FFA Officers: Travel Blog
All of us are on the wild, fantastic journey of life together. Along the way there will be roads that we go down, some turns will lead us in the wrong direction while other paths will be absolutely beautiful. We all have to remember that those moments are a part of our adventure. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we might hit some road blocks, but in the end, we will keep on following our Yellow (and Blue) Brick Road, and it will lead us to an astonishing destination. Thank you to everyone who has chosen to make the FFA a part of your journey! I look forward to meeting more members at my upcoming chapter visits and National Convention!
Lots of love,
While this year has been harder than I could have ever imagined there is something else that I would love to share with you. This has been the greatest year of my life. Sure, we are always on the go and not getting much sleep, but we get to be a part of something much bigger. The only thing that keeps us fueled up and motivated are you guys reading this. Whether you are a part of student or adult membership or even if you are just wondering what FFA is about YOU are what keeps us going.
To the members… without you, there is no FFA. It’s as simple as that. I thank you all for being a constant reminder of why we do what we do. All of the members that I have gotten to meet so far have been so inspiring to me and I know the ones I meet in the future will do the same.
To the Alumni… It starts out the same... Without you there is no FFA. There wouldn’t be anyone pushing us to try new things or anyone to help us get where we would like. Before this year I never really understood much about the alumni or why everybody made it sound like a big deal. But now, I can’t thank all of you enough for what you do for the organization. We as FFA members are constantly looking up to you all.
To the others who want to learn more… Without you there is no FFA. Without you there is no future for this organization. Whether you are a student looking to join a chapter or an adult that just believes in the future of agriculture, we need it all. Try something new, take the opportunity, step out of your comfort zone. Seven years ago, that’s exactly what I did. I joined an organization I knew nothing about, but here I am getting to talk to you today.
Daniel Clark State Vice President
For me, I love to go hunting. Hunting isn’t just a season for me; it is an all year process that includes checking trail cameras, scouting, making and maintaining food plots, putting up trees stands, and always dreaming of big bucks. Not only am I big into deer hunting, but I also like to go for squirrel’s, turkey’s, and coyote’s. This is my way out of the chaotic and hectic moments in life. Throughout my whole life, I have used hunting as my stress relief. This is my time to go out and not think of what I have going on for the week and really take time to myself just to relax.
If we think, hunting and FFA are similar. For me hunting requires a lot of work. It seems like I put in more hours working to make our property have better habitat and resources for wildlife than I do actually hunting. This preparation can be thought of as our time in FFA when we are preparing for events. This is the time where we are planning what we want to accomplish.
After preparation and the hunting season opens up, now is the chance to put in the real time. This is the time that I am actually spend out in the woods hunting. This is where I am taking action. Taking action in FFA occurs when we are at an event or are participating in a contest.
The smallest portion of my hunting activities is actually harvesting an animal and being successful. Even though I don’t have success every time, the road to get there is extremely important. The times when we are successful in FFA are after we were done with our events. Success could be having an event go well, recruiting new members, winning an award area, or just having fun.
Hunting for me is my relaxation time. It has taught me some important life lessons including: hard work and preparation, taking action, and living for success. FFA also has shown me these same lessons. Without hunting, I wouldn’t take that time to myself that we each need. We all need to find our enjoyment for something so we can take a step back from our crazy lives and take some time to ourselves.
Wisconsin Association of FFA State Secretary
Well it is official, the SLW tour is over. The state officers traveled to all 10 sections across the state of Wisconsin putting on leadership workshops for 2275 students, alumni, advisors, and guests! Before every SLW we had the opportunity to tour some pretty cool business’, two or three before each SLW. Our mornings started pretty early and ended fairly late but with the help of coffee, Mtn. Dew, and my favorite of all pure adrenaline and excitement, we were able to stay awake and focused for the big events!
Staying focused on events going on in your life is an important part of being successful, whether that is at school, in FFA, or even in your personal life. We as FFA members and students have a lot on our plate all of the time but by staying fired up, with our engines just a roaring, we can ensure that our goals can get accomplished in the most effective and successful way.
During our SLW tour, we were able to meet so many FFA members and start their engines. Though a series of 3 workshops and a killer skit, the FFA members that attended the SLW’s really were able to “Start your engines” and what I mean by that is they got jazzed up and excited about the year ahead!
Once we start our engines, the tricky part is keeping them running. Collin Weltzein, State President said it best, “to keep our engines running we must remember the 3 fundamentals of how an engine runs intake, ignition, and exhaust.” Spread your exhaust far and wide because it is when you spread your exhaust to the people around you that you know your engine is still running!
Wisconsin FFA, I hope you are all having a fantastic year!
~Emily Sheehan, State Sentinel
World Dairy Expo has everything dairy that you can imagine. Dairy cows, dairy farmers, milk, cheese, ice cream, you name it! The state officers had a blast getting to work at different stations around the expo, like the forage quiz, dairy judging competition, t-shirt stands, and so much more. It was awesome to meet FFA members and those working hard everyday in the dairy industry to provide all sorts of products for us to use in our daily routines. But the one experience that I will never forget, is meeting Sonny Perdue.
Sonny Perdue was part of a panel that would answer questions and talk about the agriculture and dairy industry with farmers and agriculturists attending. Lydia and Collin got to sit close to the panel and listen in on what was being discussed. But that didn’t stop me from watching the discussions from the doorway. It was amazing to see those rooted directly in the dairy industry talk to Mr. Perdue about the challenges they are facing and what we can do to help the situation.
Once the panel was finished, Mr. Perdue wanted to take a photo with the whole officer team. He spoke with us about where we come from and how we can impact so many people with the work that we are doing. It was a humbling experience to remind us to keep spreading our message and to never lose sight of what is important in life.
As the year continues move forward, let’s never forget why we chose to follow the path we are on and why we believe in the future of agriculture.
Until next time,
The past two weeks of SLW’s have been an absolute blast. From numerous business and industry visits in the mornings, workshops in the afternoons, and then host families at night, it has been an experience I will never forget. Thank you to all the hosts of these events and for all the enthusiastic FFA members in attendance. Let’s just say trying to decide the winner of the spirit award was never an easy decision! This week finds us on the home stretch of our SLW tour! We’ll be visiting Sauk Prairie, Shawano, and Denmark with a stop at World Dairy Expo sandwiched in between. And then, it’s time for FIRE Conferences!
While we are at Dairy Expo, Ryan, Lindsey and myself will be conducting a workshop on “SAE For All.” Swing on by if you want to expand or take the first steps in developing the perfect SAE for you. It will be a hands on experience like no other! The other state officers will be helping out at various contests such as the forage, dairy products, and dairy judging contests. Best of luck to the participants! After the contests, we will be around the expo grounds for a while so make sure to say hello.
At the end of the week, we will be in Appleton for the first FIRE Conference of the year. This conference is designed for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders looking to learn more about FFA and what it has to offer. With FFAmily Vacation as the theme, the conference is set to be a fun and educational event for everyone in attendance! You won’t want to miss the chance to start building your FFAmily. The state officers have an awesome skit and program planned, and we can’t wait to see you there. We will also be at UW-River Falls on October 12th and UW-Madison on the 19th. It’s time to get FIREd up!
We’ve had an awesome fall so far and it isn’t over yet! Meeting FFA members from around the state has certainly been a highlight for me and I look forward to interacting with even more of you as we continue our travels! In the meantime, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-863-6402 if you ever need anything.
When we were on our way back from Sailer’s in Elmwood, I was very confident that I knew the rest of the way back to Ellsworth, so I told Ryan to turn right. Well, he turned right and I soon realized that these houses and roads did not look familiar to me. If I would have read the sign before turning that right turn, we would have been on the correct or shorter route to our next destination.
I realized that signs are there for you not just when you are driving but also in life. You may not want to read the signs because you think that you can find your way to your destination by yourself, but they are ultimately there to help you.
You may not want to ask people for help or advice, but it will make you a better person if you do. Remember that you can not do everything yourself. You will eventually get burnt out.
People care about you and are always going to be willing to help you if you reach out to them.
Safe travels to Sectional Leadership Workshops,
The state FFA officer team rotates from section to section putting on these SLW’s: we each get a chance to give a short speech in front of the members from our section. We put on a skit that is bound to get a few laughs from members and then break into workshops and learn about officer roles, FFA opportunities, and as the name entails, leadership. Our state FFA President Collin Weltzien then wraps up the night with a dynamite speech he has prepared for all of Wisconsin FFA. Every aspect of this event is valuable, yet I don’t believe any item that I have listed is what keeps members coming back. Not the skit, not the speeches, and no, not even the workshops. It’s the atmosphere.
As the title implies, a few pep band songs added to the pre-session playlist certainly play a role in setting the atmosphere for the night. Then when Bob Meyer cuts in and announces us state officers to the song Thunderstruck, the blood gets-a-pumpin’ just a little bit more. A few great speeches and three workshops later, members are back in the auditorium dancing to the tunes of Cotton Eye Joe and the Cupid Shuffle to name a few. But is a music playlist really what makes this event?
As human rights activist Mahatma Gandhi put it, “a small group of determined and like-minded people can change the course of history” We as Wisconsin FFA members have many different viewpoints on many issues facing society today. But one thing that we do have in common is a responsibility and passion towards setting the future of agriculture. An event like a Sectional Leadership Workshop may be a small event in the huge industry of agriculture. But if we can get just one member at each workshop to develop a passion for leading and serving others, our labors are not going to waste. Sectional Leadership Workshops' aim to get members excited and ignited for the year to come so that they will make a difference in their chapters, schools and communities. And with the like-minded group of members that the Wisconsin FFA possesses, if we aren’t careful, we might just change this world for the better.
Stay passionate Wisconsin FFA!
- Ryan Erickson
I hope everyone’s first couple of weeks back in school have gone smoothly! I know my teammates had a blast at their first few chapter visits of the fall this past week. But this afternoon, the State Officer team made the trip to Barron to get settled in for the Section 1 Leadership Workshop that will take place tomorrow, the first one of the season! We spent the day getting all our supplies organized and doing some final preparations to make sure we’re ready to rock for a great SLW tour! Once we got comfortable with everything, we headed to State Vice President Ryan Erickson’s home where we enjoyed some delicious food and yard games with our host families and even managed to squeak in a bonfire and some tractor driving! It was a beautiful and relaxing evening spent with some awesome company! Perhaps one could say it was the “calm before the storm.” Because tomorrow, it’s show time!
Sectional Leadership Workshop season is officially upon us. The events our team started planning over 3 months ago are finally here! It’s exciting. It’s nerve-racking. But one way or another, we’re ready. We’re ready to meet over 2,000 FFA members from across the state!
As I sat around the bonfire tonight, I began running through my mind all the possibilities of how tomorrow might go, soaking up the feeling of anticipation. Some things might go perfectly and more than likely, some things won’t go perfectly. That’s just the way it goes. But then I also got to thinking, “You know, why not just have fun?”
We’ve put in the time. We’ve put in the work. We’ve put in the stress. Now it’s time to reap the rewards and have fun. It’s time to make it happen and relish what we’ve worked for. Because if we’ve put in all this time and effort to make these workshops a success but don’t take the time to enjoy them and appreciate the work we’ve done, we’re doing ourselves a tremendous disservice. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride!
The same goes for our years as FFA members. Chances are we’ll all work tirelessly towards a goal or event in FFA throughout the course of the year. But when you get there, when that goal or event becomes reality, don’t forget to soak it all in. Be sure to celebrate and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve!
I sure hope I get the opportunity to meet you at one of the 10 Sectional Leadership Workshops across the state in the next 3 weeks! The State Officer team is ready to rock. We’re ready to have fun. And we’d sure love to have you along for the ride!
Start your engines and let the games begin!
Nothing like my first car accident with my first chapter visit, right? I was 15 minutes late to my first chapter visit and my nerves were already crazy beforehand. Thanks to Ms. Strupp & Ms. Schadrie I got settled in, already late with the first hour, but they helped me through the first few minutes and the day went like a breeze and most of all – it was still a successful chapter visit!
Sometimes in life we get so focused and narrowed down we don’t see what’s around us - the great life we live in and we forget to experience it. We look at the small picture too often compared to looking more around the big picture in life. One theme I captured to the students attention this week was “knowing your why” as when you wake up at the beginning of the day, be reminded of what you want to do in the world and do not doubt it. Continue to be YOU! No matter how many challenges you may encounter, remind yourself to enjoy life because you are the one living it – make the best out of each situation.
Your school year has begun, make it a good one!
All the brave men and women who helped save the lives of others during that chaos had three characteristics that define them as not only heroes but as individuals who RISE UP from the rest. Courage, Selflessness, and Perseverance. For those heroes who survived, they continue each and every day to help others because they have the courage to act boldly, the selflessness to make sacrifices, and the perseverance to always look for success.
We may never encounter the same situation of the 9/11 terrorist attack 18 years ago; however, that should not prevent us from being a hero for others. It doesn’t take saving another person's life to be considered a hero. We can all find ways in our daily lives to RISE UP and act with courage, selflessness, and perseverance, whether that be by taking on a leadership role in our chapter or classroom, engaging in a community service event, or working to overcome any challenge life throws at us.
Let us never forget the heroic efforts on 9/11. We owe it to those brave individuals to learn from their actions and Rise Up everyday.
Make it a great day!
What a wild summer I have had. So many memories made, ten new friendships have bloomed, and many miles were covered. This past week the team and I had the chance to travel to Arcadia which is Collin and Curtis’s hometown. While we were there we worked on finalizing all of our skits and workshops for upcoming events, laughed a lot, did some dancing, and had a great time being together after our week at home.
Although the week was fantastic, I did not think I was ready to leave my own bed on Tuesday. However, as soon as I saw the beautiful, shining faces of my team members that evening, I knew I was ready to be out and about again. That night we shared our goofy stories from home and caught up with one another. Believe it or not, one week away from the team feels like an awful long time!
That night, Michelle and I headed to our host family’s house. The Arcadia FFA Chapter’s Megan Steinlicht and her family were thoughtful enough to let us stay for a few nights in their amazing home. We were so thankful to have comfy beds to sleep in and everyone was so welcoming. I was nervous to go to my first host family. It has to be weird to go stay in someone else’s house right?! I was completely wrong. They are such great people, and I am very grateful I got the chance to meet them.
Whether I was at the Arcadia High School with students, working with my teammates, or hanging out with Megan way past our bedtimes, I felt like I was at home the whole week. It was such a heart-warming feeling to know how I could leave the comfort of my home yet still think “I am right where I am supposed to be” with FFA members, my teammates/amazing friends, and the Steinlicht family.
This just goes to show that my ‘FFAmily’ is continuing to grow all of the time, and it is not always what you are doing or where you are that really makes a home, it is simply who you are with. I am so excited to meet even more of the Wisconsin ‘FFAmily’ at the first Sectional Leadership Workshop that will be in Barron on September 16th.
Lots of love,
Sept. 5- Today we got to do our very first presentations! The ag instructors Mr. Whalen and Mr. Shank from the Arcadia Chapter allowed us to take over their classes for the day and use their students as guinea pigs. The lessons I feel were much better than I think any of us expected so we are ready for both chapter visits and SLW now!
I believe that the connections that we make through FFA can be just as important as anything else we do in this organization. Besides the fact of course that there is nothing better than learning about agriculture and leadership!
Anyway, our first stop is in Barron on Sept. 16 and our last will be in Denmark on Oct. 3. I can’t think of anything better than a three-week tour of Wisconsin!
See ya soon,
Daniel Clark State Vice President
To focus a little more on the actual competition of chucking a piece of cow manure I need to give you the details of how it is done. Personally I’m not a big partaker in the throwing portion of the Cow Chip Throw but know that there is a science behind picking the right manure chip. The throwers will eye up potential “chips” that look as though they will stay together in flight the best. Many others will spend time going through a big bundle of “chips” holding each one of them to see if the chip is the right weight, good size, and is aerodynamic. Once a contestant finds their perfect chip, they take it to the start line and chuck it as far down the field as they can and wait for the distance to be measured.
Just like picking out the perfect chip to set sailing across the sky, starting a new school year can take the same precision and thought process to have a good year. When the thrower brings their arm back, they are building tension to toss the chip as far as they can. I want to think of this action of winding up your arm for any task that you are given this year. I’m sure that you’ll probably have a test, a paper, a sport to practice for, or an instrument to play this upcoming year. Think of these activities as throwing a cow chip. Wind up beforehand. This means preparing yourself and set yourself up for success. Then, toss whatever might you have at your task to make it go the furthest for you. Now when the chip is in the air, or our task is out of our hands, we wait. We wait for success or failure, and if we fail, we pick it back up and try again.
Wisconsin Association of FFA State Secretary
As summer comes to an end, I like to look back at all the fun and exciting things that I have been able to partake in. When I first got elected every past state officer that I talked to said something to the fact of “it goes by quick” and so far every single one of them are right. This summer has wizzed by so fast. We have gone to two trainings, D.C., golf outings, State Fair, Jag Lake, and an Officer Picnic. It has been a packed summer but one of my favorite parts of it all is being able to reflect back and think about what happened at each of these events. Some people journal, some look at pictures, some just think back, but no matter how you reflect on fun times with friends there is always one goal (at least for me) how can I remember this for the rest of my life?
It’s hard to pick just one of my favorite moments from this summer so here are a couple. The first one was actually the day we got elected, the officers had some time before our first meeting so we decided to go get lunch at Milio’s sandwich shop. We all got our sub’s and we came back to the Alliant Energy Center to eat. We sat in a circle near all the mendota’s and awkwardly sat in silence until one of my teammates asked “so what are all of your SAE’s?”. We went around the circle telling everyone our answers and this went on for ALL of lunch. Someone would ask a random question and we would all take turns answering it. It was awkward and weird but this moment I never would have guessed that looking back this would be one of my favorite times. From that moment forward, our team grew and flourished from awkward silence to now, where there is never a dull moment while we are together.
Another favorite moment happened while at Jag Lake, I was walking into the kitchen when all the sudden Grace turns around with a spatula pointed at me and jokingly yells “get out of my kitchen!” when all I wanted was a juice box! I just had to laugh after this because we had gotten so comfortable with each other that we could joke and yell and make fun of each other.
It’s the little moments like these that are always my favorite because they just show the realness of our friendship and how far it has come. From that first day of awkward silence to now where we can talk on the phone for hours and always have something to say.
But there are so many other things to reflect on other than fun times spent with your friends such as chapter activities, conferences, classes, books, and so much more. You have to make the decision to learn and to grow from what life gives you. If you go to SLW or 212 or really any FFA event, you have to afterwards think back and remember what you learned and how you can use that information to your advantage or to your chapters advantage. I personally know that I wouldn’t have gotten all the way to State FFA Officer if I would not have reflected on each of the conferences that I have gone to.
“We don’t learn by doing, we learn by reflecting on the things that we have done” -Unknown
Hope y’all had a fantastic summer!