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Look A Lot like Christmas!
Nov. 29, 2016

Ciera Ballmer - Vice President
Clinton FFA Chapter
Section 5

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas lights are shining bright, Christmas songs are playing on the radio, Hallmark Christmas movie marathons have started, and the Holiday spirit is spreading around!

The last few weeks of my chapter visits, I have been so excited for the holidays that I have even been asking FFA members, “What is your favorite holiday?” “What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?” and “What is your favorite holiday tradition?”

My holiday season is always filled with plenty of baking, singing Christmas Carols, and playing Euchre with my family. For me, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without my family traditions.

This last weekend, my siblings and I set up and decorated our Christmas tree! Every year, our tree is decorated with cranberries, white lights, red bows, and our family’s agricultural related ornaments. Ornaments make our Christmas trees look festive and beautiful, but they also tell a story and play an important role in my family’s tradition.

Each and every summer, my family goes to the Wisconsin State Fair, and my mom buys an ornament for my siblings and I each year. She buys three of the same ornaments and then writes one of our names and the year on each one. We have quite the collection of red tractors, cows, milk cans, and barns. There is simply something very special about hanging up these ornaments and decorating the tree with my brother and sister to kick off the holiday season!

Now that our Christmas tree is up, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Wishing that your holidays are merry and bright,

Christmas and Chapter Visits!
Nov. 28, 2016

Kari Fischer - Parliamentarian
Argyle FFA Chapter
Section 4

The two things that Kari was most excited for this year? Christmas and Chapter Visits. While I still have the wonderful thought of Christmas being in 27 short days, I have the depressing thought of having only 3 chapter visits left. Where has the time gone! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was nervously walking into Potosi High School, terrified how my first chapter visit would go. Thankfully, Ms. Brunton and the Potosi FFA were extremely welcoming and made it a great experience! Or what about the time, almost a month ago, when my 8th hour class in Prairie du Chien got into a heated Taboo game, forcing us to go into overtime not once but twice. No matter what the experience, each and every chapter that I've visited has created a lasting impact on me throughout these last two months. I cannot thank the wonderful FFA advisors and students that made this possible for me enough. And I can say, I speak on behalf of my team for that. We've all had so many great experiences with FFA members across the state and I love getting to hear all the hilarious and wonderful stories that my teammates have of all of you. Thank you Wisconsin FFA for being you!
And while I have Christmas to look forward too, I also have so many great things to look forward to as I continue the second half of my year as a state officer. I'm beyond excited to continuing working with you all and see you thrive in so many things! From Career Development Events, Leadership Development Events, Banquets, and State Convention, there's so much more in store for all of us! So while I may be excited for Christmas, I'm also elated for what lies ahead in 2017 for Wisconsin FFA!

-Kari Fischer

The Little to Big Things
Nov. 23, 2016

Laura Munger - Secretary
Holmen FFA Chapter
Section 3

Thankful. This week is full of activities and events in which we all give thanks to the people and things around us. For some of us, it’s donating our time to volunteer at a food pantry, or giving back to the community by helping out with a thanksgiving tradition within our town. Maybe, for a few of us, it’s participating in the annual thanksgiving day 5k run/walk, to remind ourselves to stay healthy and active during this holiday season. For many of us though, it’s sitting down on Thursday to a large turkey meal with family and friends. To be honest, as much as my family loves to run and be active, our family tradition was not competing in the local Turkey Trot, but rather, spend the whole day in the kitchen readily preparing the annual turkey dinner.
As I sit here writing this blog, listening to Christmas music, I can already smell the turkey and crescent roles in the oven, and the cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy cooking on the stove. I can hear the hustle and bustle of everyone in the kitchen, with the ring of laughter throughout the house. This time of year, from November through December, is my favorite time of the winter season. Sadly, however, this year our Thanksgiving is going to look very different from what I am used too. Of the 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days in a year, my parents decide to pick November and December to completely redo our kitchen. Leaving us without any means of food preparation for not just one major holiday, but two! Their timing was way off on the planning for this renovation.
This year, instead of cooking together, as a family, in the kitchen, we will be going out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner. For the past three weeks of being kitchen-less, I have been extremely frustrated with my parents for the poor timing of this event. Today, during my chapter visit, however, I was sitting in a Floral Design class in Arcadia; and started to look at my situation differently. The students were hurrying to put the finishing touches on their Thanksgiving floral centerpieces, and I sat separated from them, listening to Christmas music and mourning the fact that we wouldn’t even have a table to put a centerpiece on. Suddenly, it hit me. I have always had a hard time excepting change, especially when it interferes with traditions, such as Thanksgiving dinner. Finally, I realized that even if we didn’t have a kitchen to cook our annual Thanksgiving day dinner in, at least we have a house, at least we have money to go out and eat at a restaurant, and at least all of us are healthy and together as a family.
I’ve come to realize that it’s the little things we take for granted every day that we should be thankful for, not the traditions that come around once or twice a year. Instead, we should be thankful that we are all home for the holiday, that we made it home safely after a night of driving through freezing rain, and that we have a warm home to come back too. I have gotten so caught up in the day to day life, that I failed to see what really matters. Maybe we all get like that from time to time, and just need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Be thankful for the small things, because once they are gone, the small things suddenly become the big things.

Da Thirty Point Buck
Nov. 19, 2016

Caleb Green - Vice President
Stanley-Boyd FFA Chapter
Section 2

With hunting season upon us, I first want to remind everyone to be safe out there! Today we started the 9 day state holiday known as the gun deer hunting season. This is a nine day stretch full of cold, early mornings; fun with friends and family; and some trophy deer. With the hunting season comes a couple things: healthy competitions, great songs, and big meals.

Many FFA chapters, and other community organizations, have a Big Buck Contest. This is a chance to show off truly how good you are at the sport. This can be compared to when you do well in a Career Development Event or Leadership Development Event. It is great to see all of the pictures that are still around from last year and I certainly look forward to all of the new ones this year.

Also with the season comes great songs like "The Thirty Point Buck" and "The Second Week of Deer Camp." These are classic songs that play throughout the week that get us excited, similar to when we hear that pre session song at convention.

The final thing it brings is a big meal on Thursday with Thanksgiving. This is the best day of the week because we get to relax and fill up on great food and catch up with friends and family that we may not always see during the year. This is very similar to when we get to sit at convention sessions and fill up on knowledge and make those new friendships that will last a lifetime.

For many of us, this week is the most anticipated week of the year. For others, it may be just another holiday. Either way, there is a plus in it for all of us- it gets us one week closer to Christmas! That's a whole different story however. No matter what your plans are this week, enjoy it! Have fun, find your warm clothes, and fill up because it's about to get a whole lot colder!

Until next time,
Caleb Green
Section 2 State Vice President

What a week...
Nov. 17, 2016

Rylee Black - Treasurer
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

Well, I can honestly say that this past week has been quite an interesting one. As I was driving home today, I began to reflect on this week’s events. To put it kindly, I would definitely not rank it in my top three best weeks of my life—far from it, in fact. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Let me explain…
It started last Friday at 10:00am. I was so excited because I was finally going to get new tires on my car! The 12,000 miles I have put on my car since being elected have done quite a number on my tires. They were completely bald, actually. As a person who drives like a granny when it comes to acceleration, I should not be able to spin my tires on pavement. However, when I arrived at the tire place at my scheduled time, the receptionist informed me that my tires had not been delivered on the truck that morning—meaning I was not getting my new tires any time soon. Which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that snow is supposed to hit soon, and they were supposed to call me to tell me the tires didn’t arrive BEFORE I drove 30 minutes to get them changed. It felt like an hour and a half of my life had just been wasted.
A few days later, I had two different chapter visits cancel on me. They had legitimate reasons for their cancellations, and in no way am I upset with their advisors, but the end of November is closing in. I am supposed to try to visit all Section One schools before the annual Farm Bureau meeting on December second. That wasn’t going to happen anymore which probably frustrated me a lot more than it should have. It wasn't my fault, but at the end of the day, it was still me who would have to tell Brenna I wasn't finished with them.
While I was at home on one of the days that I was supposed to be at a chapter visit, I noticed my dog was acting out of the ordinary. He is normally a tiny, hyper ball of fluff who loves to play ball and eat peanut butter toast. This day, however, he didn’t want to do ANYTHING. Our other dog named Boone would nudge him with his rope toy to try to get him to play. Nothing. I would squeak his rubber chicken. Nothing. Someone would ask, “Wylie, do you want to go outside?” Nothing. When he refused to eat peanut butter toast though, we knew something was definitely wrong. I took him to the vet, and he sat sadly moping in the passenger seat wrapped in a quilt instead of in my lap like normal. I was worried. The vet diagnosed fairly quickly what was wrong—I’ll spare you the gruesome details; one of the glands in Wylie’s nether regions was infected making him extremely sensitive and unfortunately, constipated too. I’m glad it was easily fixed and he’s feeling better now, but that was an unexpected $125 expense that I didn't really want.
A few other smaller things did not go as I had hoped, and I began to feel all kinds of emotions at once as I reflected on the week’s events. I didn’t get as much sleep, I skipped the gym a few days in a row, I stopped journaling, and I even ignored brushing my teeth a few nights before bed because all I wanted to do was sleep and escape the bad things that were happening. I started focusing on all the negative things that happened, and didn’t acknowledge anything good. I would even get mad at myself laying there in bed because I hadn't brushed my teeth. I could never win, and I became consumed. Even my conversations with other people seemed to revert back to all of the seemingly terrible things that were happening to me.
Today, I began to realize that I was using victim thinking. It began to affect my work ethic, and I felt like everything I was working on was just going to be ruined some way or another so what was the point. I thought the world had it in for me, and there was nothing in my power that I could do to change it. That may be partially true. I couldn’t help that my tires didn’t arrive or that my dog got sick, but I do have the power to change the way I think about each thing that happens in my life—good or bad. Instead of asking “Why do these things keep happening to me?”, I should have been asking “How can I take advantage of or adjust to these changes?” For example, when those advisors cancelled their chapter visits, it opened up a week day where I could reschedule my appointment to change my tires, and I was home to notice Wylie wasn't feeling well and take him to the vet.
I also kept forgetting to remember the positive things I had in my life. That series of unfortunate events clouded the fact that I got to see a close friend that I really missed, I had a great chapter visit in Rice Lake, and that I had finalized my schedule for my return the University of Minnesota in the spring. Sometimes, we just have to tune out that negativity and remember that we are never given more than we can handle, even in the darkest points in our lives. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, we just have to be strong enough to open our eyes.

Everything IS Awesome
Nov. 10, 2016

Brenna Bays - President
Adams-Friendship FFA Chapter

Happy Thursday, Wisconsin FFA!

Recently, I was able to watch, again, one of my favorite movies: The LEGO Movie. We may be thinking to ourselves: “Wait, isn’t that a “Kid” movie?” The answer is: Yes. “Wasn’t that movie popular two years ago?” The answer is: Yes. “Isn’t Brenna, like, too old for that movie?” The answer is: Never. With our busy schedules it is hard to take a movie break, let alone find time to even think about watching a movie. But, though we may seem invincible to the world, there comes a point in our lives that we need to. We need to take time for ourselves otherwise, sadly, we won’t enjoy the work that we do.

As I scheduled time to take a break from homework, emails, Facebook, and my phone, I decided to kick-back and relax for a bit to watch The LEGO Movie. It had been a while since I watched it, but the inspiration behind the story line became prevalent. “Everything is Awesome.” This upbeat, catchy songs carries a strong message behind it: Find the positive side of everything. Whether things go our way or not, it is our job as leaders to search for the brightness in any situation: Everything happens for a reason.

Life doesn’t always go our way, even though many times we expect it to. We expect ourselves to get 100% on a test that we may have not put enough time into studying for. We expect ourselves to win every competition that we participate in though we may lose focus on continuing to grow. We expect ourselves to be the best of the best without putting in the hard work that comes with it. There are so many times in a day that we realize we are expecting too much of ourselves without putting in the extra effort, but why does that limit us from living everyday to the fullest.

Because we are the leaders in our chapters, our schools, and within the FFA, we serve as role models for people around us. I promise each and every one of you that you have someone looking up to you with every decision you make. Whether it be a sibling, a cousin, or a younger FFA member, someone is looking up to you. Someone is proud of everything you have accomplished and wants to follow in your footsteps. If you think that no one has ever looked at you this way, I want you to know that I look up to you. To whoever is reading this, you are my role model because not only have you made a local impact, if it wasn’t for your individuality within our organization, there wouldn’t be a need for State FFA Officers. What we do is because of you.

We only have 24 hours everyday to make a positive impact on the people and the world around us: live every moment to its fullest potential. Everything in life happens for a reason so why focus on the negative. Let the brightness within our lives shine through because Everything is Awesome! “You are the most talented, most interesting, most extraordinary person in the Universe. You are capable of AMAZING Things.” Emmet, The LEGO Movie

Continue Being Awesome,

T.Cad's update!
Nov. 09, 2016

Travis Cadman - Sentinel
East Troy FFA Chapter
Section 10

Hello Wisconsin! So I am just gonna say this now. What an experience this has been! SLW, FIRE, National Convention, now chapter visits? Soon we will blink and State Convention will be in front of us! These last few weeks I have been with so many chapters and have been living the dream. To the students reading this. Thank you so much for being amazing! The drives are long and sleep is short but with all of your kindness, and eagerness to learn it gets me so excited to continue my dream of becoming an Agriculture Teacher! To the Agriculture Teachers reading this. Thank you so much for all the advice you give us. At every visit I always ask the Agriculture Teacher "What advice you give to someone who wants to become an Ag Teacher?" and much like Agriculture I get so many different but useful advice. I am so blessed to be in this position and I can not wait to see you all at 212/360 this weekend! Just a quick little plug for Talk Time! On my Facebook page I go live and talk about questions you asked the week before. If you are interested in seeing these videos just look up my name on Facebook and send a friend request! Well I need to get back at it for the next chapter visit! Keep it classy Wisconsin!

My New Favorite Season!
Nov. 06, 2016

Sarah Van Asten - Vice President
Wrightstown FFA Chapter
Section 9

I was told this was going to be a life-changing experience. But I never expected this to happen. Becoming a Wisconsin State FFA Officer is everything I ever could’ve wanted and more. When I was a freshman in high school, I saw Joanna Wavrunek stand in front of the classroom, telling us all about FFA and agriculture. It was because of meeting Joanna I dreamed of being a state officer.
I have had the opportunity to travel around Section 9 working with individuals of all backgrounds. Each unique individual and chapter has something special, and each of them has taught me something.
Nobody quite understands how diverse agriculture is, even I don't but going around and visiting each school widens my understanding a little bit more. Visit the Southern Door FFA chapter, I saw that a new teacher can make a difference. At Luxemburg Casco, I found that all students can change their attitudes if they so choose. At Sheyboygan Falls, I saw when tragedy sticks it only pulls people closer together - creating a FFA Family.
I have seen some amazing things already, and I'm only half-way through the chapter visit season! Not only have chapter visits given me a new vision on agricultural education but only reiterates all of the reasons why I want to be a teacher. Every teacher that I have met on this journey has made an impact in my life and so many other students. I can only hope I will have that same effect on others.
Thank you so much to every chapter I have been with so far. You have given me memories that I will never forget. And to the chapters I have yet to visit, I am so excited. I can only imagine what the future holds.
I thought FFA was done changing my life but now I see it is never ending. Thank you all of Section 9 for the support you've given me, the memories we've shared, and an amazing year of service.

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