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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

Seasons of Change
Sep. 25, 2022
Casey Denk - President
Mondovi FFA Chapter

The best time of the year is finally here: fall! Growing up, fall was my favorite season as it comes with watching football games, lowering temperatures, beginning of harvest season, bringing cattle home from pasture, changing of leaves, and the beginning of hunting season. Although fall is usually seen as an ending to summer and a start to the famous frigid, Wisconsin winters, it holds a deeper meaning in the agriculture industry.

For agriculturists, fall holds a different honor. While we spend hours alongside family and friends harvesting the crops we planted in spring, weaning calves, and preparing our fields, farms, and equipment for winter, we all hold a sense of pride. We get to work alongside the individuals we love to continue the long-lasting traditions that have been instilled in each of us. Looking back on my childhood, harvest season holds some of my favorite memories. As soon as we arrived home from school, my brother and I rushed to our fields to help harvest. Together, we crammed into my grandpa’s combine cab and fulfilled our “very important” duty of watching the crops feed into the head while ensuring there are no foreign objects following their trail. Now looking back, I realize our job probably wasn’t as important as we thought it was at the time, but nonetheless we enjoyed spending time outside together, with all of our family while playing a part in one of our farm’s largest tasks throughout the year.

Over the past two years, fall has continued to be my favorite season, but for a whole new reason. Fall is seen as one of the busiest times for the state officer team as we are traveling around the state putting on Fall Leadership Workshops. While we journey to every officer’s hometown,, the team has the chance to meet everyone’s chapters and families. As tradition, throughout the three weeks of Fall Leadership Workshop, we have the opportunity to stay with host families. No matter how far from home we are, FFA members and families continue to bring home to us. Between having intense volleyball matches, late night Netflix marathons, and fulfilling conversations around kitchen tables about our futures and passion for agriculture, it is impossible to not feel right at home when you enter each and every doorway. Even though all of our stays are too short, we make countless memories our team with cherish forever. Our Fall Leadership Workshop experience would not be the same without every FFA chapter, member, and family we meet throughout our travels.

While stepping back, I have realized Fall Leadership Workshops and harvest seasons have more in common than the time of year and my love for them both. Fall Leadership Workshops are the product of months spent planning and training that leads to a great reward when all is said and done. Similarly, our crop harvest is our reward for continued hard work and endless determination. While traveling and being away from home during my favorite time of the year, I quickly learned it’s not about where you are, but instead who you’re with. FFA members, lets continue to surround ourselves with individuals who feed our fire and encourage us to take advantage of all the new opportunities that are ready for us to harvest. I cannot wait to meet more of you throughout the rest of our travels this fall!

See you soon,
Casey J. Denk
Sep. 23, 2022
Isaac Hopke - Secretary
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

My family is very important to me. Over the years I have grown in how I connect with and build relationships with my family. Interestingly, these relationships have been most directly influenced by my time at Spooner High School. Through sports and the people I spent time with, many of my views of the world have changed and expanded, and my values have been strengthened. My outlook has been humbled through my high school experiences as well.

As a freshman in high school, I switched to a new school, Spooner High School. Coming to school here, I will be the first to admit that I kind of had my head in the wrong space. My prior school was smaller than Spooner, and having had a family that went to school ahead of me, I was fairly strong headed. I just wanted to take the classes, be ranked first in my class in any possible way and get the heck out of Wisconsin and never return (that plan OBVIOUSLY did not work the way I originally intended). As my freshman year came to an end, I specifically remember my biology class at the end of the day. Although I might not remember much true information about biology, I do remember a life lesson I learned from my teacher. After one test that I did not perform at my best, I remember being extremely frustrated, and for one of the first times in my life, I didn’t really get my way in the class setting. I then had to stay after class and speak with my teacher, another first. After this talk, I remember my outlook beginning to change as I realized that I was going to have to work hard to achieve my goals and it wasn’t always going to come easy to me.

Next came my sophomore year. That fall, I decided to join high school football after not playing the sport since I was in 5th grade. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made, although I admit I was also quite skeptical at how this was going to go. However, I quickly realized that I LOVED the sport, more than I ever had before. One thing that my coach stressed often was the concept of family. He provided his athletes with the acronym F.A.M.I.L.Y which stands for Forget About Me, I Love You. As a Sophomore, this acronym didn’t mean much to me.. However, after passing through a year of the Covid-19 pandemic and spending more time with my football “family”, I began to grasp a true understanding of this definition of family.

Throughout my senior year, I deeply analyzed and considered this meaning of family. My thought process went from just wanting to get out of the area no matter what so I could make what I thought would be an “amazing” living, to not wanting to leave this area and developing a new thought process about what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I could take my good grades, go to a big college, get a fancy office job, and live a life of monetary wealth, but instead I have discovered a true meaning for my life. Instead of trying to make an impact on the world for my own sake that might not help out the less fortunate, I have discovered that a life worth living is one dedicated to serving others to help our world, one person at a time. Just as I have watched my parents, teachers, coaches, and others close to me do.

Throughout my high school adventures, my outlook has changed a great deal, for what I would say the better. My family and service are two of the most important things in my life, and these two things have influenced many of my decisions in the past year, like taking the risk to serve as a state officer, and also changing what college I am attending at the last moment. With all of this information, I would like to encourage anyone who reads this to reflect on what is most important to you, how you are living this out, and how you can use your gifts and talents to positively impact as many people as possible throughout your lifetime just as the New Farmers of America creed inspires: “a life of service is a life that counts.”
Need a Hand
Sep. 18, 2022
Heidi Strey - Vice President
Osseo-Fairchild FFA Chapter
Section 2

We’ve all been there. We thought we could handle a project by ourselves, but it turns out some help is needed. I recently experienced this when moving into my house in River Falls.

After living in the dorms for two years, my friends and I decided it was time to move off campus. We searched for places to rent and finally landed on a house big enough to fit all seven of us. The house was built in 1916, so it’s old, but in good condition.

When our lease started and it was time to move our items into the house, my friends and I quickly realized the previous renters didn’t do a fabulous job cleaning or maintaining the yard. Since I’m the roommate who lives closest to the house, I made a few trips up to River Falls throughout the summer to drop my things off, clean a bit, and mow the lawn. I thought I could handle it on my own, but school was quickly approaching and the house still needed a lot of work. That’s when I knew it was time to ask for help. My aunts, grandma, and mom were quick to answer the call. They LOVE cleaning and doing yard work. One early Wednesday morning, they all met at my house with just about everything you could need for a day of work. The truck was packed full and we got to work right away! My mom and I deep cleaned the kitchen, my grandma and aunt Debbie pulled weeds, and my aunt Wendy mowed and trimmed the lawn. Whatever was needed to be done that day got done…plus more! Everything looked amazing! My family was so proud of the work they had completed, and they thought they should start a cleaning company called “Need a Hand.”

When we are put in a situation where things get chaotic, we may think we can handle it ourselves. Sometimes all we need is to ask for help. I find this difficult most of the time, as I don’t want to bother anyone or appear to be unable to handle it on my own. This is where problems arise. Instead of asking for help, I continue to struggle through it, and situations get out of hand. All that is needed is a simple question to a family or friend: “Could I have some help please?” If I wouldn’t have asked my family to help tidy up the house, my friends and I would still be trying to get it all done in between our busy schedules!

As we journey through our year in FFA, don’t forget to always ask for help when times get tough. We may just “need a hand” to help us along the way and to achieve who we want to be!

-Heidi Strey
Life is Better with Friends
Sep. 14, 2022
Kendra Goplin - Reporter
Whitehall FFA Chapter
Section 3

One thing you should know about me is that I bleed blue and yellow! Yes, I mean National Blue and Corn Gold, but I also mean blue and yellow, the school colors of South Dakota State University. SDSU has given me a lot of things in the past year; lots of homework, new knowledge, and above all life long friends. Going off to college is kind of scary, new classes, new professors, new roommates, new food….and the best part is new people.

Last year when I was on campus I met Aly and Allison. We met in our Introduction to Dairy Science class during fall semester. We joined Dairy Club together, and because of similar class schedules, we started hanging out more often. Aly, Allison and I became fantastic friends. We hung out for at least a little bit every school night for the rest of the year whether that was trips to the C-Store or popping into one another’s room for a quick chat or staying up a little too late talking about the latest on campus. We know that we are going to be close friends for a very, very long time. However, we knew that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be back on campus this year. That didn’t stop us, though, from helping each other reach our goals. Both Aly and Allison had the goal of running for Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and I had the goal of running for state office. We read over each other’s applications and listened to each other’s speeches. When it came time for the interviews, we cheered each other on and calmed our nerves together, and when the announcements were made, we were there for each other in-person or watching the virtual livestream.

There is something about having friends like that to cherish and hold close, even if there are countless miles between you. In FFA, we have the opportunity to make friends like that. This summer when the team and I traveled to Washington DC, I met Jenna. Now even though Jenna is from Michigan, and I’m in Wisconsin our friendship is just as strong. Our FFA schedules keep us pretty busy as well, but we plan to meet up at National Convention, and I think there is a trip to the Michigan State Convention in my future as well. While we wait for those events we try to call and message whenever we can. FFA gives us so many ways to meet our forever friends through different activities. Fall Leadership Workshops, FIRE Conferences, and Connect/I Am Conferences are all coming up quickly. The cool thing about making friends in the FFA from other chapters at one event, is that you are sure to see them again at other events!

Finding our forever friends is an amazing experience. When we live far away, all that means is we have to be intentional in making time for each other, whether that is weekly FaceTime calls, making trips to see each other, or even just filling each other in on the little things in a quick text or message. Technology is a great tool that allows you to be in touch with anyone, anywhere at any time! Yes, we are all busy with our own lives, interests and “to-do” lists to complete, but “having” a friend is also “being” a friend. So, who is it that you need to make contact with today? Did you meet that new friend at the State Fair? Will you meet them at the FLW’s? Or maybe it is a family member who you haven’t touched base with in a while? Take a moment to give a phone call, text or FaceTime.

I can't wait to see everyone meeting new people at the upcoming FFA events!

See you all soon,
Balancing Life
Sep. 12, 2022
Jeremiah Ihm - Vice President
Lancaster FFA Chapter
Section 4

Welcome back everyone!!! Since my last blog I have been crazy busy and having loads of fun. This brings me to say it’s early September and we are all starting school. Throughout the year we will all have times when we have a lot of schoolwork to complete and want to spend time with friends. In these moments it will be important to prioritize our activities and balance our schedules. This past week and this upcoming week are good examples of how I balanced my schedule.

The team and I have some time off to focus on whatever activities are needed. I have spent the last week pounding out details for my Fall Leadership Workshops. I went to my high school, had some supplies laminated, printed and sent my newsletter, and created a game board. I’ve also had a few meetings to attend, chores to do, emails to stay up to date on, a speech to revise, and thank you’s to write. These tasks all take a lot of time and could have very easily taken up all of my two weeks off. I knew I wanted to spend this weekend and the second week “relaxing” by visiting my college friends I have not seen all summer and attending my brother’s graduation from Army National Guard Basic Training in South Carolina. This meant I had to make a to-do list, prioritize my activities, and plan ahead. In turn, this is how I was able to balance my time.

Knowing that I had a lot of work to do and many casual events I wanted to attend it was important that I balanced my schedule so I did not get overwhelmed. Due to the hard work I put in last week, I am able to do all of the casual events that I wanted. Even though this past week was kind of stressful with all the activities I needed to complete, it was important that I took a break to do something fun. I found that I was able to travel to River Falls for the rodeo and am able to enjoy time with my family in South Carolina because I planned ahead and balanced my time throughout the week
This upcoming year I encourage everyone to try and balance their schoolwork and extracurricular activities to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Next up are Fall Leadership Workshops and Chapter Visits!!!

Please reach out with any questions and I hope to see you all soon!!!

Until Next Time,
Jeremiah Ihm
Grilled Cheese and Great Company
Sep. 07, 2022
Rhylie Gough - Vice President
Albany FFA Chapter
Section 5

Fellow FFA members never cease to amaze me. From agricultural knowledge to professionalism and communication skills, the students in our organization are by far some of the most capable people I know; the FFA members I spent this past weekend with are a prime example of just that.

When I took Mary up on her offer to help out at the Walworth County Fair, I had no idea just how much there was to be done. Members had been hard at work all fair week long: showing, caring for animals, and working in the Discovery Barn - that’s where Mary and I started off bright and early on Sunday morning. That wasn’t all that was on the plate of FFA members, though. The busiest shifts yet were in the food stand run by the Walworth County FFA chapters and alumni.

Lovingly known by all as the Grill ‘n’ Chill, the food stand served many mouthwatering options, from all-you-can-eat pancakes in the morning to creamy chocolate shakes served ice-cold all day. (I can personally vouch for both items as some of the most delicious fair food I’ve ever encountered.) Most importantly, though, the Grill ‘n’ Chill plays host to a number of inside jokes, glorious renditions of songs and FFA-themed parodies, and camaraderie all around. Members, alumni, and supporters all worked together to serve customers. No matter how little they slept the night before or how busy the stand was, the Grill ‘n’ Chill workers always made time to connect with one other. They overcame the many challenges thrown their way by thinking creatively, working hard, and relying on each other’s help throughout it all.

From the Washington Leadership Conference to a food stand on the county fairgrounds, every event we participate in is a new opportunity. When we connect with other members, engage in our communities, or thank those that support us, we have a chance to build new connections. Those contacts could turn into friends, references, or mentors down the road. At that point, the possibilities are endless.

I am extremely grateful that I was able to join the Grill ‘n’ Chill family this weekend and learn from the outstanding members I worked alongside. I hope that we can all follow in their footsteps this year and seize every minute with each other. Let’s make the most of every moment with our chapters, reach out to our alumni and supporters, and continue to introduce ourselves to unfamiliar faces at conferences and events. While we’re at it, we might as well make some delicious food together, too.

Here’s to great company (and grilled cheese),

Rhylie K. Gough
The Power of Tradition
Sep. 04, 2022
Cole Hicken - Treasurer
Waupun FFA Chapter
Section 6

The summer is officially coming to a close as the school year has begun in full swing! With many having mixed feelings about the change of scenery that likely has occurred, it’s an awesome opportunity to look back and see all the amazing things the summer months have to offer. For me, it was go, go, go following the State Fair with a series of apartment and house move-ins, a vacation to Myrtle Beach, and a closing preparation session with the team up at Jag Lake. So much fun! But, the best part is that the school year offers even more excitement and adventure.

Ice cream is a staple food in my diet. The cold, creamy, sugary sensation that melts in your mouth, and turns any frown directly upside down can almost always be found within my freezer. So, when it was brought to my attention that it’s been nearly a 30-year tradition at Jag Lake to create a 20-foot-long banana split, within a rain gutter nonetheless, I was starstruck! Layered with bananas, ice cream, chocolate sauce, cookie pieces, whip cream, and more, this was a true food masterpiece. Unbothered by the sheer size of this scrumptious dessert, the officer team quickly devoured the sundae and shared many laughs about how full we felt afterward.

Sometimes it may be as little as a hug to a loved one before leaving the house, or as big as a gutter-filled dessert from paradise. Traditions have a fantastic way of connecting people. They unify and secure years of memories that overlook the negative taste of day-to-day quarrels. FFA is rich with tradition. Nearly 100 years of friendship, dedication, and millions of corduroy blue jackets worn have changed the way our state and country operate. While the organization has changed dramatically from its inception in 1928, the common goal to further agricultural education and the agricultural industry nationwide has not.

As FFA members, I challenge you to continue carrying on years of tradition. Find the events, memories, or tasks that appeal to you and build upon what has been laid. If you feel that certain traditions aren’t speaking to you, make your own! Blaze your path and be the one to enact something new for others to follow behind you. Traditions are a way for us to connect to others from our past, relive the memories, and grow for our future. Seek your tradition.

I am extremely excited for this school year to begin! See you all soon.

Cole Hicken

Be the Sunshine on a Rainy Day
Aug. 31, 2022
Devani Hinkelmann - Vice President
Loyal FFA Chapter
Section 7

This past weekend, I was able to spend time with family and friends at both the Central Wisconsin State Fair and the Loyal Cornfest. All week leading up these festivities I was thrilled. I was going to get to do so many fun things and really spend a lot of time with the most important people in my life before I move to college. It seemed like the days leading up to Friday were dragging on. Each day slowly creeping by as I wanted so badly for it to already be the weekend. Finally, it was Friday. I got to spend some time with my friend, Emmily, at the Central Wisconsin State Fair and we had a blast! Granted, the tilt-a-whirl made our stomachs hurt a little, but we overall had a blast.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, the official start to all of the Cornfest activities I had planned to be a part of. I woke up at 7:15, ready to go watch my niece and nephew in the Jyllibean’s Dash, only to find out it was in fact pouring rain outside. Well shoot. Now what? Well, my family and I got our rain gear and out the door we went. I stood out in the rain and was there with my cousins to cheer on my niece and nephew as they crossed the finish line. While it was gross weather out, I still managed to have a blast spending time with my family.
Saturday afternoon, I had planned to go to other Cornfest activities, but it was still pouring rain. To make matters worse, my house also lost power for a bit, making it impossible for me to leave my house. So, I improvised. By improvised, I mean I took a nap. Luckily, within a couple hours, we had power again. After the rain let up, I was able to go to Cornfest and spend time with my friends that I have not seen most of the summer and we had a great time. Especially when there are lots of good fair foods to eat!
The moral of my stories is simple. Life throws us twists and turns in our plans to show us that not everything goes according to plan. We cannot control the weather or how a ride will make us feel, but we can choose how to react, similar to many of the challenges we encounter each day. We can choose to sit around and be sad, or we can choose to make the most out of what we have been given.
FFA members, this year may throw some crazy challenges our way, but how it turns out is completely up to us. Throughout this year, let’s remember to be our own sunshine on a rainy day.

See you all soon,
Devani A. Hinkelmann
Section 7 State Vice President
Travel to Learn
Aug. 28, 2022
Brooke Casey - Vice President
New London FFA Chapter
Section 8

These past few weeks have been eye opening to say the least. I first started off August with the Wisconsin State Fair where I was able to see so many parts of agriculture coming together. Being able to see so many agriculturalists showing their animals and all their hard work was amazing.
From State Fair I headed to the airport to go on a two week cruise with my mom. The cruise started in Barcelona, Spain and from there we made our way around the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Athens, Greece. I was able to see Gibraltar (a British Territory located at the bottom of Spain), France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. There were several stops in Italy and Greece which hold two of the most fascinating ancient empires: the Roman Empire and the Greek Empire. You never realize how young the United States are until you visit the ruins of these ancient cities that date back to 1000 BC and earlier.
At several of the stops we booked tours to see Florence, Pisa, Rome, the Vatican, Pompeii, and Athens, whereas with some of the other ports such as Mariselle (France), Istanbul (Turkey), and Mykonos, Greece, we just found a map and wandered the city. In Mariselle, we walked most of the way around and took the bus to Notre Dame but let me tell you, without a tour they don’t make it the easiest to navigate since everything is in French. Luckily, I know a decent amount of Spanish which is quite similar to French so it made it much a little bit easier.
Going from port to port there were several cultural changes each time we came to a new country from the way their buildings were set up to the way they drive. Be careful with drivers in Italy, they drive very fast and very close to everything including each other but to be fair their roads are extremely narrow. Anyways, seeing how some areas build their buildings taller and into hillsides such as Italy, compared to how in Athens, Greece they can’t have more than eight story buildings since their earthquakes knock over anything taller. Another fascinating difference to notice was the plants they had in their fields and just growing around In the photo there is a picture of a field in Italy that has grape vines and olive trees. Italy and Greece both have a lot of olive trees everywhere which is absolutely bizarre to me that there were tiny olives just hanging off the trees in front of me. Another bizarre experience was when I was walking up to the Parthenon in Athens, there were herb bushes growing. The herbs were oregano, sage, and rosemary. They were huge bushes and several of them just growing along side a concrete path up to the Parthenon. Lastly, there was fruit in the little markets all around. One thing about me is that fruit is my all time favorite food from strawberries to melons I love it. All of the fruits in a market we stopped at in Mykonos were fresh and perfectly ripened and so delicious. Their watermelon had lots of seed but was the best thing I’ve had in my life. Overall, there is so much about Europe that is amazing and so different from back home.
Now that you’ve heard a lot of good about Europe, there is one thing that I miss so much that Europe couldn’t offer which is sweets. In Europe, their version of sweet and chocolate is much less sugar filled than back home which makes a sugar craving nearly impossible to get rid of. Even their Twix bars we bought were not nearly as sweet as ones in America and let me tell you I was disappointed. Looking back, it was a nice cleanse but the first thing I will do when I get back is find some sort of cookie or sweet to end my two week long need for American sweets.
All in all, there is so much that differs from port to port, some good and some not so good but it all is what makes the country. All these experiences have taught me one huge and important lesson: everything has it’s own characteristics and traits that make it what it is and that not two should be the same (except candy bars, those should be the same). Whether it’s people or countries we must appreciate everything they have to offer and take the good and leave the bad because there is no such thing as perfect and that’s okay.
Be Real
Aug. 24, 2022
Evan Mennen - Parliamentarian
Bay Port FFA Chapter
Section 9

1,678 hours since the 2022-2023 Wisconsin State FFA Officer team has been elected. That was just a little over two months ago. Wow how time flies. Over these past two months, I have truly learned to live in the present. I have been able to take in quality team time while we travel as a team, creating some best friends. I have been able to go fishing with my dad, and enjoy nature and the quality time I get to spend with loved ones. A few weeks ago, I was able to enjoy 11 days of the Wisconsin State Fair, and eat my way through numerous new foods. I was truly living in the present.

Many of you I am sure are familiar with the new trendy app “Be Real”. For those of you who aren’t, let me explain the concept of it really quick. “Be Real” is an app that notifies you at a random time throughout the day. Once the notification pops up, it gives you 2 minutes to snap a picture of whatever you are doing at that moment. The catch is, it takes a picture with the front and back camera at the same time. The point of the app is to show what people really do, by not allowing them time to “get ready for the camera”.

A few days ago, a close friend of mine told me to download the app to remind me to live in the moment. It has helped me notice my surroundings. Whether that be noticing the deer standing in the woods when my teammate Dev and I were doing the drive through zoo in Marshfield, or simply just people watching at the state fair. When we stop to take in our surroundings it is easier to live in the present and “be real”.

Another way that has helped me live in the moment and be real is accepting things as they are. We cannot control everything that happens to us or that happens around us. What we can do is practice acceptance and learn to let go of the things that are out of our control. When we learn to accept things as they are and not how we want them to be, we truly be real.

To be real and live in the moment we have to be grateful for what we have now. Not what we had in the past and not what we want in the future. If we are constantly focusing on things we don’t have, we aren’t taking the time to appreciate what we have right now. One way I have found to help me appreciate what I have is to take the time and reflect every night before bed. I say a prayer for everything that I am thankful for that happened that day. One way that might help you appreciate what you have is to start journaling about your day. To be real, we need to live in the moment.

Finally, spending time with people makes us feel happy. Spending time with people who make us feel happy can be a great way to help us live in the present moment. Surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive people will help us increase our own positivity and happiness. This might look like planning a chapter officer fun day and not working on anything related to FFA except building bonds with our teammates. Another way to do this is to spend time with your family. If there has been one thing being a state officer has taught me so far, it is to live in the moment when you are around family, life is too short and sweet to not be present. Finding a solid support system helps us be real.

Wisconsin FFA members, as school starts within the next couple of weeks, I challenge each and everyone of you to live in the moment and “Be Real” throughout this year. We only live one life, and it is too short to not live in the present.

Love Always,

Evan J Mennen

An Attitude of Intentionality
Aug. 21, 2022
Mary Schrieber - Sentinel
East Troy FFA Chapter
Section 10

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind; both my personal life and my role as a State Officer have kept me busy! This month, I spent eleven days at the State Fair, finished training in Marshfield with the team, and went on vacation with my best friend. In between it all, I’ve also been preparing for my first semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and helping my friends move into their respective colleges.

It wasn’t until we started nearing the end of August that I realized that I hadn’t spent much time with my family recently. My home had become more of a revolving door that I quickly entered and exited, not taking much time to truly be present before I was off on my next adventure. While I certainly value every experience I’ve had this summer, it has become easier for me to zone into whatever event I was attending, rather than check in regularly with my family and friends at home. I missed my brother’s first varsity football game, several matches of my sister’s senior tennis season, and a few of my friends’ grad parties. My parents joked that I had already moved out!

To resolve this, I adopted an attitude of intentionality, committing myself to spend more time with my family and friends before I move into college in less than a week. I attended a Jimmy Buffet concert with both of my parents where we sang our hearts out to our favorite songs and I went to a family reunion where I caught up with distant relatives. Tomorrow, I’ll watch another of my brother’s football games, and later this week I will meet up with the officers from my home chapter in East Troy during their training.

After practicing that self-awareness and intentionality, I felt more productive and at ease. By consciously changing my actions, I recentered myself before moving into college. Similarly, FFA members across the state are preparing for another change - the start of another year of school. It can be easy to get caught up in the chaos of the last few weeks of summer; fall sports are beginning, there is back-to-school shopping to be done, and everyone is finishing up the last shifts of our summer jobs.

During the last few days of August and the school year ahead, I challenge us all to adopt an attitude of intentionality. Whether that includes spending time with family and friends, catching up on writing in your journal, or practicing every day to get better at your favorite sport, make decisions to act on what is important to you. Each time we zip up our blue jackets, let’s intentionally take action on the things that matter most to us, intentionally show kindness, intentionally try our best, and intentionally Live to Serve. By committing ourselves to consciously making changes in our lives and adopting an attitude of intentionality, we can better prepare ourselves for the changes and challenges ahead.

I can’t wait to see where our year of intentionality takes us,
Mary Schrieber
Fair, Food, and Friends
Aug. 17, 2022
Casey Denk - President
Mondovi FFA Chapter

It’s official, the state officer team is just over two months into our year of service and we cannot believe how many miles we’ve traveled, memories we’ve made, and FFA members we’ve met so far. In our most recent adventure, we had the opportunity to carry on the long-held tradition of helping work at the Wisconsin State Fair Compeer Discovery Barnyard. Throughout the eleven days spent at the fair, we were able to connect with fair-goers, support livestock exhibitors, and share our passion for the agriculture industry.

Besides working in the Discovery Barnyard, we also helped with livestock change-over, and anywhere else our assistance was needed. But I will assure you, even though we spent a lot of time working, we also made sure to find time to enjoy the fair. We presented the flags at the annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction where we met with livestock exhibitors, award recipients, industry professionals, Governor Evers, and Secretary Randy Romanski, Wisconsin’s Secretary of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. We also embarked on a few fair rituals including riding the ferris wheel, taking on the giant slide, and eating our fair share of classic Wisconsin State Fair food. Even though all these moments created a fun-filled state fair, the highlight of the fair was seeing familiar faces of FFA members and advisors from across Wisconsin.

Throughout the fair, we were able to catch up with FFA members from every corner of Wisconsin. As we walked through the livestock barns, we enjoyed learning about member’s fair projects and watching their passion flourish while they prepared and showed their livestock. A few of us spent time working in the Washington County FFA Sundae stand where we helped serve ice cream sundaes alongside FFA members. While scooping ice cream, we were able to meet new FFA members, learn about their SAE projects, and hear about the exciting FFA activities they have planned for the upcoming school year. We had the privilege of going to FFA band and chorus performances and were able to see friendships bloom and members work together to create remarkable performances. Lastly, we had the opportunity to visit with Alma and Cochrane Fountain City FFA members, who spent their time at the fair sharing their love for Wisconsin’s dairyland while working the Dairy Lane exhibit and volunteering to help the state officer team advocate for agriculture in the Compeer Discovery Barnyard.

I enjoyed every aspect of our time spent at the Wisconsin State Fair, but it surely wouldn’t have been the same without enjoying the company of our FFA members and advisors. Throughout my time in this organization, I have been able to meet outstanding FFA members who have turned into good friends and inspirational FFA advisors who have become some of my biggest role models. These individuals have taught me, it’s not so much about what you’re doing but instead, who you’re doing it with. During our time in FFA, we will participate in Leadership Development Events, volunteer at community service activities, and attend a variety of conferences. Luckily for us, while spending time with FFA members, advisors, and supporters’ good company isn’t hard to find, ensuring us great times and ample memories to be made every time we sport our blue corduroy jackets.

Continue making connections,
Casey J. Denk
Outside of the Discovery Barn, w
Aug. 15, 2022
Isaac Hopke - Secretary
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

Outside of the Discovery Barn, we had the opportunity to get the most out of the state fair by showing animals, hanging out with friends and family, and even helping out in other parts of the fair. I was included in this as I assisted a very good friend of mine from my chapter in showing sheep. This is where I will pause and explain my background with showing sheep, not only at my fair, but also at the state fair.

If you haven’t found out yet, I have not always been from the Spooner FFA Chapter. I originally had my roots in the Shell Lake FFA Chapter. In Shell Lake, my family and I started raising our own sheep and we thus showed them at our local fair, the Washburn County Fair. At that point in time, there were really only three families that showed sheep: mine (the Hopke’s), the Lawrence’s, and the Rosenbush’s, a name you might find fairly familiar. This is where my connection to Spooner began.

As a few years passed, we began to get to know the Rosenbush family better and better. More families began to show sheep, but it always seemed that we got along best with the Rosenbush’s. We talked with them continuously at our fair and found out that they showed sheep at the state fair, so, of course, we had to give it a shot too.

The first year I showed at the state fair was a blast. I got last in pretty much every show, but the experience was unmatchable. The only way for it to be that memorable though was by sharing the moments with the Rosenbush’s. This was the start of the influence Mrs. Olson-Rosenbush and the rest of her family have had on me.

Since that first time showing sheep at the Wisconsin State Fair with Jackie and Kate Rosenbush, a lot has happened. I moved schools and joined the Spooner FFA Chapter and became a chapter officer, something encouraged for me to do by Jackie. Then she became a state officer, something nobody thought would happen from the small little Spooner FFA Chapter. Not only did she break the mold by becoming a state officer, but she then was selected as the 2022 Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fair, something unheard of in Washburn County. At that time she also encouraged me to run for state office, which brings me back to pretty close to now.

Although it was not actually a Rosenbush I helped show with this time, it was Jackie’s partner in crime, Matt, that I was able to help out. This was the last time I had the opportunity to show with a Rosenbush of sorts, and the experience brought back a great feeling of nostalgia and gratefulness of my upbringing to this point. I am forever grateful for what the Rosenbush family has done for me, and I will never forget the difference they have made in my life and in others too.
Find Home In Your Community
Aug. 10, 2022
Heidi Strey - Vice President
Osseo-Fairchild FFA Chapter
Section 2

Summertime and sunshine means it’s county fair season! While last summer was my last time showing at the Eau Claire County Fair, I was so excited to return this year and help with the livestock auction. It was a strange feeling walking through the barns and not having my own animals to care for. There was one feeling that didn’t change though, and that was the welcoming of my community. Being an exhibitor at the fair for 11 years, I built many friendships and connections. It was such a joy seeing everyone again and catching up on summer adventures. When it was time for the auction, I stood up on stage alongside my dad. He was the auctioneer and I was the emcee. As each exhibitor entered the ring, my dad chanted to the crowd. They had the biggest smiles on their faces as bidders raised their cards to support them. It was at that moment where I looked around and thought to myself, “how amazing is it that I am a part of this community.” The support that the bidders had for agriculture was phenomenal! I was proud to be standing amongst my closest friends, family, and exhibitors.

After the auction, I went to the beef barn to talk to my “show family” when I decided we should all take a picture. We headed outside and everyone got into position. It was the most wholesome picture with a genuine smile on everybody’s face. It captured the moment of pure excitement and laughter. Everyone was happy to be together at the fair and to be a part of a community.

As I drove home that night, I reflected on how important community is in each of our lives, especially in the world of agriculture. The people we surround ourselves with should motivate us to pursue our goals. They are people we can lean on for support in times of need, and be there for the happy moments. A community is where you will build connections, make lifelong friendships, and most importantly, find your home.

Keep on striving to build your community in agriculture!

-Heidi Strey
Perfect Isn't Always Perfect
Aug. 07, 2022
Kendra Goplin - Reporter
Whitehall FFA Chapter
Section 3

Throughout the year, dairy exhibitors all over the country are putting countless hours, time, and effort into getting their animals ready for the show season. This entails finding the perfect feed ration, washing every day to get the perfect shine or training them to walk perfectly in the show ring.

Once show day hits, a whole new type of “perfect” is on the mind. The perfect fill. The perfect top line. The perfect performance. The goal with any competition is to win. Right? Well, yes and no. I firmly believe that sometimes “perfect” doesn’t teach you nearly as much as what actually occurs.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to show three heifers at the Midwest National Ayrshire show in Fond Du Lac. I did everything I could to have the perfect show result, but stood middle to the bottom of each class. Sometimes in life, we will do our very best to strive for perfection, but we won’t have a perfect outcome. When we don’t get the outcome we were looking for we have to find the good that comes out of the imperfections. In sports, maybe you worked really hard in practice to prepare for the big game and in the end came up short. Focus on the fact that during the game you improved your free throw percentage. In school you study hard for your final exam and don’t do as well as you had hoped. You might have learned that you need to change your study habits. My dad always reminds me in times of defeat when it comes to showing; “You can never truly know how special it is to win, without first experiencing defeat.” Not only do these quotes relate to showing cattle, but all that we do in life. So, what did I learn as I showed my “imperfect” Ayrshires?

I am proud to say that not only did I own these three heifers but they were all Bred and Owned. I was still the best junior bred and owned heifer in two of the three classes. That meant more to me than winning the class because as a junior who only started in the Ayrshire industry in 2019, I was able to make breeding and feeding decisions on these animals. I got to spend time with good friends and learned a few new things to manage my herd to get closer to perfect in the future!

So next time your “perfect” scenario doesn’t turn out the way you plan, do your best to see the good in every situation.
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