Back to Class
Aug. 29, 2017
It’s that time of year again! I remember my senior year, getting ready for my, “last first day” getting back to school always brings mixed feelings. As you head into this next year try and remember some of these tips that got me through middle and high school!
Organization- This one is difficult and was always hard for me, but if you can stay organized it will make everything easier. Empty your backpack and keep it filled with only the essentials, keep your locker organized and most importantly, wherever you choose to do your homework make sure it is organized and free of distractions.
Get into a routine- Having a routine helps to make sure everything gets done efficiently and helps to prevent procrastinating. For me, this was making sure I was in the barn by 4:55 every morning, that way I always started my day on schedule and didn’t fall behind!
Study buddy- If you have a challenging class, find some study buddies. Not copy buddies, but friends whom you can work out challenging problems with. This was how I was able to survive AP Calculus.
Stay busy- There is nothing like middle/ high school, make sure you enjoy it and make the most of every moment. Spend time with friends and try new things together, you never know where they will take you. Challenge yourself and remember your time there is short, so don't dread it, enjoy it!
I’m excited to see many of you at SLWs and chapter visits! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions @ email@example.com! And enjoy the picture of my very first day of school :)
Ever Grateful. Ever True
Aug. 26, 2017
“Ever grateful. Ever True. All hail our ole Purdue”, like UW-Madison’s “On Wisconsin”, these are the infamous words of Purdue University’s fight song. After my first year as a boilermaker, these words have stuck with me. As I go into each new adventure in life whether that is going to college, being a state officer or starting a new job, I am “ever grateful and ever true”. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given and will pledge to be true to my values, my roots, and myself.
It is easy to focus on the negatives like there are only a couple more days of summer or having to work all summer long and not being able to spend time with family or friends. I know I used to think like this but, the glass is always half full. Even if the summer seemed short, what did we do? Even if we were busy all summer long, think of the new people we met, think of all the experiences we have had and the memories that we made. By being happy and grateful for each adventure, we will be happier overall and more likely to stay true to ourselves. “Ever grateful. Ever True” are the words that I chose to live by. What are yours?
I hope you enjoy your last few days of summer and I challenge you to find and embrace words to live by (and to always Live Your Why)!
With a grateful heart,
Jag Lake-A Hidden Treasure
Aug. 22, 2017
The state officer team used our opportunity at Jag Lake to plan and finalize details for Sectional Leadership Workshop, FIRE Conference, and newsletters. The team is excited to showcase our workshops, speeches, and send out our newsletters. This atmosphere was the perfect balance for us to relax, enjoy the lake, and accomplish our goals. Not only did we do this, but it gave our team a chance to get to know each other and more about our experiences. I cannot say enough about my experience at Jag Lake and I recommend this for any chapter looking to escape to the great outdoors! When planning your next chapter retreat, keep this special place in mind.
This was my first time at Jag Lake and I have some advice for those who have never been.
1. Do not run, you will trip and fall, and skin your knee, just like me.
2. Bring bug spray!
3. Enjoy the scenery, bring fishing poles, and swimsuit.
4. Have fun!
As always, please contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope everyone’s summers are winding down quietly and I can’t wait to see many of you this fall!
Singing out from Section Four,
The Adventures we Might Take!
Aug. 18, 2017
Our adventure didn’t stop there though after two week of new adventures at State Fair we travel north to Bolder Junction. In Bolder Junction this is where you can find the FFA Camp Jag Lake. A week of team bonding I will never forget. The trip there was and adventure in itself. We left the last night of State Fair and headed to Fond Du Lac, WI. Where we stayed the night before we headed to the camp. When going down the driveway to Jag Lake we hit many puddles.
Arriving at Jag Lake I had no idea what to expect. This was a place of beauty, fun and joy. There were canoes to go on the Lake with and as a team we traveled to the Island in the middle. Some of our team members went and bought fishing pulls so that we could fish on the lake. I decided to try something new and adventure a canoe with one team mate and while he fished I swam near the boat. We then adventure into an area with many lily pads. The views were beautiful and the work we accomplished as a team was amazing. During this year try something new, you never know the outcome may surprise you.
Hold on Tight
Aug. 13, 2017
It is currently the last day of the State Fair, and over the course of these past two weeks I have had the pleasure of helping educate others about vegetables, ear notching, and animal health! I have also closed a huge chapter of my life by exhibiting cattle for the very last time as a Junior exhibitor at the Wisconsin State Fair, and along with that was a realization of a very valuable life lesson.
The picture above is one I haven’t been able to stop thinking about over the past few days. It was taken 11 years ago, minutes after I said goodbye to my very first steer at the County Fair. It has served as a constant reminder to always hold tight to the things that make you who you are. In the past 11 years there have been a million memories, thousands of miles, and hundreds of reasons to feel so blessed to have grown up showing cattle. Showing cattle has taught me so many life lessons that have made me who I am today.
The most important is realizing that the outcome of what occurs in the show ring will never compare to the people standing at the rail of that ring. The parents, brothers, sisters, Advisors, 4-H Leaders, and mentors are all the people who push you to be not only a better showman, but person at the end of each and every day. Those are the ones you hold tight too, because the time will always pass but the people you meet along the way are what make you who you are.
So as you jump into this upcoming school year I challenge you to keep in mind the opportunities that are presented to you. Sometimes they are disguised as a school project, hobby, extracurricular activity, speaking contest, or judging event. No matter what they are I hope you realize the people you meet within these opportunities. These people will be the ones to push you, motivate you, and serve as a constant reminder to always hold tight to the things that make you who you are.
With a full heart,
We Must Always...
Aug. 12, 2017
One of my favorite movies of all time is the newest Cinderella movie from Disney. When Cinderella’s mom passes away, she tells her daughter to always “have courage, and be kind.” This saying can be used in our everyday lives. When working with those who do not know about agriculture or those who have different opinions as you, you may be tested with some challenges. However, we must remember that it is always important to stay kind.
Now that the summer is coming to an end and the school year is fast approaching, this is a great time to work on our skill of being kind! Whether it’s a student sitting alone at lunch, or a new FFA member not sure what they can do, I encourage you to take the challenge of having courage, and being kind in order to reach out and make others feel comfortable. Cinderella accepted people as they were and befriended whoever she met. She was not discouraged through her situation, and she kept having courage and was always kind.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and let us all remember the importance of having courage, and always being kind!
With love and kindness,
Look to Learn
Aug. 08, 2017
Today I worked by the sows and little piglets in the Discovery Barnyard and taught fairgoers about ear notching. At this station, we give people paper plate pigs to color a pig face on, and then we talk about how and why farmers ear notch pigs by notching their paper plate pig’s ears.
Now, I’ve worked at this station a few times throughout the fair, and every time there has been at least a handful of children, and often their parents too, that absolutely LOVE learning about ear notching from us – and today was no exception. There was this one dad in particular who was blown away by this concept of ear notching for identification! He even asked me to show and explain it to him again so he made sure he knew how the numbering worked. Before he left, he looked at me with the biggest smile and proudly said, “I learned something new today!”
You know, I taught this man a lesson on ear notching pig, but honestly, he taught me something even more valuable. He taught me about learning.
This man came up to what he probably thought was simply a coloring station for children, but that didn’t stop him from looking for an opportunity to listen and learn. We can all learn from the simplest things, even while we’re enjoying a fun day at the fair or at a children’s activity about pigs. When we take a minute to stop and look around or even reflect for a moment, we can learn something from the things around us or the situation we’re in. Just like this man, we can look to learn everywhere we go.
He not only taught me how to look to learn, but he also reminded me how exciting learning really can be! Maybe he did have a breakthrough moment about ear notching, but what really stood out was how excited he was to learn something new. We learn each and every day, but when we take a second to appreciate learning – that’s when it becomes valuable, and that’s when it gets exciting! Just like him, we can maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the little things in life, like learning something new.
This excited fairgoer is such a great reminder for all of us to get excited about learning and strive to learn something new each day!
Keep looking to learn,
Aug. 04, 2017
During the veggie races, we get to ask fairgoers what their veggie car “runs on,” before the race begins. This is one of my favorite questions to ask, as I get so many creative answers! As a group of racers, we choose what to shout so that the veggie cars will run. Some veggie cars ran on shouts of “Go Veggies Go!” or “Potato Power!” But my favorite thing that some fairgoers’ cars ran on was ethanol. This morning during my veggie races shift, Morgan and I got to shout “Yay ethanol!” with one of the first groups of racers as their leeks, potatoes, and corn bolted down (some more successfully than others) the Veggie 500 Track. The best part was, when I got to ‘interviewing’ the next group of racers, they asked to shout “Yay ethanol!” because they had felt the excitement that filled the area. This meant that I got to yell excitedly about ethanol not once, but twice. Making up these fun chants made my shift at veggie races fly by, because the fairgoers shared my energy!
We can get exhausted from the long days and short nights that come with fair week, classes, and extracurricular activities throughout the year. It’s sometimes hard to refill that enthusiasm after long hours, when it seems that our race through fair week, finals, or a competition will never end. But if we can remember what we “run on” – what refuels our energy and enthusiasm for what we are working on – our focus can keep us enjoying all that the race has to offer. And what we run on helps others find something to run on, too: just like the second group of racers was excited about ethanol because the group before had been.
As we move out of fair season and begin to head back to school in the coming month, never be afraid to remind yourself what you run on, even if it means shouting “Yay ethanol!” with a group of 6 year olds to fill the room with energy. We never know who might be inspired by our enthusiasm. Be it at Sectional Leadership Workshops, National Convention, or a chapter visit, I can’t wait to see all of you this fall & to find out what Wisconsin FFA members run on!
Enjoying all that the race has to offer,
Sam's how to: Advocate
Aug. 03, 2017
Connect with your audience- People feel more comfortable listening to someone when they share a common ground. This doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with what you are advocating. A good start is the look at what they are wearing. For instance, if a man wearing a Brewers hat is the person that you are talking to, ask him if he is a Brewers fan. Talk with him about baseball for a few moments then and when both of you feel comfortable start integrating the conversation towards your point of advocacy. This works with large groups as well as a one-on-one approach. The key goal with this technique is to figure out what is important to your target audience and use that to build trust with them.
Don’t offend- This one seems pretty simple but you really do have to pay attention to the audience you are talking to. Once you have made someone mad it is very difficult to turn the conversation around and get them to buy into your philosophy. The best thing to do is to choose your words carefully and analyze what you are about to say before you say it. However, if you find yourself in a hostile situation the easiest thing to do is apologize. Apologize and try to further explain your point. For example “I’m sorry, i didn’t mean to offend you. What I really mean is….”. At the end of the day there may be some situations where you just have to walk away. Remember, not everyone's’ opinion can be swayed.
Use simple terminology- Sometimes when we talk to people we forget who we are talking to and the fact they may not have the same background knowledge as us. I can’t just go around talking about GMOs to everyone because not everyone knows what a GMO is. For this strategy to work you really have to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are speaking to. When in doubt explain it out. Even if they know what you are talking about it doesn’t hurt anything to put in a little explanation of your terminology.
Use personal experience- We tend to be more passionate when we talk about issues that have directly impacted us. When we tell a story our passion is quickly received by the listener. This helps build the connection with the listener we talked about earlier. It also shows the listener that we care about the issue. Believe it or not most humans have an inner-nature ability for compassion. If someone can tell you care they will begin to care.
Be sincere- This is actually pretty easy if you care about what you're talking about. Be passionate and tell the truth. A truth is always easier to explain than a lie. You don't have to be negative but at the same time we have to realize we want people to know the truth. After all isn't that one of the main points of Agriculture Education? If you are struggling with this one here is an example: the issue that arose before the following response is about water quality and it's relation to agriculture. “Yes I understand that the past farming practices have resulted in lower quality of water. However we have now realized we have cause a problem and have implemented practices to improve the situation and stop it from worsening.”
Be brief- No one wants to be lectured for an extensive period of time about what a GMO is. People have short attention spans and more importantly people value their time. (And let's be honest, some people may not even get through all nine of these tips) You may have the person convinced a minute into talking to them but now five minutes in, they have become irritated with you. Just hit em with the important stuff.
Be specific- Yes be brief but also be clear. Leave nothing to the imagination. Think of questions your audience might have and answer then before they get a chance to ask you. At the end it doesn't hurt to ask if they have any questions.
Be positive- Like I said earlier don't lie but maintain an atmosphere of positivity. Some situations in agriculture aren't good but they may be getting better. If you stay calm others will follow suite. If you don't others won't either. Remember other people are genuinely worried about these issues so it's important to ease their worries and discomfort.
Be memorable- This is the most important. If you want people to remember your position they need to remember you. If you are someone they can remember they probably can also remember what you talked about. How you stick out is up to you. You do you. Just make sure they remember you for the right reasons not the wrong ones.
If you use these tips you will be successful at advocating. These tips often will work with and build off each other which makes them easy stepping stones for successful avocation. If you have any questions about any of these methods shoot me an email! Until next time, happy advocating!
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