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Officer Profiles

Continuing to Grow
Aug. 30, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all been soaking up the last few moments of summer! If you are anything like me, I am sure the summer has simply flown by for all of you! Between showing at county fairs, attending conferences, and spending quality time with family and friends alike, there have been plenty of activities to keep us all busy and enjoying our summer break!

As part of my many travel opportunities this summer, I had the honor of attending the 2018 GROWMARK Annual Meeting and Agribusiness Symposium this past week held in Downtown Chicago at the Hilton Hotel. The theme for this year’s event was “What does it mean to grow?” Growing occurs in many ways, whether it be personally, professionally, or elsewhere, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to grow with others around me and to soak in all the knowledge and skills I gained from attending this prestigious event! Through motivational speakers such as John O’Leary, Scott Mckain, and Coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, carrying the FFA flag for the opening ceremony of the business session, or networking with professionals all across the agricultural industry, I was inspired to continue to grow and better myself as both an individual and a leader.

The question is this: How can we continue to grow and move forward in all that we do? There are numerous steps we can take to ensure that we can continue to grow and create a bright future for others as well as ourselves. It can be as simple as reaching out to a fellow classmate to see if they have an interest in joining FFA, or taking the five minutes after class to check in with our advisors or officer teammates. Maybe it is challenging ourselves to study more for a certain class, or deciding to run for a leadership position in an organization we are involved in. Whatever it may be, we grow when we challenge ourselves and set a higher standard than we have before. We grow and move forward when we leave something better than the way we found it, and when we know we have put forth our best effort and given everything we can. We grow by learning new things and through experiences that shape our perceptions and our beliefs. Growing is a continual process, and we never quite stop growing, even long after we have gone through school, established our place in the world, and have experienced the many different things that life has to offer.

My challenge for you all is this: continue to grow. Continue to push yourselves and hold yourselves to higher standards than you ever have before. Continue to seek out new opportunities and challenges that will contribute to your personal growth and development, and that will leave you with new skills acquired and new perspectives on life. We can grow by leaving our legacy and ensuring that there is a bright future ahead for the next generation of leaders, and I cannot think of a better responsibility than this to strive for. As always, I am only just a phone call or email away! If you have any questions, comments, or stories you would like to share, please reach out to me and I will be happy to talk and connect! I look forward to seeing everyone soon at Sectional Leadership Workshops and chapter visits, and I cannot wait to see how you all will grow this year and leave your legacy!

Grow together,
Ashley Hagenow

Mission Accomplished
Aug. 24, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As we wind down our summer and soak in the final days until school is back in session, it’s a great time to reflect on where we’ve been, and prime ourselves for a fantastic year ahead. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel across western Wisconsin with some of my teammates to tour cooperatives dotted across our rural landscape. Our first stop of our travels was to the corporate headquarters of Organic Valley, one of the largest organic companies in the U.S. nestled in the town of La Farge. We walked the halls of their headquarters, touring their offices, laboratories, and employee wellness rooms, all the while asking as many questions as we could think of.

As we walked around, we noticed one phrase plastered in almost every room in the building, so every employee saw it, every day; “supporting rural communities by protecting the health of the family farm and working toward both economic and environmental sustainability.” When one of my teammates asked about what this meant, our guide told us how Organic Valley was a mission driven company, and they wanted every employee to know what their company strived to achieve so they had a goal in mind. Their employees were motivated because they had a goal in mind. Every day, they worked to make this mission a reality.

The world around us is busy. We can get caught up in our busy schedules, the problems that may arise in our homes, or get weighed down by what we read in newspapers. However, being driven by a goal is the beacon that keeps us guided to hope. Our goal to have A’s and B’s this semester, our goal to push ourselves to create a new service project, or our goal to make every single member in our chapter find a CDE to be involved in is what keeps us afloat. Just like Organic Valley, we can retain our motivation by striving for what we believe we can achieve. What will your mission be?

So long,

Gaelan

Ribbons Fade,Friendships Gained
Aug. 20, 2018

Amber Patterson - Vice President
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Hello everyone,
I hope you all are enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation, but here is something I feel we all need to be reminded of at some point.
“It’s not about the ribbons, for the color will fade and the trophies grow old. It’s not about the winners or the banners we hold. The important things are the friends you make, the experiences you take; They’ll help you become a mighty fine person. And do more than a prize ever can.” As county fairs for 2018 are wrapping up I feel that we all need to be reminded of this. Do not forget that it is not all about winning. We all have been in a competition where we forget to stop and realize how many great people we are competing against that could turn out to be our best friends. I can honestly say that my best friends are the people that I competed against throughout the years. All the ribbons won are sitting in a case and the trophies are sitting dusty on the shelf, but all those friends are calling to tell me about the fun experiences they had while competing at a national contest. I am forever grateful for all the awards won, but more importantly the friendships made, and the experiences gained.

Best Wishes,
Amber Patterson

Good Ole Jag Lake!
Aug. 18, 2018

Collin Weltzien - Vice President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Howdy!

Well, where has summer gone? It seems like yesterday I was packing up my dorm room, and now we’re weeks away from school being back in session. But, I hope you’ve all found some time to relax in between work, county fairs, and running around the countryside and are rejuvenated for a great year ahead!

One of the most refreshing times of my summer came this past week when our officer team headed north to our State FFA Camp on Jag Lake in Boulder Junction. After the jam-packed and exhilarating summer it’s been, it was energizing to take in the Northwoods easy-going atmosphere with the company of my teammates. Not only did we get some awesome work done on our Sectional Leadership Workshop, FIRE Conference, and chapter visit plans, but the week was also filled with a bunch of small moments that gave me a chance to reflect on just how blessed and fortunate I am. It was the daily flag raising and lowerings, the invocations at every meal, the homecooked meals, sitting around the campfire, and simply gazing up at the stars that made the week special for me.

Life in today’s society is only getting faster paced. We’re always trying to fit more in our schedules, do more things, go more places, and get more information faster. And that constant drive for more is great. We should always be striving to maximize our time. But at the same time, we rarely take the opportunity to slow down, stop what we’re doing, and think to ourselves, “Wow, we have it pretty good.” It’s important to realize amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life how lucky we are to have food on our plates, clothes on our backs, roofs over our heads, friends by our sides, and the American flag flying high in our yards. It’s the little moments, the little memories, and the simple encounters that put everything into perspective for us. Those moments are as close as we can get to a pause button in life.

So, as we enjoy the home stretch of summer, and prepare for the upcoming year, let’s all take some time to be thankful for the memories we’ve made and the experiences we’ve had these past few months. And most of all, let’s get fired up for the new FFA year. The state officer team is ready to rock, and we hope you feel the same!

As always, I’m open for questions, comments, and concerns at cweltzien@wisconsinffa.org and (608) 863-0895. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for anything!

So long for now,
Collin

P.S. If your chapter is interested in taking advantage of the relaxing atmosphere of Jag Lake for an officer retreat, please let any of us know, and we’ll hook you up for next year.

Let's Cooperate!
Aug. 14, 2018

Paige Nelson - Secretary
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

Recently Amber, Gaelan, Sarah, and myself had the pleasure of participating in the Co-ops tour through the Cooperatives Network. On our tour, we had the opportunity to visit five cooperatives which included: Dairyland Electric, People’s Food Co-op, Organic Valley, Vernon electric, and WCCU. While each of these cooperatives are unique they all share many of the same values and principles. In a nut shell, they are owned and governed by their members. They were each initially created to fill a need in their community, weather that be making a stronger market for niche farming practices, allowing shoppers to have access to a wide variety of fresh, organic, and conventional produce, providing services such as power and financial services to families in rural America.

One value cooperatives all share is simply in their business model name, cooperate. Cooperatives are formed by individuals who are interested in working with others to collaborate and reach a common goal. Organic Valley is a widely recognized company today because in 1988 after a rough go of farming in the 80’s, farmers were fed up with the idea that banks and the government were telling them to grow or leave the industry, so they filled a court house right here in Wisconsin and started what is now known as Organic Valley. If this group of farmers hadn’t decided to work with each other and cooperate, they may have had to exit their way of life as farmers and find work elsewhere. Due to their dedication to not only their own success, but the success of the neighboring farmers they were able to make a lasting impact on farming in Western Wisconsin, but also on state and national levels.

This is a prime example of why it is so important for us as students, FFA members, athletes, and general citizens to not only look for individual success, but also work together to reach shared goals. If we work together with our fellow chapter officers, our sports team and coaches, our family, friends, other musicians, and so many other individuals around us on a daily basis we can accomplish so much more. We create an even larger ripple for change and progress. We are able to leave a lasting mark on our teammates, our chapter, our school, or on an even larger scale. We can each leave a legacy, but if we learn from cooperatives and take the time to cooperate with those around us, we have the potential to leave an even larger, lasting legacy which will positively impact those that follow us for years to come.

Don’t hesitate to email me at pnelson@wisconsinffa.org if you need anything or ever have any questions.

Until next time,

Paige

It's a WonderFAIR Time
Aug. 09, 2018

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hey there everyone!

Summer is absolutely flying by. I hope you have all been enjoying it and keeping busy with your summer work and projects.

We are coming down to our final days here at the Wisconsin State Fair and let me tell you, it has been quite the experience. I’ve never told so many people the breed characteristics of a Lamancha goat or how potatoes grow so many times in my life. Nonetheless, I am having a blast here at the fair.

Through all the people I have talked to here, a few have stuck out to me. Some of them because they were funny, some informative, and many for plenty of other reasons. However, there is one that is really stuck in my mind.

While we were working in the Discovery Barn we would work two different stations, Pony Races and Ear Tagging. I was at ear tagging for one of the noon to three shifts. At this station, we show children how we tag animals and tell them why we do so. Once while I was giving the spiel, the mother whose child was coloring pointed at the emblem on my shirt. She then asked her son if he was going to be in FFA. He asked her what it was and she didn’t really know, but she knew it was an organization that she wanted her child to be a part of. I explained what we do, from showing to leadership, and he was very excited to be able to join the organization someday. At this moment, I realized that FFA has left more of a legacy than I ever thought imaginable.

As a member of this organization, you have the ability to continue that legacy. It may be through showing your animals, advocacy for agriculture, participating in community service, or through any other positive impact. There are so many paths and options to choose from. Pick one, two, twelve, or however many you want. You can't go wrong with the FFA!

Some of you have already picked your path by participating in the State Fair these past two weeks. Congratulations to all of those who have participated in the fair so far, I have watched a lot of you show and you have done great! For those of you who participate in the next few days, good luck! I’ll be rooting for you.

Until next time,
Alexis

Show Day
Aug. 08, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

Today at the Wisconsin State Fair, I had an alumni member that I had met at a banquet last spring walk up to me. I had been watching a busy show with many other people around me and was glad that he took a moment to talk with me. Through the conversation, I realized that his daughter was showing. As we talked about it, he mentioned how excited he was for today: Show day. “It’s like Christmas!” Nervous and excited all at the same time. Every year, this day was the best day – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you loved.

And the thing is, I’ve never shown livestock in my life. Growing up in town, I didn’t exactly have the resources to raise animals. But as he described this nervous excitement, I knew exactly what feeling he was talking about. I could feel that feeling in my gut. For me, it always came the week before agriscience fair competitions in FFA. There’d be many people in my chapter competing, and we’d all be in the Ag room late after school finishing up work we had procrastinated on: whether it was actual research, the reports, or practice interviews. It was all of us together – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what we loved.

Sometimes, I feel like I am missing that showing experience. Sometimes, I feel bad that when I talk about my agriscience fair projects from high school, people feel like they are missing that agriscience fair experience. But what I’ve realized is this: everyone has their different show day. Everyone has that day – filled with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you loved. And it might not be on competition day, or even in the preparation for that contest. But believe me, you have it. Maybe it’s working on your supervised agricultural experience, volunteering, or when you have the chance to meet tons of new people. Something you can truly be about. You have something that you’re good at – something that fills you with memories, anticipation, and fulfillment of doing what you love. What day is your show day? Enjoy your days that are like Christmas. Learn from others on their days. But most of all, make sure to cherish the memories you make, share your love for it with others, and help others to realize what day they can shine on. Show up. Show well. Show passion.

Cheering for you on your show day,
Amelia

It's a "Fair" Time!
Aug. 04, 2018

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hello, Wisconsin FFA!

This week is the beginning to our adventures at Wisconsin State Fair. We will be working at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Veggie Races and in the Discovery Center, please stop by and see us! We would love to hear about what you are involved in here at state fair! When the team reflects on some of our favorite memories from this summer, we all agree that interacting with members tops the list. Good luck to everybody who is exhibiting and performing!

If you have any state fair photos that you would like to share with the organization, send them to your state officer (all contact information can be found online at www.wisconsinffa.org), we encourage you to share about your agricultural experiences! State fair is a GREAT time for us to share about the agricultural industry!

I want to focus this segment on the traditions that drive us. At farm technology days, we were able to help with the Team Ag Ed booth for a day. We spent this time in a competition over who could give out the most Wisconsin FFA pens. The competition worked well towards the beginning but as time went on, more and more people stopped at our booth. Many people would pause by our booth and tell us that they were once part of the FFA, back when we still identified as the Future Farmers of America. In 2018, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the name change to National FFA Association. Many women stopped to let us know that they were so glad that women were allowed in the organization. In 2019, we celebrate 50 years of women being part of FFA. The organization has changed, adapted to grow with society, and embraced opportunities as they came along. Being able to see the pride of these past FFA members, was a demonstration of how strong of an impact our organization has had and will continue to have.

As your parliamentarian, I feel inspired to share with you a little knowledge about Parliamentary Law. This blog’s parliamentary knowledge tidbits are:
1. Each individual gets two debates for each debatable motion.
2. If you think the room is getting too warm, you can rise a question of privilege to open the windows.
3. There are five acceptable ways to vote: voice, hand, standing, ballot, and role call.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at ekruse@wisconsinffa.org

Best wishes,
Emily


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