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It's Winter In Wisconsin
Dec. 29, 2017

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

Hey Hey Wisconsin FFA!

Well folks it’s winter in Wisconsin and we all know what that means; extreme cold, lots of snow, water lines freezing in the barn and having to plug in tractors and our faithful diesel trucks. We did have long and warm fall this year that made me almost forget about winter in Wisconsin. I have quickly regained my memory with this cold snap we have experienced here in Section 7 and throughout the state. It’s so cold out that fun winter activities aren’t possible.

Our family loves the outdoors and winter is one of our favorite time to go exploring in the woods, fishing or hunt but right now it’s just too cold to have any real fun outside. My brothers and I have spent most of the last couple of days completing our choirs at the speed of light and then quickly heading back into the house to spend the greater part of the day. We take occasional trips outside to fire up and fill the wood stove but otherwise haven’t left the house. The first day indoors is great; we all get caught up on some missed sleep, do a little cleaning and watch TV but then we all hit that wall of being completely board. To help combat the boredom that an overly cold winter can bring on, here are 7 things to do when its way to cold outside to have any fun out there.

1. Read: Books, magazines and blogs are all great to read for fun but also can show us innovative ideas about topics that we are interested in.

2. Play board games: Games are a wonderful way to pass time and have some great family time in the process.

3. Learn a new hobby or pick up an old one: What is something you have always wanted to try or maybe a hobby that absolutely love but don’t really have time? Here is the perfect time to start a new hobby or find a new love for a hobby we haven’t had time for in the past.

4. Get organized for the new year: Soon we will all be heading back to high school, College or back to our Careers. We can take the opportunity to get ourselves together and put everything into order so when we head back we will be able to be version of ourselves possible.

5. Go for a walk: Although its super cold out, short walks outside are perfect for keeping us from being totally cooped up in the house.

6. Catch up with family and Friends: Make a point to call Grandma, Grandpa and catch up with other relatives and friends. Brighten their day with a just a short phone call or plan a day with them to really catch up.

7. Volunteer: It may sound simple but we can make cards and send them to the local nursing home, children’s hospital or shelter to show others love. We can also take this to the next level and volunteer in those places. It’s amazing how these simple act make a great impact on others and as well as incredibly impact on our own lives.

Stay warm out there,


New Years Resolutions
Dec. 26, 2017

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

We are now approaching the new year, and gee wiz has 2017 been a great one. As the year winds down many people across the world reflect on this year and think how the following year could be improved and thus, a new year's resolution is born. But statistics show that within the first week of these goals nearly 22% have already failed and within a month, that number rises to 50%. Why do individuals fail at such an alarming rate? How can we better equip ourselves from becoming another dissapointing statistic?
As FFA members, we hear and learn all about goal setting and how to write good goals, but do we ever stop and focus on how to accomplish these goals? It’s important that we go out with an action plan for accomplishing our goals. Lay out specific times of the day that you will work on your goal. Come up with a back-up plan, in the event that your selected time is filled and somebody to keep you accountable and to ensure that you stay on task and don’t fall behind. Finally, make sure that your goal is realistic and is able to be measured. Rather than saying, “I want to get grades”, think more in terms of “I would like to finish the semester with a 3.5 GPA”. In other words, don't just think of a something nice you want to accomplish. Instead, write out a detailed goal with these components and put it in a place where you will be constantly reminded. By better equipping yourself to accomplish your goal, you can make 2018 even better than 2017!

Happy Holidays,
Sam Jesse

It's the Most Wonderful Time
Dec. 20, 2017

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

“It's the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near. It's the most wonderful time. Yes, the most wonderful time. Oh, the most wonderful time of the year” The air is crisper, snow is falling, hot chocolate is steaming, carolers are singing, and jingle bells are ringing. This is the time of year where we truly appreciate the little things in life because we know they are often the big things.

“Hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near” It’s the time of year to spend time with family and extended family. This time of year is my favorite because I enjoy the time that I can spend with my family. As it gets colder outside, the more work there is to be done outside on the farm to keep the cows happy and healthy. This is the time that I get to spend with my dad and brother. This time of year wouldn’t be the same without sweet Christmas cookies. One weekend before Christmas, my mom brother and I spend the day baking and laughing in the kitchen. The days leading up to Christmas are filled with the suspense of arrivals of our extended family. This year, my aunts and cousins came early for Christmas so we could spend more time together. I have learned that it is not a matter of what we are doing but, who we are doing it with.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year because we can enjoy the time and little moments spent with family. How is this ‘the most wonderful time’ for you?

Happy Holidays!

O, Christmas Tree!
Dec. 16, 2017

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

The holiday season is officially here! My family celebrates Christmas every year, and one of my favorite family traditions is bringing home a freshly cut Christmas tree from a local tree farmer. Now my family often struggles to time the weekend that is perfect to cut down this tree. Do we go Thanksgiving weekend, or will we be able to keep it alive that long? Do we go the weekend before Christmas and be tighter on time to decorate this tree? These decision, are something that I’m sure keep my parents up at night. All joking aside, we have varied the time of year that we have gone to pick out this perfect tree.
One year my family decided to cut down this tree on Thanksgiving weekend. We took our handsaw and cut down a perfect seven foot Christmas tree. Yes, we did remember the hand saw, unlike Clark Griswold in Christmas vacation. We brought home this wonderful tree, and on our porch, it sat until we had the optimal time to decorate the tree. The funny thing about trees is they require water, and this tree did not have the most love and care. As we brought it in the house to our realization the needles started to fall, like crazy! How were we going to decorate this tree!? My mom and sister then volunteered to go to the local grocery store and get a new tree to try and save some headache. (While they were gone, somehow, my brother and I tactfully were able to place the tree on its stand). My mom and sister got the last tree at the store. Just to be completely honest, I believe that the Charlie Brown Christmas tree looked better than the one they brought home. On the way, home the tree was so small and difficult to tie down it fell off the car! My mom and sister had to pull over, pick the tree off the road, and put it in the back of the car. It was definitely a good thing that my brother and I were able to decorate the other tree. We were able to use the grocery store tree outside and use it for decoration. This was a good lesson for my family on not only the importance of time management, but why it’s a good idea to water your tree.
Time management can be critical to the success of any event or project. Now whether it is getting a Christmas tree, filling out a proficiency or state degree application, or practicing for a speaking contest it is helpful to organize our time and plan. One simple way that has helped me is using a planner. I know all events and tasks to complete. May this trick help the holidays and FFA events go more smoothly!
I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday season! If you have any funny stories like this one, I’d love to hear them. I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year, as well!

Happy Holidays,

Morgan Fitzsimmons

The Power to Choose!
Dec. 13, 2017

Ciara Koboski - Vice President
Black River Falls FFA Chapter
Section 3

In the spirit of the holidays one of my favorite movies is Dear Santa. This movie is about a little girl who lost her mother and is now ready to ask Santa for one thing for Christmas. This is not the only thing this movie is about, this movie is about fate. Some of us may believe in the word fate, just like in the movie Dear Santa when Crystal found the letter to Santa and became part of the little girl’s life.

A saying we hear often is “Everything happens for a reason.” Now whether we believe in fate, everything does happen for a reason. It could be going to that LDE and meeting a member that we competed against and becoming really close friends or maybe we meet family we never knew that we had. Everyone has something happen to them whether they choose it or not. It’s what we do with those events that make us who we are. We have the power to choose who we are! Who do you want to be? How are you going to make that happen? Take the time to think about what you want to be known for and make it happen.

Your Section 3 State Officer,

Ciara Koboski

Worth a Thousand Words
Dec. 10, 2017

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

The stories that could be told, memories relived, and feelings of pride shared, all remain within this one picture. When we look at this picture, we see my mom and I wearing our blue corduroy jackets. We will also see my agriculture teacher, alongside my mother’s FFA advisor and retired agriculture teacher, Archie Abbott. None of us are looking at the camera, instead we are all sharing a laugh with Mr. Abbott as he talked about the value of teaching agriculture for over 50 years, but more importantly investing in the value of his students for the rest of his life.

On Thursday, December 7th Mr. Abbott passed away in his home in Menomonie. When I received the news of his passing that day I immediately thought of this picture tucked so carefully away in the pocket of my blue jacket. This simple image speaks volumes to show just how powerful FFA and the agriculture industry is, and how it ties all of us together. In this memorable picture there are countless memories, contests, conventions, county fairs, and banquets that can be retold, relived, and cherished all the same. Ingrained in this picture are generations of lessons learned and a truly remarkable passion for the FFA Organization.

Mr. Abbott was a part of one of the greatest generations of Agriculture Instructors who helped modernize agriculture education. His career began when he graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls in 1951. He first taught at Neillsville for one year followed by five years at the Dunn County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy. In July of 1957 Vocational Agriculture began at Menomonie High School, and the vacant Ford Garage across the street from the high school served as the classroom, lab, and Ag shop for Mr. Abbott's students. In the winter of 1961 the agriculture program was moved into the new high school building and within 10 years the Ag I, Ag II, Ag III, and Ag IV classes were put in place as semester courses. Mr. Abbott built up a program that has changed the lives of many throughout our community, including mine.

My favorite days of school always included Mr. Abbott as a substitute teacher. He would stroll into the classroom and the familiar sound of his loud sharp whistle would make everyone sit up straight in their seats. He would then proceed to point me out to the entire class of students and say: “Did you guys know that this young ladies mother served as the first female president for the Menomonie FFA Chapter in 1982?” The excitement, and pride that I’m sure Mr. Abbott felt that day my mom was elected could show through in his voice and eyes every time he told me that story. (Which was every time he saw me!)

Mr. Abbott, I want to thank you for being such an inspiration in my life, for loving my family as if it were your own, and for believing in me each step of the way. You have been tucked away in my blue corduroy jacket for the first 6 months of my state officer year, and the values in which you have instilled in my will remain there too. Thank you Mr. A, for believing in the future of agriculture.

Agriculturally yours,

Brooke Brantner

Thank You Alumni!
Dec. 06, 2017

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

This past weekend the State FFA Officers attended the Farm Bureau Annual Conference. This conference is an opportunity for young farmers and agriculturists, and Farm Bureau members to meet to continue working and improving their grass roots organization. The Farm Bureau is proud to represent agriculture and always have agriculturists back (do you mean and always support agriculturists and farming), similar to our FFA Alumni.
The FFA alumni helps members live out FFA experiences every day. Whether it be judging a speaking contest, providing a scholarship to attend Washington Leadership Conference, or even helping the local members practice for a CDE, these alumni members do it all. One alumni member has always held a special place in my heart, my mom.
My mom, Gwen Dado, represents section one as the FFA alumni representative. She takes time out of her busy schedule in order to give back to the organization that meant so much to her and her family. In this season of being thankful, I am thankful for everything my mom does for the FFA organization and for our family. However, the alumni organization is not only for family’s rooted in FFA.
The FFA alumni is available to anyone who is interested in agriculture education and helping FFA members, they do not have to be a past FFA member themselves. My home chapter, and many others throughout the state, benefit greatly from having an alumni chapter have our backs. Consider contacting your alumni chapter this giving season and simply say “thanks.” These alumni members work hard to provide each member the opportunity to continue their FFA experiences. As the Farm Bureau helps all of their members reach their goals, the FFA alumni does the same for us.

Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

The Season of Giving
Dec. 01, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter

Now that we’re past Thanksgiving and into December, it sure is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I don’t know about you, but for the past week, I have been listening to Christmas music almost non-stop! Everything from Silent Night to the First Noel to Jingle Bells.

I love the holiday season because I love Christmas carols, bright colored lights, Hallmark holiday movies, baking cookies, and spending time with family and friends. But even more than that, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is how it inspires people to help others.

The holidays truly are the Season of Giving! The Season of Giving is just getting started and I’ve already seen so many people, including Wisconsin FFA members, sharing some holiday cheer! Bells are ringing with the Salvation Army in front of stores, local organizations are collecting food for food drives, and students are writing holiday cards to the elderly and veterans. Just this last Sunday, my church was collecting macaroni and cheese to donate, buying presents for a family in need, and we scheduled our annual Christmas caroling trip.

All of those service projects are fantastic ways to celebrate the Season of Giving, but one holiday service project has a special place in my heart: the Children’s Christmas Benefit. The Children’s Christmas Benefit organizes a fundraiser and donation drives to help rural families in need enjoy the holiday season a little more. With funds raised and donations received, families are able to receive food and presents for Christmas.

As I was a committee member for the benefit through 4-H, I always loved helping with every step of the process from planning and setting up for the benefit, sorting the donated food, toy and other gift items, and packaging gifts for families. However, my favorite part every year was the Benefit itself.

The Benefit is held in a small, rural community, but you would never know that because you see the huge crowd when you walk in the door! At the benefit, there is delicious food, entertainment, raffles, and even a visit from Santa! And better yet, you are surrounded by people who truly exemplify the idea of helping others and celebrating the Season of Giving! It always amazes me how generous people are and how exciting and cheerful the atmosphere is.

The Children’s Christmas Benefit is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the Season of Giving, what is yours?

Spreading the Holiday Cheer,

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