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It's The Little Things...
Dec. 23, 2018

Jared Mack - Secretary
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter
Section 6

Merry Christmas! I hope you all will have the chance to catch up with family and friends over the holiday break and earn some time to recharge and refresh for the new year!

In lieu of the holiday spirit, I found myself feeling less “Christmassy” than ever before this year. Between being busy with FFA duties, worried about the endless to-do list that never seems to get completely done, and just trying to find a little time to myself, it seemed that the holiday season had sprung upon me. Just last weekend, I realized that Christmas was less than 2 weeks away, and I had barely even begun shopping for the friends and family on my list. Even those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies I know we all LOVE to watch were doing nothing to get me into the holiday mindset. Why did Christmas feel so sudden and forced? Why did I not have an ounce of excitement in me for the upcoming enjoyable holidays?

The truth is this: we all can get caught up in the daily to-do list of our lives, without even taking the time to enjoy the simple, small things, such as a morning cup of coffee or enjoying a family meal after a long school day and sports practice. I have found that by taking a step back and focusing time on the little things, such as reading my favorite book or baking and frosting Christmas cookies with my mom and sister, I am now back into the holiday spirit and am ready for all that Christmas and the upcoming new year has to offer!

So now that we have some time to ourselves, let’s focus on where we can go from here. What little things can you start doing in order to help you bring that “Christmassy” spirit into your life all year long? For some, it might be spending more time with family and friends, and for others, it might be starting a goal to live a healthier lifestyle. As FFA members, we can find that spirit all year long through service projects, volunteering, and the chance to better ourselves through leadership opportunities. When we are given the chance to help others, we also set ourselves up for success and can enjoy the little things more fully and deeply.

Now let’s try to find that Christmas spirit all year long! Be kind, be helpful, and be ready to enjoy the little things in all that you do. Embrace the next few days spent with loved ones and eating lots of food and Christmas cookies, and take the time to reflect on how blessed we are to celebrate this wonderful season! Please do not hesitate to reach out anytime if you ever have any questions! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you all are looking forward to what 2019 will bring!

Enjoy the little things,

Nursing Home Narratives
Dec. 17, 2018

Emily Sheehan - Sentinel
Parkview FFA Chapter
Section 5

Happy December everyone,

The holiday season brings a sense of family to all we spend our time with. Celebrating our beliefs, giving back to our community, or bringing in the new year with those we care about, time of the year is bursting with love for the people in our lives. Thankfully, I was able to share a little piece of this community atmosphere when I trekked down to spend an afternoon with the Oregon FFA making Christmas ornaments with residents of their local nursing home.

As we entered, the staff helped usher some of the residents to our work room, I found myself milling around socializing with some of the residents who had entered. In the beginning, many had apathetic looks on their faces, accustomed to having guests come to make crafts or sing Christmas carols. However, as we ran through talk about the weather and what group we all were with, one question seemed to take small talk to a full-blown conversation:

“So, what brought you to living in Oregon?”

After this, what was once apathy turned to excitement and engagement. One gentleman proudly shared his story of being a farmhand and moving to Oregon for work. One woman shared how she was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Oregon when she married and her first experience with snow. Others were waitresses, businessmen, or full out Elvis Presley lovers. No matter who I talked to that day, asking for their story lit them up and brought up the best stories- stories of love, pride, excitement, and more.

What brought you to where you are? Do you take pride in the story that you have yet unfolding? These individuals did wholeheartedly. They took pride in the story of who they are, what experiences shaped their worldview, and the life they had lived. Not a single person was shy to share who they were, what brought them to where they were sitting right now.

We, too, can hold onto the story of what makes us who we are. Whether we are proud of our rural background, or excited to share that agriculture class that brought us to be a part of the story of agriculture. Those experiences that make me, me, and that make you, you, are what we can hold onto our whole lives. As we work with others, in the classroom, in our communities, or with other supporters of agriculture, we can share this spark. Hold onto your story.

Live passionately,


What Do Your Rings Look Like?
Dec. 16, 2018

Grace Morrissey - Vice President
Shullsburg FFA Chapter
Section 4

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas is right around the corner! Houses are decorated with various colors of festive lights, sweat treats are a part of every meal, and gifts for loved ones are beginning to pile up under the Christmas tree. If your family is anything like mine, then you’ve had your tree up since black Friday (my birthday) and the final ornaments in the perfect spot. Though my family has an artificial tree, while putting it up this year reminded me of a very cool message that can be taken away from these popular Christmas staples.
Have you ever cut down a tree and looked closely at the rings in the trunk? In most species, a tree will add a ring to the trunk for each year of its life, and each ring shows the key factors of survival and tracks the development of that tree throughout the past year. For example, if there was a drought that year, the rings would be close together because it wasn’t able to receive as many nutrients. On the other hand, if there was a big year for rain, the tree would have grown more, so that year’s ring would be farther apart.
I feel that each of us has internal rings that develop just like those of a tree. When I look at my tree rings, they are shinning bright with the passion I’ve found for FFA. As a freshman in high school, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my siblings in becoming an FFA member. At the time, I had no idea of the impact this organization would have on my future and how much of a mark agriculture would make on my life. My tree rings have only continued to grow even stronger throughout my year of service to FFA.
We add so much to ourselves in a year. Layers and layers of strength, growth, and character are being built up in us all the time. We may not even realize how much something that someone said, or something we did can affect us, until we actually take the time to look back at the tree rings inside of us.

Happy Holidays,

Looking Back
Dec. 12, 2018

Curtis Weltzien - Treasurer
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hi Everyone,

With chapter visits complete and Checkpoint #2 Training in the books, this week marks the first in quite some time where an FFA event isn’t found on my calendar. Now, there’s certainly plenty of FFA related items on my to-do list, but for me, the “week off” means plenty of quality time spent working on the farm. It’s been quite a change of pace in my routine and a slightly different work environment to say the least! Going from interacting with 100 or more students in a school day to maybe encountering a total of 3 or 4 people daily out on the farm has definitely been a changeup. But, as I do occasionally, I got to thinking. And as I got to thinking about my unique week, I realized just how fast chapter visit season flew by.

It seems like yesterday I was given the task of visiting the 25 FFA chapters in Section 3. I can vividly remember the classic, “Oh my, how am I going to handle that?!” feeling. And 3 short months later, here I am looking back thinking, “Wow, where did they all go?”. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun my chapter visit experience was! The conversations I had and the connections I made with FFA members from across my section are memories I am forever grateful for. I came to realize just how special it was to have the opportunity to directly impact the lives of other students through my chapter visit experience. But why did it take me until chapter visits were over to come to that realization?

You see, often times, we never truly understand the value of our experiences until they become memories. We tend to get so caught up with “what’s next” in our lives that we hit cruise control and forget to celebrate the present moments. Sometimes it takes a look to the past to fully appreciate what we’ve accomplished.

As our FFA experiences continue to grow as we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, let’s not forget to live in the present and appreciate the progress we make with every moment. But let’s also make sure to take time to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a jingle. I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season spent with family and friends!

Take Care,

Finding the Good
Dec. 09, 2018

Lindsey Augustine - Vice President
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

Hey there everyone!

Most say it is the most wonderful time of the year; we celebrate the holidays with friends, family, food, gifts, traditions, and more! If you are like me you look forward to all those things, but living in Wisconsin we all know that snow, ice, and the pesky wind come along with all that good stuff.

In the winter, I often find myself longing for warmer days. Are there times when you wish for warm weather too? Maybe we are all guilty of wishing time away so we can hurry up and get to whatever it is we are looking forward to.

The other night I was riding in the car wishing I could be at home already in my pjs watching a movie or hanging out with my family where it was cozy and warm. It was a particularly cold night and while I was being grumpy about the cold I noticed the snow looked like glitter sprinkled over the fields, trees, and whatever else it covered. It was beautiful, and completely changed my mood. Growing up my mom had always told me "you can tell it is really cold when the snow looks like glitter," all of a sudden I appreciated the cold a little more.

Similarly, my mood was changed this morning while driving. Everything had a beautiful layer of frost from the fog I was so excited to drive in the night before. These were just two little reminders to me that we can find the good in situations and our attitude may change. I can assure you I am still not a fan of the cold winter months, but I have a little more tolerance and appreciation after those two reminders of how beautiful winter can be. Maybe I don't want winter to be over quite yet.

Are there times where you could find the good in situations? Would finding the good allow you to live more in the moment? Maybe you would be better able to appreciate the little things by finding good in everything. Everyday can be the most wonderful time of the year if we find the good, stop wishing away our time and allow it to be beautiful and wonderful.

Wonderful Wishes,


What it Means to Wear Blue
Dec. 03, 2018

Michelle Stangler - Vice President
Watertown FFA Chapter
Section 10

The blue corduroy jacket. This piece of clothing tends to generate many questions when I have visited high schools. From staff to students, I’ve heard multiple comments on it:

“Do you wear THAT every day?”
“When are you going to catch up with the
“I did not know corduroy jackets were still

Those are only a few of the comments I have received on our jacket. Although corduroy may not be the most “in” item, corduroy is full of tradition. Items that are labelled as “in” eventually go “out of style”, our jackets have been a part of our official dress since 1933. There have been so many changes throughout the past 85 years, but our pride in our organization has not changed.

Maybe a fancy blazer is more common, but we are not trying to be common. We are leaders, progressive agriculturists, the future workforce and part of a tradition that continues to grow. We represent those who came before us and lay more groundwork for those who will follow.

There are times that I get shivers when I put on my blue jacket. Shivers from the magnified feelings of pride, confidence and hope. This jacket is not only an article of clothing but it is our organization’s traditions, present and future in one. We are FFA and proud of our organization

Wear your blue with pride!


Stuff That Bus
Dec. 02, 2018

Collin Weltzien - President
Arcadia FFA Chapter

Happy December! As we enter the winter months, there are often lots of volunteering opportunities for us in our communities – as we prepare for this, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on experiences I’ve had and what we can learn from them.

Recently, I volunteered at a “Stuff the Bus” event. We wore our ugly sweaters and talked to customers at the local grocery store, inviting them to donate canned goods or purchase a pre-packaged bag filled with items that the food pantry needed. Afterwards, we rode the bus across town and unloaded a whole bus load of food at the pantry! Then, it needed to be sorted. Canned vegetables. Pasta. Soap. Tuna. Canned fruit. Everything has a box, and then the boxes are stacked up on the shelves to make it sort of “store-like.”

While unloading the bus takes a while, it is this sorting process that takes the longest. I’ve volunteered at this event for many years, and there are a few things that seem to challenge us.

1)There’s a lot of people in a small space.
2)The people who work at the food pantry know where everything is, and the FFA members volunteering don’t always know where it all goes.
3)The pre-packaged bags have all the same stuff, but there are always a few extra donations that throw off our rhythm, because we don’t have a box for that.

From those challenges, there are a few things I have learned about service.
1)There are a lot of people who want to volunteer. Sometimes, this can be hard because all those people aren’t quite sure where to start. As FFA members and supporters, one role we can take is to help provide opportunities for all those people. Invite more people to participate in your chapter’s events to learn more about what FFA does in your community. Bring a friend to the next service event you attend.
2)Sometimes, you won’t know everything about the needs around you. Maybe you won’t know where stuff needs to go, who is in charge, or what your exact role is. Find a way to contribute what you know how to do. If you know where the canned beans are being sorted to, make that you mission to sort all the canned beans. If you are good at working with children, sign up for stations at events where there are a lot of kids. You can use your knowledge and strengths to better help other people.
3)It may seem like those strengths don’t fit into a “box.” Just like we had some extra donations beyond our boxed categories that threw off our rhythm, we may sometimes think that our extra talents are out of place and actually just disrupt things more. And it’s not true. You bring something to the table that is unique, workable, and can help to make each service project more impactful.

This season, as you take advantage of ways to volunteer in your community, remember to find the people who want to help, find ways to use your knowledge and strengths, and to serve others in small ways.

Happy serving,

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