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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

Face Mask Vs. Face Mask?
Mar. 03, 2021
Cortney Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

As each of us have journeyed through 2020 and 2021, we all have heard more than once, did you grab your mask? Or maybe even, do you have an extra mask? Whatever the phrase has been, we have all been there, heard that. Looking back before 2020, whenever I thought of a face mask, I thought of maybe an illness or a doctor, but now I think about something I need to have in my car, in my jacket, or of course on my face! Although these changes in society have been different, somethings never change. When I mentioned face mask did you instantly think about a piece of cloth you wear on your face or did you think of something you use to refresh and revive your skin? Whatever you thought, you were not wrong!

Over time I start to think about parts of our daily lives that once were normal and now are not really an option. An example: Inviting friends and family over. It used to be a normal thing in our lives but now it seems like something that we have not done for a year or maybe will not continue to do for a few more months. Another example, the hand sanitizer, I use to go shop at Target, grab a snack for the way home, get in my car, open it up and snack away. Now, I have to go buy the snack, get to my car, sanitize, or maybe fully wash my hands, and then start snacking. I had not ever really thought about all the germs that I could be getting, but it just seemed normal.

While serving as a State Officer team this year, we constantly hope for “normal.” Whether that be an in-person conference, travels, or a State Convention where we all can be together. But, although we hope and wish, we need to still carry on in the circumstances that we are in and continue to find our “normal.’’ One thing our team has recently done is face masks, also known as facials. Jackie offers a variety of options from Peel-off masks to sheet-masks and pore cleansing to detoxifying. She then makes it her mission to get everyone’s facial picked out based on their needs and then starts applying! One after another, our faces get tighter and skin gets smoother, but it is one way that reminds me that we as a team are still making this year normal. We can still go places, experience new things, and come together as a team. It may not always be ideal, but our team has found our “normal” within this year. It has been hard and somethings we never get to experience as a team, but that does not mean that we are not a team. We have just taken advantage of new “team experiences”, the new ways to come together and find our own normal. From midnight walks to Kwik Trip, making tie blankets in a conference room, or visiting Jackie’s Spa. We have found and taken advantage of our normal.

Ask yourself, within this past year have you been able to look beyond the so-called “normal” to find your new normal even with a mask? It sounds confusing but really think about it. Have you been able to go beyond the set normal to find your normal? Many of the things you do are different but that's okay. Different can be a new normal and so many of things we are used to do will come back into our lives.

Mask Up!
Cortney L. Zimmerman
History In The Making
Feb. 27, 2021
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

As FFA week comes to a close we reflect on all that we accomplished this week. On the National level, they had record-breaking contributions during National Give FFA Day. This was a record-breaking year for contributions of over 290,000 dollars. Not only on the National level were there record-breaking accomplishments, but on the State level, we made some history too. We met with over 700 students during our state officer stop-bys. Besides meeting with an outstanding amount of FFA members and students we also connected with over 40 chapters through 45 stop-bys. Besides meeting with chapters, we were fortunate enough to meet with sponsors as well. It was great to connect with CHS, Compeer Financial, Culvers, and John Deere. Other activities we had going on were “Are you Smarter than a State Officer?”. The members did beat the team. We also had Leadership Live workshops, which had special guest National FFA Western Vice President, David Lopez. Now I never celebrated National FFA week in high school, because our FFA week was at a different time. I am so blessed to have my first opportunity to celebrate National FFA Week with everyone I met with this week.

When I got home from this stellar week, I had some family over. It was great to see them as this year, we haven’t been able to have any family gatherings. I told them all about how this year was going and all the amazing activities we have going on. Then eventually they started to talk about growing up and their childhood. I learned a lot that I didn’t know about both my mom and my dad’s childhood. I had no idea that my dad grew up on a dairy farm or that they moved his family home across Highway 53. It is crazy to think that if the farm had been passed down to my grandpa that my whole life would be different. I also learned a lot about my mom’s childhood growing up with 9 siblings in a single bathroom farmhouse. It was great to learn about their history.

Take the time to be with your FFA family, but also to be with your family whether that is in-person or virtually. It is fulfilling to take the time to spend with family, and who knows maybe you will learn something you didn’t know before. As we continue on this year, we continue to make and change history. I am excited to see how every one of our members continues to change the future of agriculture and FFA.

If you ever need anything, please reach out to me at blueck@wisconsinffa.org or 608-370-9188. I am here to help.
FFA Family
Feb. 26, 2021
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

It doesn’t matter what is on the front or back of the jacket. When we are in the blue corduroy, we are part of a family.
As I am currently sitting in my hotel room at 11:30 p.m., I was struggling to come up with the message that I want to share for FFA Week, I wanted something special and meaningful, and then it hit me.

Why do I love FFA so much?

It is because of the sense of home that I have never felt anywhere else. It is like that warm bed that doesn’t let you leave in the morning or that pair of fuzzy socks on cold feet. It just gives this sense of warmth. Once you feel that warmth, you never want it to leave. This comes from the people within this organization, that have your back no matter what you are going through.

Although we should celebrate FFA Week all year long, I think that FFA Week is so powerful because members across the nation are sharing this feeling of warmth and the FFA organization all at the same time. From community service projects to Ag Olympics, from virtual game night to ice cream giveaways, there are so many ways that FFA members are sharing our story. They haven’t let anything stop them from sharing their pride for our organization in this most unusual year.

There is such a wide variety of voices that are sharing pride for our organization: from current FFA members, Alumni, Supporters, Sponsors, past FFA members, and the list goes on! This is our family and is made up of thousands of individuals across our state and nation. If any of those parts were missing, our family wouldn’t be complete. No matter who you are or what you are interested in…FFA is truly a place for everyone…because of all these people.

I am forever grateful that FFA has been my home for the last 6 years! Let’s continue to help others find their place within our FFA Family!

Wisconsin FFA, I hope that you have a great rest of your FFA Week. Seeing all that you have been doing for FFA Week has truly filled me with joy. Remember celebrating our organization doesn’t stop this week, show your pride all year long.
If you need anything, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to me at kjentz@wisconsinffa.org or 608-642-1253. I am here to serve you!

Love,
Kendra Jentz

Leaning In
Feb. 24, 2021
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

It has been a FFAntastic National FFA Week so far thanks to all of YOU!!! There is nothing like spending a week celebrating FFA with FFA members!!

This week, there have been events of all kinds. Seeing how all of these events have played out, has been nothing short of amazing. Some of these events included State Officer Stop Bys. This is one of the highlights of my FFA week so far because we have actually connected with you, the FFA members, ag students, and advisors. During some of our State Officer Stop Bys (SOSs), we did an activity called Junk Tower...yes, junk tower. This activity involves splitting into teams and making the best tower possible with non-breakable objects in the room. Watching students scramble to find objects, work together, and balance objects while building the tallest, biggest, or widest tower will always bring a smile to all of our faces. Not only because all of a sudden everyone on the screens scrambles, but because students are learning so many lessons at once. By the end of the activity, there are various outcomes. Some towers can barely stand, some touch the ceiling, some lean, and some are only a foot off the ground, however, they are all the best towers.

These junk towers are more than a bunch of laughs, they represent so much more for us as ag students and FFA members. Two of the most important being:
Variety in what we, as FFA members, choose to do throughout our FFA careers
Our ability and need as FFA members to support each other

If we look at a classroom, all teams in the junk tower activity have access to the same materials. With that being said, the towers looked different showing that each one of us has the best FFA career for us. We all have differences in what we like to do, but as long as we take advantage of the opportunities that fit in our best looking “junk tower”, we will have the best FFA career for each of us individually.

Something even more important than the events we choose to partake in are the connections we make with each other in FFA and our ag classes. Looking at the construction of these junk towers, the objects held each other up, but our teammates in our groups helped to keep everything balanced. As FFA members, we need others to help us along our journey. Let me share a little secret...I would not be here today if it were not for my fellow chapter members being there to listen to my speeches, cheering me on when working on simple tasks, or always being a call away especially on the days when all I wanted to do was freak out or cry because I was nervous for an event or had lots on my plate. We all have those days! That is why it is crucial we build connections that lead into meaningful relationships...we need to be there for others while also being open to sharing when we are struggling. Just like the students in the picture supporting each other and their tower, we need to lean on each other for support this week and every week.

Remember you have so many people in your corner! There are 21,264 Wisconsin FFA members here supporting you, so take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. If you ever need someone to make a connection with, someone to lean on, someone to celebrate with...maybe even have a dance party with, or someone to chat with, just give me a call or email at (608) 343-3154 or ccleven@wisconsinffa.org.

Always here,
Carisa Cleven
The Future Of Agriculture
Feb. 23, 2021
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Happy National FFA Week!

This is our time to share stories, recognize resiliency, and celebrate the accomplishments of a year of members and alumni being “Unstoppable.” Throughout the week, we are participating in State Officer Stop By events, Zoom activities, social media promotions, and sponsor visits. As I have been preparing for this unique week, I have continued to work on my FFA to-do list and tried to get ahead on school work. One of my classes focuses on animal welfare and animals’ role in our society. Being that I’m a student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, there are many students in this class who are not familiar with agricultural practices.

We frequently have discussion posts about animal welfare topics. Some of the units thus far have focused on ethics, animal housing, and animal agriculture. Because so many of my peers are removed from agriculture and have little experience with animals, many times, they are against farming and animal agriculture. While it is discouraging to see their strong opinions against what we stand for, the communication gap provides us as FFA members an opportunity to advocate for agriculture.

Only about one percent of the US population is actively involved in production agriculture. While not everyone in FFA is within this one percent, we can all play a role in sharing agriculture’s story with others. You have probably also heard that seven percent of the United States population believes chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Seven percent is a small minority, but that is still 22,974,000 Americans who have been misled and are not aware of basic agricultural knowledge. When I think of statistics such as this and listen to my classmates, thinking about the future of agriculture and my role in the dairy industry can bring about worry and fear.

It is more essential now than ever before to share our stories. There are many ways in which we can share our experiences within the agricultural community. Some include social media, television stories and interviews, radio interviews, posters and flyers, letters to the editor in newspapers, and in-person events. Some of my favorite activities in FFA have been dairy breakfasts and farm-city day events. It is so energizing to have consumers physically at agricultural sites so they can see sustainable practices first hand. While it can be nerve-wracking to start a conversation with a stranger or to stand up for agriculture in the classroom, our voices are necessary in seeing agriculture thrive for years to come.

We all believe in the future of agriculture; this belief is the foundation of the FFA Creed and our organization. However, not everyone does. One thing is certain, agriculture is and will always be essential to everyday life between the food, fuel, and fiber produced within the industry. The uncertainty lies in the public’s perception of agriculture. Will consumers support all forms of agriculture? Be misled by false labels? Have a false sense of modern agricultural practices? Whatever their thoughts are, our actions as agriculturists and FFA members will determine what comes to mind when they picture agriculture. Let’s make it a transparent and positive story.

As you continue to be unstoppable in agvocating and celebrating FFA, feel free to reach out. FFA provides us with a great community of supporters that provide hope for the future. I am always available via email (bstyer@wisconsinffa.org) or phone (715)505-8900. Even though I may have not met many of you in person, you and your dedicated service this year make me so proud and humbled to be serving in this position. Remember, the future of agriculture is in our hands.

Best,
Ben Styer
The Joys and Discomforts
Feb. 22, 2021
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hello Wisconsin FFA,

Today I’d like to talk about something that weighs heavy on the hearts of all production agriculturalists and although my story may not be as severe as others it’s worth telling.

Last month, the Wisconsin FFA State Officer Team had the opportunity to participate in our first ever in-person event; Wisconsin FFA Alumni Convention. This event was everything I hoped it’d be and more. It was incredible to finally speak to people face-to-face about agriculture and our great organization. We facilitated workshops, participated in business meetings, and had the sort of convention meals that come standard with events. It was beginning to feel like a normal year after all!

After that weekend, when I got home there were a few surprises in the barn. We had started lambing season! This time of year is filled with excitement and uncertainty.

Fast forward a few more days and we had our first bottle baby. The mother of this lamb had made our choice clear; she wasn’t producing milk from either side of her udder. No matter how the decision is made, it’s always disheartening when we are put into a situation where taking the lamb from it’s mother is the healthiest choice. Nonetheless, we had decided that if this lamb was going to live we had to take control.

Another unique aspect of this situation was that the mother had cleaned her lamb in an excessive amount and had actually eaten off most of the lambs tail. This isn’t super uncommon for overprotective mothers; however, it creates quite an undesirable situation for the lamb’s health. To prevent bacteria and other unhealthy substances from entering the wound, we often disinfect the wound and wrap the tail with gauze and vet wrap. This process creates what looks like a bees’ stinger. From then on, we called the little lamb Barry B. Benson (from the "The Bee Movie").

The first few days with Barry seemed great. He took to a bottle quickly and was up moving and blatting often throughout the day! Things were looking up. But not for long...

I was feeling confident so I left Barry alone for a few hours to work on my never ending to-do list. Soon, after I had checked a few items off my list I went to check on Barry. As I approached the kitchen, I didn’t hear little Barry B. Benson.

I ran into the kitchen but I was too late, he was gone...

“I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.”

Some days the emotional pain gets to you and other days you can put on a brave face. Today wasn’t one of those days. I was so certain that Barry would be one of the strong, few that make it past adversity. Sometimes we win battles and sometimes we lose. Life it’s easy. If it was, every little lamb, calf, piglet, chick, kid, and foal would make it and everyday as a farmer would be joyful and glee.

As agriculturists, there are no easy days. Whether it’s the miracle of life, a much needed spring rain for crops, a fruitful harvest, or just a day without lose. We have to find the small victory’s. No matter how hard we try, there will always be days that you cry on the kitchen floor with a dying baby wrapped in your arms. Sometimes, all we can do is get up, shake it off, and try again tomorrow.

This week, let’s celebrate. Let’s celebrate the successes that we create on a daily basis even if it’s simply getting through the day. Let’s celebrate every stage of our unique process in becoming the best version of ourselves. Let’s celebrate giving back to our communities with our time, money and prayers for those in needs.

Let’s celebrate the joys and discomforts of agricultural life.


Stationed by the Door,
Jackie Rosenbush
Let the Celebration Begin!
Feb. 21, 2021
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter
President

Happy National FFA Week Everybody!

As we approach the end of February, that only means one thing- National FFA Week is taking place! A global pandemic has not halted members from continuing to host FFA events across our state this past year, so there is no way FFA members wouldn’t be celebrating National FFA Week this year. A week to bring awareness to the organization that helps provide student with countless opportunities to continue growing as leaders, building their communities, and strengthening agriculture, and it is also a week to recognize the importance of agricultural education of which allows young agriculturalists gain the knowledge to bridge the gap between agriculture producers and consumers as they prepare to take the reins and guide the industry.

FFA members all across the country have started the weeklong celebration and it looks like Wisconsin will be having one of the biggest out of all. My teammates and I have been working hard to make this week an experience for members like never before. Looking ahead, we will be engaging with more than 35 chapters through our “State Officer Stop-By” program, hosting a “Are You Smarter Than an FFA Officer?” trivia contest, facilitating FFA Week Leadership Live workshops, and meeting with some of Wisconsin FFA’s biggest sponsors including Compeer Financial, CHS Foundation, Culver’s, and John Deere. Our cars may not be getting a workout traveling during this year’s FFA Week, but our Zoom accounts sure will. We are set to interact with more chapters than ever done before by any other Wisconsin State Officer team, and we couldn’t be more excited to get things rolling!

Stay tuned to Wisconsin FFA on social media to find out how chapters across our state are celebrating FFA Week as we all promote this great organization in our communities! If you want to participate in any of the state FFA events this week, check out the FFA Week page: https://wisconsinaged.org/ffa/events/ffa-week/

Please reach out if you have any questions about upcoming activities or deadlines or if you would like a state officer to join your chapter in their next event!

We will definitely see you soon,
Joe
Keepin' It "Reel"
Feb. 20, 2021
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

What is up Wisconsin FFA!

I hope everyone is as psyched for National FFA Week as I am because we have so much planned for this upcoming week! Similar to us, many of your chapters have their own exciting events planned for this week of celebration. It’s been amazing to see how all the chapters of Section 10 have been getting ready and pumped up for FFA Week. Even though many chapters are unable to have in-person activities, I’ve seen so many different posts about the outstanding schedules chapters have prepared.

The past week, life has been just all around crazy. Starting with my car breaking down, doing car searching, preparing for FFA Week, getting tons of schoolwork done…let’s just say, life can get away from you at times lol. However, this past week, I had the AMAZING opportunity to get to participate in an in-person activity for FFA Week with members for only the 2ND time this year. I cannot begin to describe how excited I was to meet you all, even if it was just a few!

To kick off their FFA Week, the members of East Troy FFA invited students out to Lake Beulah to do some good-old morning and afternoon ice fishing! In all honesty, I’ve never been ice fishing in my life, and walking in the middle of frozen lakes with the potential to fall through the ice is right up near the top with my fear of heights! However, even with facing my fear and the nipping cold, everyone out on that lake had a spectacular time getting to talk with their friends and just catch some fish.

Even though there were not many fish caught (although we had a few good catches by members!), this was East Troy’s first in-person event since last spring and all the students were just excited to be doing something together that was not at school. It’s situations like this that help us to realize that being together with our friends and family is not always a given and that any chance we can get, to take advantage of and be thankful for the interactions, both in-person and virtual, that we do receive.

I am more than thankful to have gotten this incredible opportunity that I’ve been provided only twice this year. I hope that everyone continues to take advantage of each opportunity presented and continues to look forward to the positive future ahead. Who knows! You might just catch the biggest fish in the bunch…


In Service to You,
Melissa Konkel


“Fishing in a place is a meditation on the rhythm of a tide, a season, the arc of a year, and the seasons of life.“ - Carl Safina
Beyond...
Feb. 17, 2021
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

"To Go Beyond, To Be The Good, Because Together We're Unstoppable."

To say this past weekend was astounding is an understatement! The state officers traveled to Green Bay for our first-ever in-person event. Yes, you read that right; it was our first time as a team wearing the blue jacket in person. Though, this event will forever hold a special place in my heart. We gathered together to celebrate the most amazing group of people, the Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters! At the 49th Wisconsin FFA Alumni & Supporters Hybrid Convention, we were able to take part by performing a reflections program, facilitating workshops, and conversing with alumni & supporters from all around Wisconsin. It was truly a humbling experience to see how alumni & supporters are going above and beyond to be unstoppable throughout a global pandemic.

The convention theme, "Beyond" had no intention of being so significant and powerful when it was chosen last year. Alumni & supporters are always breaking barriers and finding ways to serve members, students, and their communities. But, who knew throughout all the roadblocks we have faced this year, they have still achieved that same mission. The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them. That is exactly what our alumni & supporters did. Throughout a global pandemic, alumni & supporters found a need in their communities and stepped up to make a difference. They took action to spark a change and make others' lives better.

During the reflection, we recognized moments of kindness and service that brought joy to so many. We asked the convention attendees to share what positive things came from 2020, to find the light in their lives. Their positive moments came together to create a chain with over 100 immeasurable moments that helped us through 2020; a year like no other. This chain is only a mere representation of our organization. Throughout the last year, thousands of Wisconsin FFA members, alumni, and supporters have joined together to build a stronger network in their communities and bring joy to many others. They went beyond to find the good. It filled my heart to see how Covid-19 has changed our lives for the better and how we have gone beyond to serve those in need. On the surface, it’s hard to believe that anything good could have come from 2020, but Wisconsin FFA members, alumni, and supporters only saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

You all are instilled with a passion for this organization, a drive to serve. Drive is a powerful force and properly directed, it is unstoppable. We can all become unstoppable individuals by going beyond what we think is possible. You and I both know that there are possibilities for your life that you have not seriously considered yet. What are they? Maybe you have a goal of becoming a chapter officer, gathering community service hours, or developing an awesome Supervised Agricultural Experience! Now ask yourself why you are not working to achieve these goals. What is standing in your way of serving as a chapter officer? Why are you not working your tail off to grow your Supervised Agricultural Experience or participate in the service projects happening in your community? Is it because you aren’t willing to work for these goals? Or is it because you think these goals are impossible to achieve?

I have some news for you. Nothing is impossible unless you allow it to be. Now as corny as it may sound, even the word impossible says “i’m possible.” Look at every one of your dreams and think about how many other individuals have achieved those dreams before. Those individuals are not better than you, they haven’t had everything handed to them, and the world does not favor them over you. Today, we can start pursuing our dreams. We can discover the joy of becoming more, going beyond what we thought was possible. Through this, you will struggle; you will grow; you will serve more people.

Wisconsin FFA, life is not about expecting, hoping, and wishing, it’s about doing, being, and becoming. We embody that message as an organization by stepping up to the plate and dodging every curveball that Covid-19 has thrown at us. Throughout every trial and hardship, we have worked to create opportunities for success and find every positive moment throughout the last year. Whatever we have put our mind to, we have accomplished. We have the power to go beyond, to find the good, because together we are unstoppable.

All the Best,
Katrina Hoesly
Let’s Get This Straight...
Feb. 11, 2021
Cortney Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Let’s Get This Straight...
We are very fortunate individuals. Throughout this year as a team, we have been able to do things together that other State Officer teams from across the United States have not been able to do. From meeting up together as a team almost every month in Marshfield, being able to have carpools, and to even having a few in-person opportunities, we are unstoppable! We are looking for every way to connect with our members. The team has had the opportunity to meet virtually with two other State Associations and hope to meet with more. Both teams were very different from our team, but we are all focused on the same Mission.

Meeting with them, one team had never been together since they were elected at their State Convention. Every meeting, training, team get-together has all been virtual. The Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team may not have been able to meet with members in person, but we have been able to be together as a team. As we were on the Zoom call asking questions to the other state officer team, I realized how much being together as a team has strengthened us. We have been able to really get to know each other, dig deeper into who we are, and have developed a bond that I have never experienced before.

On the Zoom, we continued to ask questions to the other teams, but as our team asked questions, the team that is almost ready to retire were learning things that they never even knew about each other. I guess it really hit me then, when the people you serve with on an officer team can never meet together, you may not have the opportunity to sit and talk and fully open up to each other. We have one year in this position, one year that we get to spend most of our time with our fellow teammates. Although it is hard to think about, the year is limited, we continue to do as we can in the year we are in, but sometimes everything does not work out.

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to put together opportunities for members not being together as a team, or even able to film videos together. In a virtual world, our team has learned that videos are a fun and entertaining way to reach members even though we are not in person. As planning continued the team decided that we were going to present Wisconsin FFA’s first-ever video series, “Learning to Do”. Planning, recording, and piecing the videos together was no easy task, but with our team’s different strengths we were able to pull it off.

Throughout this week I also learned how difficult it is to get a background perfectly straight and flattened out behind you. Let me explain. We spent a few hours figuring out what to do for a background when our one from Amazon was lost in the mail. How you get a greenscreen flat, without any glitches? WE. TRIED. EVERYTHING. From fabric wrinkle releaser, we tried an iron, to stretching and holding the edges weighted with books, to even using a hairdryer. This was no easy task to accomplish, but we did it! We did not let the background battle take us down. We set it up, put it in position, and got it straight!

Just like our video background, this past year has had many wrinkles and snags, but FFA members are continuing to find every way to stretch them out and make their year look the way they want it to. As we are setting up and un-wrinkling our own year, we may pull and iron trying to get it exactly where we want it, but another wrinkle appears. As our “backgrounds” may not be perfect, it is the efforts and plans that do get straightened out that are worth it all. As you continue to work through this year, strive towards removing those wrinkles but remember that they are normal and part of your story. Just as our team hoped that our Walmart run to get wrinkle release spray was the answer to our situation, we all hope that our first idea will solve our problems. But what we have discovered is that it might take several tries to get something right especially this year with trying to reinvent everything that we do. It is okay if you have to dig deeper and find more ideas and solutions to accomplish our plans. Just keep straightening things out to work for you and your chapter and you can accomplish great things.

Keep on Pressing!
Cortney L. Zimmerman
525,600
Feb. 03, 2021
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

I was at work the other day when I heard the song “5 More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery come on. It made me think of how sometimes we wish for just 5 more minutes of anything. I know sometimes I wake up and just want 5 more minutes of sleep, and sometimes I want 5 more minutes to hangout with friends. As the end of my year of service creeps close and closer, all I wish is for 5 more minutes. I know when the State FFA Convention comes around I will be begging for just even a second more.

We have 525,600 minutes in a year. That is how many minutes I had been given to serve the members of Wisconsin FFA. Now, I have about 197,100 minutes left to make an impact on members. We may not get five more minutes, but we have five right now to do everything we can. So make the most out of the time you have, whether that is being with your teammates, friends, or family.

There is a saying “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”. This is a great saying but I think to really encompass making the most out of the situation given... it needs a little help. So, I decide to change the saying to “When life gives you lemons, make cookies.” Why this? Well because when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. Now, you sell that lemonade, and you make cookies, because they are so much better than lemonade. So now when life gives you lemons, make cookies. Make the most out of any situation, that is what this year has been about for sure.

It has been such an amazing experience this year, and I would not trade it for anything. I am ready to take full advantage of all I have left. I hope everyone else is too.
(Listen to the song)

Keep on, Keepin’ On,
Brooks Lueck
Pour Your W"hole" Heart Into It
Jan. 31, 2021
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Hey Wisconsin FFA,

Long time no see! It is so hard to believe that it is almost February! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love February. I mean FFA week, Valentine's day, and let's not forget the day after Valentine’s Day, when chocolate is on sale. However, February is also National Heart Month, which is one of the reasons I hold this month so dearly.

I am going to let you in a little secret….. I am part cow! What? You are probably thinking this girl is weird, but I promise there is a real explanation for this. It is not because I think that one of the best smells is fresh cut hay or that I really like to sleep and eat. No, it is because I was born with a Congenital Heart Defect known as an Atrial Septal Defect. To put it in terms that are easy to explain, I was born with a broken heart. There is no rhyme or reason to why this happened, but I was born with a large hole between the upper chambers of my heart.

Congenital Heart Defects are actually pretty common with 1 in 100 babies being born with them. However, there are so many different types of congenital heart defects, some being far more serious than others. Luckily mine was one of the less serious kinds, but the hole had to be repaired or it would cause me health problems and it would shorten my life.

I had open heart surgery when I was almost three years old. Originally, my pediatric cardiologist (heart doctor) was going to repair my heart with a mesh patch. However, they found that the hole in my heart was much larger than they had expected. This is why I am part cow! They used bovine tissue to patch the hole and repair my heart.

This just goes to show how vital agriculture is to every individual and industry within our world from hospitality to travel and from engineering to medicine. I have even seen stories in which they used porcine skin to help burn patients to heal. Agriculture truly allows the world to go round and helps to keep people alive!

You might be wondering why I am telling you this story or how this relates to FFA? Well, without the amazing medical professionals or the cow, there could be a chance that I wouldn’t be able to put my whole “heart” into serving you this year. They did such a good job that sometimes I forget that this is part of me, except for the scar that I have. I want you to take two seconds and think about these two questions: 1.What do you want to put your whole heart into this year? 2. Who or what has made it possible for you to be able to do this?

First, all that passion that you have for your first answer, DON’T LOSE THAT! Even in the toughest of times, remember why you started, how far you have come, who you have been able to help, and how far you will go. For that second question, be grateful for those individuals or what has allowed you to pour your whole heart and self into making something better, not everyone is given that same chance.
Remember no matter what you do, pour your whole heart into it, because you only have this one life to live. Give thanks when it is needed and realize that without agriculture our world would be in “udder” chaos.

If you ever need anything… and I mean anything, I am here for you! Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to me by phone at 608-642-1253, email at kjentz@wisconsinffa.org, or on social media!

Moo!
Kendra Jentz
Confidence...Do you have it?
Jan. 27, 2021
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Do you ever find yourself questioning if you're doing something right or if you know what you know? Do you ever think is this enough? Or am I qualified for this?

If you are asking yourselves these questions, know that you are not alone. This is something that has crossed my mind a few times this week. We all are at the start of a new semester with classes, juggling all other aspects of life, and more. Don’t get me wrong, this week has been a parli-tastic week!!! However, it did lead to some of those thoughts. I realized that these thoughts were stemming from not being completely confident in myself and my knowledge. You might be thinking...Carisa, you just taught us more parliamentary procedure than we ever knew existed...with that, we are hoping that you learned so much, but I share this with you because all of us have these thoughts about something at some point in our lives. Then, I listened to an ag teacher podcast (I know...a podcast...crazy, right!?!) about teacher confidence. I realized that we as FFA members are probably going through the same things some of our teachers are going through. These thoughts of trying to figure out if we know enough to compete in a Career Development Event or Leadership Development Event or accepting the work that we do in school is good, all lead back to the confidence we have in ourselves.

Confidence has a few meanings, but the one we are talking about is the feeling of self-assurance in our abilities. This can be tricky, but when we find that confidence, it is like we are a whole new person. People are drawn to us.

This was seen in our parliamentary procedure workshops. FFA members had no clue what pali pro was when coming to the beginner workshop, but they learned so much and became more confident in their abilities to debate and move motions that they stayed for the intermediate workshop. Those who came to the experienced workshop were so confident in their abilities that they were asking fine-tuned questions about creativity and poise!!! How amazing is this!!! Seeing the self-confidence in these members and knowing that they came in with little clue and left glowing with parli pro excitement was so amazing!!

We can be like those FFA members! After thinking about it and listening to that podcast, we can grow our confidence if we try 3 simple steps, so that we go into any situation standing a bit taller.

1. Start with that positive attitude!!! No matter what is coming our way, we can always look on the brighter side and share a smile.

2. Find people who support you. This could be our fellow FFA members, teammates, advisors, friends, family. Maybe this is someone who did really well in that LDE we want to try. Reach out to them and ask for help or tips.

3. Try new things. Being willing to take those tips and put them into action to become better at speaking or solving that math problem. It will only make us more excited!

When we put these three things together, we are on our way to becoming more confident which in turn will help us be happier, glowing people.

This week in our parli pro workshops, I was ready to see some FFA members and knew that these workshops were going to be FFAntastic so that first step was there. Thanks to my wonderful teammates, Kendra, Katrina, Joe, and all of the others, I had people supporting me the whole time. Then, while facilitating, we took a leap and tried some new techniques...low and behold, by day 2 of workshops, I was feeling more confident than I had that first day.

As we say in parli pro...be confident and creative. No matter what is being said, if we say it with confidence, it will go farther than if we do not. If we live with confidence, we will go farther and be happier with amazing people surrounding us!

People are going to see your confidence and be drawn to you, but not only this, they will get excited about FFA!

Remember that building our self-confidence takes time. If we follow those steps we will get there, but in the meantime, if you need anything or want to talk about your journey to confidence through the FFA or just to chat, send me an email or give me a call at ccleven@wisconsinffa.org or (608)343-3154.

Yours truly,
Carisa Cleven
Facing Life's Failures
Jan. 24, 2021
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

What a week it has been! Of my Zoom meetings scheduled this past week, one was a scholarship interview, and one of the questions asked was “What is your biggest failure in life?”

Think about your own life; what is your biggest failure?

For me, this was a pretty difficult question to answer. I searched my mind for specific moments of failure: forgetting my dairy judging oral reasons at a contest, making mistakes working on my family’s farm, and even scoring low on a chemistry test. However, these small mistakes had little consequence and were not life failures in my mind. As I took a minute to collect my thoughts before answering the question, I still was unsure of my biggest life failure. I put together a response that somewhat answered the question, but, overall, I was unimpressed with myself.

Naturally, this question stayed in the back of my mind during the next couple days. While I had some down time or was driving on the road, I continued to think about the “biggest failure of my life.”

Failure, in its most basic definition, is the lack of success. With this in mind, I eventually decided what my biggest life failure is: living with regrets. More specifically, not stepping out of my comfort zone more often. Don’t get me wrong, I have done some crazy things this year that I never thought I would have the confidence to do. However, there are still times I wish I would have done more, said more, and listened more in order to be a more successful teammate, leader, family member, friend, coworker, and state FFA officer.

I know the saying “step out of your comfort zone” is overused and very cliché, but the growth we can see through stretching ourselves is exponential. My advice to you (and myself) is this: initiate the conversation, ask the question, say yes to the opportunity, film the cringey video (oh wait...I’ve already done that), listen intently, and, most of all, jump out of your comfort zone! Wisconsin FFA, the time to start is now. We have unique challenges that present us with unique opportunities to step up. Continue to be unstoppable in pursuing your goals and triumph over life’s failures.

Best,
Ben Styer
When is enough, enough?
Jan. 23, 2021
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

Hello Wisconsin FFA! How’s everyone doing today? No really, how are you doing today? Throughout this past year we have all gone through a lot. With everything going on in our personal lives as well as a global pandemic and everything around us changing; 2020 was filled with uncertainty. Now I don’t mean to be a downer but I’ve been thinking about writing this blog entry for a really long time and here it is; your mental and physical health are of the upmost importance for a healthy and successful lifestyle.

Please go back and read that last sentence again.

We have officially passed the halfway point for this year‘s 2020-2021 Wisconsin State Officer Team’s year of service. That means the state officers are half done with midnight memories to Kwik Trip, we’re half done with constant emails flooding our inboxes, and we’re half done with the best year of our lives.

In the past few weeks, the state officer team worked hour by hour to complete our Learning to Do video series. The purpose of this series is to help members fill out different applications as well as providing tips and tricks on how to score big. We are so excited about this video series and we hope you all love it; but, last week we also have the opportunity to sit down and talk about team dynamics. The conversation we had about dysfunctional and functional teams, trust, and relationships was incredibly valuable. Our team has been through a lot, not just with this year but with everything involved with this year. We’ve all struggled in knowing when enough is enough.

“But, if I just stay up a couple hours longer I can complicate this task and cross one more thing off my to do list.”
“If I don’t do this social media project I’m afraid my section will think less of me because I’m not there for them.”
“What if in 10 years when I look back at my year of service I think I could have done, and should have done, more?”

These are all questions and statements that our team has found ourselves wondering about; when is enough, enough? Part of this team dynamic training included a small conversation on something called, Burn Out. Let’s all take a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on what has happened to us as individuals in the past year.

Do you view your job or work as increasing frustrating or stressful?
Have you been experiencing chronic headaches, stomachaches, or intestinal issues?
Do you feel drained, unable to cope, and more tired than normal?
Do you have difficulty focusing on minuscule tasks that used to be easy for you?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you may be experiencing Burn Out. You’re not alone and this is something that happens to a majority of the population.

We’ve all been through a lot.

So let me ask you again; when is enough, enough.

As leaders in our chapter it is our responsibility to make sure that things run smoothly and to insure that our members feel heard and seen. Sometimes we get so caught up in what others need from us that we neglect to do that we need for ourselves. Our mental health and our physical health are extremely important. If we don’t take the proper actions needed to continue to stay healthy we will find ourselves in more need of help then we’re willing to ask for.

Please! This is me begging you to take a moment out of your daily routine to take a deep breath. When you take that deep breath reflect on all the incredible things you’ve been able to overcome and accomplish in this year of adversity. Think about all the people that you’ve touched with your amazing commitment to your cause. Think about all the people you’ve inspired to be unstoppable.

Wisconsin FFA you are amazing, courageous, determined, inspiring, and unstoppable.
When is enough, enough?
Ask yourself this question and please stay safe.

I love you all,
Jackie Rosenbush
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