul. 14, 2017

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

If you haven’t already had your county fair, chances are it is approaching rather quickly, and though it may be hard to admit, Wisconsin State Fair is right around the corner! Months of preparation, time, and dedication have gone into many projects across section four and the state. Chances are high that many of us will interact with the public during this time. As FFA members these exhibitions are our time to showcase our hard work, advocate for our industry, and educate others about our SAEs. I want to highlight some key strategies for you while interacting with the public this fair season.

1. Answer questions honestly. Everyone has a different opinion, and that is a good thing! When answering questions it is important to be respectful of their opinion and answer questions honestly. It may be funny to say silly answers and watch others reactions, but this is our time to educate others about the industry we all hold near and dear.

2. Make answers relatable. We have in some ways developed our own jargon in the agriculture industry and have common terms of communication. I mean, how many acronyms does the FFA have? For example if a consumer were to approach you while shearing your lamb and ask what is happening, it can be easily related to a hair cut. This gives that person a better understanding, and they can see it from a regular occurrence in their life.

3. Ask. If we don’t feel comfortable answering a question it is always, always okay to ask an adult or industry leader. Advisors, project leaders, trusted adults, and supervisors are people that these questions can be directed to. They are always willing to help and assist anyone. This also a great time for us to learn from their wealth of knowledge and use it in future situations.

4. Don’t stop. After your county fair don’t stop mingling with those in public and speaking on behalf of agriculture. The efforts to advocate for agriculture can continue through forms of social media, blogs, and active efforts through FFA. Talk with your chapter about starting a Food for America activity or their own social media page to promote chapter events.

I hope everyone enjoys their local, county, and state fairs! Good luck to everyone competing in events across the section and the state. To wrap up, what projects will you be exhibiting at the fairs this summer? Email me your answers, questions, and concerns at mfitzsimmons@wisconsinffa.org. I hope to catch up with many of you at the Wisconsin State Fair!

Signing out from Section 4,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

Challenge Yourself!
Jul. 12, 2017

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

Have you ever been afraid to try something new? This is a year full of new experiences and times to challenge yourself. I have always been one to stay in my comfort zone and not try anything new at all. I am totally the person who will get in a line to order food and always orders chicken tenders. I love routines and not stepping out of my boundaries of comfort. This is the time to have new experiences, make more memories, and challenge yourself.

This last month has been a big change for me. I am challenging myself each day to be the best I can be. Here’s a little bit of a load down on what we having been doing lately. The first few weeks we had Blast Off Training, Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE) Professional Development Conference, National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO), and this week is Farm Technology Days. So this was the first time I had ever been to any of these events. Each day I have learned something new that will last me a lifetime. This week in itself has been full of new experiences. Until Tuesday morning I never knew what our tractor driving contest was. I will tell you I learned so much from our fellow FFA members about tractor safety and even a little about how a tractor works. This may sound a little weird to say that I don’t know how a tractor works but, I grew up living in town with my unique pets. So during the contest I was able to meet so many passionate members! I congratulate all the members who participated in tractor driving contest and commend all their hard work.

Along with the contest that went on this week, I was able to announce the equipment at the field demonstrations. This was a neat new experience to be able to learn what equipment is used to harvest and even some unique ways to harvest some crops.

My first experience at Farm Technology Days has been great, and it reminds me to not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, just like I’ve done this week. I challenge everyone to try something new within your National, State, and Chapter Association this year. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be. Make memories that will last a life time this year and have fun!

Your Section 3 State FFA Officer,
Ciara Koboski

The Start of Something Good
Jul. 08, 2017

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hello Wisconsin FFA! My name is Brooke Brantner from section 2! The past few weeks have absolutely flown by, and it’s hard to believe that Convention was already almost a month ago! In this time the state officer team has had the opportunity to build a strong foundation for this upcoming year so we are better able to encourage all of you to Live Your Why!!

This past week the state officer team attended the National Leadership Conference (NLCSO) in Springfield, Illinois. In this conference we worked with three amazing facilitators, one of whom was David Townsend. The skills sets we focused on included setting goals, creating vision statements, the importance of advocacy, and planning/delivering workshops. These sessions not only allowed us to learn alongside and build friendships with the Indiana and Illinois state officer teams, but also prepared us to better serve you!

In just a few short days we will be traveling to Green Bay to represent Wisconsin FFA at Farm Technology Days! Here we will be able to put all of these newly built skill sets to use as we are in charge of directing tours throughout the week and educating the public on the importance of agriculture.

It has been a truly amazing month, and I can’t wait to see where the next 11 take all of us! If you ever have questions, please feel free to reach out and send me an email at bbrantner@wisconsinffa.org or find me on Facebook! I am so excited to see how all of you Live Your Why this year!

Best,
Brooke Brantner

The Travels of Meikah and Stan
Jul. 04, 2017

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey Wisconsin FFA! How is everyone’s summer going after a wonderful convention?! My name is Meikah Dado and I am super excited to share with you all of what the state officers have been up to these past couple weeks. We have had busy schedules, but are loving every minute!

Right after convention ended, we headed off to Blast Off where we learned all about what it means to be a state officer. The following week was WAAE Conference (Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators); while participating we learned about expectations and were able to put faces to names of all the important people within the Wisconsin FFA such as John Hromyak, our Wisconsin FFA Foundation Executive Director, Cheryl Steinbach, Wisconsin FFA Alumni Executive Director, our section’s agricultural educators/FFA Advisors and many more! Currently, we are in Springfield, Illinois attending National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO). In this conference, we are learning all about workshops, planning goals, and ultimately how to best serve YOU!

A fun fact about my travels as a state officer includes my family’s minivan named Stan! My older brother took Stan all over Wisconsin when he was a state officer, and now Stan is ready to go another round. Although Stan has some bumps and bruises, we love him dearly. We are currently over 221,000 miles and still chugging along!

As I am the Reporter, it is my duty to remind you (if you haven’t already) to go like the FFA Facebook page, like your sectional FFA page, and follow us on Instagram. I am excited to continue my travels with my teammates, and I am ready to meet all of you! Let’s have a great year and LIVE YOUR WHY!

Behind the Scenes: Live Your Why
Jul. 01, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter
President

The Wisconsin FFA State Officers are extremely excited to announce that the 2017-2018 Wisconsin FFA Theme is “Live Your Why!” When you hear our theme, “Live Your Why,” it’s a pretty broad statement, so odds are you might be wondering a little about what it means and how the state officers decided on it as our theme.

During our first week together at Blast Off, the State Officer team was reacquainted with “the Golden Circle.” “The Golden Circle” is a Ted talk about how people can communicate more effectively by starting with their “why.” If you haven’t seen this video before, I highly recommend you checking it out, but here’s a quick recap. Usually people communicate by starting with what they do, then stating how they do it, and then sometimes ending with why they do it. For example, the National FFA Organization develops students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. How do we do it? We do this through agricultural education. But the “why.” This is the most important part. We do it because we believe in the future of agriculture, and because we want to grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture.

When we share our what, then our how, and finally our why, we do share our message. However, if we flip it around and start with why we do things, we can grab our audiences’ attention, allow others to understand us better, build a connection with others, and therefore be more effective in communicating our message. The State Officer Team really connected with this idea about the Golden Circle, and especially the power behind our why.

We all have our why. Our why can be why we joined FFA, why we believe in the future of agriculture, or why we simply wake up in the morning. Whatever our “why” is, it’s our reason behind what we do. It motivates us and that why can have a lot of power. Not only do we as a team want to continue identifying our whys, we also hope that all of you can discover your whys throughout the year.

Once we discover our why, that’s when we get to the second half our theme: “Live.” Our whys still do not take on their full potential until we start to put them to action! Wisconsin FFA’s challenge to all of us it to take action and “Live your why!”

Go out and Live Your Why,
Ciera


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