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Officer Profiles

All Roads Lead to Indy
Oct. 28, 2018

Alexis Kwak - Vice President
Prairie Farm FFA Chapter
Section 1

Many people wonder how to survive the National FFA Convention. There’s lots of driving, walking, sessions, people to meet, and so much more! On top of that, we have to figure out how to fit it all into four days, give or take. Overall, it’s a wild ride.

Throughout the week, I wished I had a survival guide. For all of you attending the convention next year, here you go. Surviving Convention 101: 5 Tips for your trip in Indianapolis.

1.Allot plenty of time to eat

Running down FFA Way on the way to session while chowing down a plate of nachos, pizza, or whatever else you got to eat isn’t fun. Avoid this at all costs by eating during low traffic hours and making sure you have the time necessary to stand in line.

2.Sleep while you can

Bus naps are your best friend. While trying to fit everything in, we tend to have very late nights and very early mornings. Falling asleep in session is no fun and you miss out on some awesome stuff! Another suggestion: Don’t stay up to watch all eighteen innings of the World Series game.

3.Spend time in the Expo

Free stuff and cool stuff. Enough said.

4.Talk to people!

People come from everywhere to attend National Convention. You can learn some new things, make new friends, and have people ask you to say boat and bag quite a lot. Apparently we have an accent, but that’s all good.

5.Soak it all in

The National Convention offers many opportunities we may never get to see again. From Garth Brooks to the President of the United States, National FFA Convention is truly one of a kind. Soak it in, enjoy it, and share your experiences with others. Your words may be the ones that make another member want to attend the convention.

Make convention yours. Use these tips as you wish and remember, its only 367 days until the 92nd National FFA Convention.

See you in the funny papers,
Alexis

What If?
Oct. 24, 2018

Amelia Hayden - President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
President

This past week, the state FFA officers and a few other members served as National Delegates. National FFA assigns each state an allotted number of student representatives they can bring to vote on the state’s behalf. During National FFA Convention, we meet and vote on official business, setting dues, and more.

Picture this: 475 FFA members, all from different states, with different SAEs, and different FFA experiences. You’re all seated by state and are in charge of making big decisions for the National FFA Organization. Unsurprisingly, it takes awhile to agree on what’s happening.

That is exactly what happened to our group of Wisconsin delegates this past week. When in the first meeting we didn’t accomplish all that we had hoped, we should have known that the full 475 delegates wouldn’t be super efficient for the rest of the week, either.

Three long, close to midnight, and passion-filled meetings, and we had finally finished all of the delegate business. “I move to adjourn this meeting!” someone shouted, as a whole bunch of hands shot up to second the motion. And then, it happened. Someone stood up, made some witty remark about Robert’s Rules of Order, and we started debating whether to adjourn the meeting. Positives and negatives, pros and cons, ups and downs were all brought up as the 475 of us debated whether we should end our meeting.

Why were we debating? We had accomplished all our business. We had discussed everything to make sure that we were diligent in our work. It was late. We wanted to go to bed so we could wake up for another great day of convention. And yet, we still debated it.

You see, sometimes we have all the reasons in the world to do something. Maybe it’s signing up for a contest, studying for classes, or spending time with the people we care about. What is something that you want to do? Are you still debating it? Because that’s the thing – we cannot just sit and debate about what we are going to go. We have to choose to do it. If you love it, do it. If you want it, do it.

We kept asking “What if we adjourn and something else needs to be talked about?” What if this happens? What if that happens? What if?

We often get so caught up in the “What ifs” of the world? But let’s ask this: what if we made our decision? What if we chose to do things wholeheartedly? What if we stopped debating?

Stop debating. Start choosing. And do it wholeheartedly.

See ya around,
Amelia

Stories Made for Sharing
Oct. 19, 2018

Emily Kruse - Parliamentarian
Elkhorn FFA Chapter
Section 10

Through chapter visits and many officer meetings, I have had the opportunity to share and hear many stories from the National FFA Convention! As we approach the chaos of over 60,000 blue jackets filling the streets of Indianapolis, we have the opportunity to create stories and memories. National Convention generates energy and enthusiasm that no other event is able to create. It is up to us to harness the excitement and bring it back to our home chapters.

The stories we make this convention, are the stories our members want to be a part of. We must share the stories and even more importantly, continue to build stories when we return to our chapters. Recruit members for an Ag Sales team, reach out to the new freshman and encourage them to try Creed Speaking, or educate people about the FFA band and chorus. Allow them the opportunity to build stories within the FFA!

National Convention is not only stories of successes but it is stories of new beginnings and new ideas. Our 2019 National Convention stories start this week! Make them count!

Best of luck to all those competing at National Convention, Wisconsin FFA is proud of you!

Have a blast and make memories!

Emily

Supporting Ties
Oct. 17, 2018

Sarah Calaway - Vice President
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

What a three weeks we have had from SLWs, to FIRE Conferences, to chapter visits the state officers have been on the road for quite some time. It has been an amazing experience getting to know FFA members from around the state of Wisconsin.

At SLWs I was able to work with members to figure out some community service activities that they would be able to bring back to their chapters. In this workshop I had the members build a tower only giving them a limited amount of time and building supplies. In this time, I told them to build the best tower only using the supplies that I gave them, and they quickly took to the task at hand. Once the towers were built I asked members why their towers were the best and they quickly answered with responses such as, “Ours is the tallest, most creative, or even most structurally sound.” I was then able to ask them what made their tower stand which led to the support they have in their communities. We then discussed if they would be able to be a strong chapter without community support and they immediately answered “No.”

Our chapters in Wisconsin need the communities that are around them. Like the tower our chapters need a strong base in order to stand. Through SLWs we discovered many ways that our chapters can help those support systems around them. I am excited to see what our members do this year in order to keep growing Wisconsin FFA!

Until Next Time,
Sarah Calaway

Picture This...
Oct. 16, 2018

Mitchell Schroepfer - Treasurer
Antigo FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Everyone!

As we are preparing for our trip down to Indianapolis next week, I spent a day at Oshkosh-West High School. While visiting, I had the privilege of facilitating an activity with Mrs. Rennebohm’s physical science class. My prompt was this: picture a leader we have in our lives, now draw them to the best of our ability. Our pictures included three police officers, two teachers, a sailor in the Navy. Now I have facilitated this activity with many classes before but this one was very special for me, as it helped me realize just how big of an impact our leaders have on us. If we have an example to look to, we are more comfortable growing as leaders.

As we continue growing as leaders ourselves, I believe it is important to reflect on the leaders who have impacted our lives. Our leaders invested in us, not so we could match their greatness, but surpass it. This means we can and should use their lessons and wisdom as a head start, not a finish line.

I hope this post inspires you to think of all the leaders you have in your life and analyze ways that we can pass on the lessons they taught us.

Thanks for reading and see you at National Convention!
Sincerely,
Mitchell Schroepfer

Improving to Reach Success
Oct. 10, 2018

Jillian Tyler - Vice President
Granton FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hello Everyone,

With Sectional Leadership Workshops finished and two out of three FIRE Conferences completed the State Officers are back to chapter visits for the fall. This week I had the opportunity to visit the Colby FFA chapter.

While at Colby I challenged one of the classes to a paper airplane flying contest. The entire class crafted what they believed would be the fastest, most accurate flying airplane they could. The goal was for the airplanes to soar about ten feet across the room and land in a square on the floor underneath a table. After all the students flew their planes, we came to the realization that the majority of the planes did not make it even half of the way to the target. So the class decided to take a step back, looking at the flaws in their paper airplanes. After noticing these flaws every single student made a change to their plane, they improved their planes. After improving the planes the class flew them again. This time the majority of the planes landed in target box or within a few feet from it.

The students noticed flaws in their planes, improved them and saw better results. This lesson can apply to everything that we do in life. Whether you are working on a project for school or are at sports practice there is always room for improvement. You are never 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time. There is always room for improvement.

Just like the students saw better results after improving their paper airplanes you too could reach greater heights of success if you are willing to notice your flaws and improve them. The next time you make a mistake or see a flaw I challenge you to fix it, improving yourself.

Soaring to Success,
Jillian Tyler

Focus
Oct. 07, 2018

Ashley Hagenow - Reporter
Rio FFA Chapter
Section 6

Hello everyone!

It is hard to believe that Sectional Leadership Workshops are now concluded for the year! What an experience the last few weeks have been touring agricultural businesses, presenting workshops on FFA and leadership, and having the opportunity to meet so many incredible FFA members such as yourselves!

In addition to presenting Sectional Leadership Workshops and traveling all over Wisconsin, the state officers had the opportunity to attend World Dairy Expo this past week to assist with FFA contests and experience one of the most prestigious dairy cattle shows in the world. My teammates and I helped with the dairy judging and showmanship contest, forage analysis competition, dairy products contest, and numerous other events while at Expo. In addition to helping with contests, we also visited with various sponsors who had booths set up at the trade show and throughout the grounds. These sponsors included Animart, Zoetis, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and Organic Valley, to name a few. The sponsor visits were so eye opening as they showcased how interconnected and supportive the agricultural industry is, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time to visit with the employees of these sponsor companies and learn more about their career roles and responsibilities.

While at World Dairy Expo, the state officer team also had the wonderful chance to meet with Gary Sipiorksi, who served as a Wisconsin FFA state vice president from 1968 to 1969. Mr. Sipiorksi was originally from Denmark and is currently serving as the dairy development manager for Vita Plus as well as a member of the board of directors for Citizens State Bank of Loyal, Wisconsin. Mr. Sipiorski shared some great insight as it relates to serving as a state officer and the impact FFA has made on his life and career. One of the main points he emphasized was the importance of staying focused, and never losing sight of the goals we set for ourselves. This point really resonated with myself and the whole state officer team, as focus and dedication are qualities that are required of us in order to best fulfill our duties and responsibilities in our year of service.

When we have focus, we are able to present the best version of ourselves day in and day out, with determination to succeed. Focus is the ability to stay strong and optimistic even through trials and tribulations, and allows us to stay motivated for the future. Focus, as defined, is “the center of interest or activity.” Is what you are focusing on in your life your greatest central interest? Do you have the right focus for your present and future self? As we move forward every day, I challenge you to remain focused on your top priorities and to see through into the future. Even when we face obstacles or failure, our ability to focus and stay determined will shine through and help us to overcome even the toughest of challenges. Keep staying focused and driven in all that you do, and great success and wonderful outcome will be experienced.

I look forward to meeting more of you in the upcoming weeks and months at chapter visits, National Convention, and numerous other conferences! Let us stay focused on our goals and future, and we will be unstoppable!

Forever focused,
Ashley Hagenow

Tractor Talk
Oct. 02, 2018

Gaelan Combs - Sentinel
Verona FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

As we roll through the fall, our state officer team has been wrapped up in our fall travels, traveling all over the state visiting businesses and industries involved in Wisconsin agriculture and putting on our sectional leadership workshops.

Recently, we traveled to Granton, Wisconsin for the Section 7 Leadership Workshop. After a successful workshop, Collin, Mitchell, and I headed off to our host family for the evening. Upon arrival and unloading in the pouring rain, the three of us met our host family. The mother, Janell, greeted us at the door and introduced to her two sons, Hunter and Mason. The two boys were 11 and 7, respectively, and were initially shy, hiding behind their mom as we stood in the doorway. However, Collin soon noticed the Green tractors spread out around the house, and after mentioning them to the boys, their eyes lit up. Both had a love for toy tractors, and paraded us around the entire house to show off every single piece of equipment that they had. Mason took us to his room to show off a treasure trove of John Deere machines, which filled up every square inch underneath his bed. He started to dig underneath and fish out tractor after tractor, which we took out to the living room and were asked to “farm” with them all over the living room. Naturally, our inner farm kid wouldn’t let this chance slip by, and Mitchell, Collin, and I sat on the floor and the five of us ran the choppers, baler, and grain carts. Initially quiet, the two had lit up getting the chance to share what they loved, and stayed up until far past their bedtime tilling up the living room with their toy machinery.

What made this night so wholesome for us three was not only having a place to stay, or a family to make small talk with. Mason and Hunter both had a passion, and when we tapped into that passion, the boys instantly flipped the switch and invited us to enjoy part of their life that they loved. This passion radiated to us, letting us soak in the opportunity to reminisce on our childhoods.

In life, the chance to share other’s passions comes unexpectedly. Whether it’s when talking to others about their hobbies, or being shown around a friend’s hometown, we all run into that “spark” that ignites a person and gives them life. For some, it’s the animals they may raise for the county fair. For others, it’s the time they spend in the shop working on their car. No matter who you are, a spark lies within, and just like the two boys, tapping into this to share will radiate this spark to those around us. Take time to understand where your passion lies. That spark will ignite your life as well as others around yours. Find your passion, and hold onto it tight. What will your toy tractor be?

Searching,
Gaelan Combs


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