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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

February Archives

Vacation Time!!!
Feb. 29, 2020
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

And that’s a wrap! FFA Week has come and gone all too quickly. Currently, I’m just chilling on a plane heading to sunny and warm Sarasota Florida for a quick family vacation. Before this trip, I had a fantastic week hanging out with many different FFA chapters and visiting with some great people. So, how did you celebrate FFA Week? Was it filled with fun activities? Community service? Or how about driving your favorite tractor to school. For me, my FFA Week was spent traveling all over section six.

When the week started, I headed up to the Mauston Pancake Dinner. I had such a fantastic time getting to be a part of this spectacular event. I was joined by Collin and Daniel for the night. The night was filled with raffles, milk shakes, many laughs, great people, and a bunch of delicious pancakes.

Later in the week, I was able to make my way over to the Portage FFA for their Ag Olympics. This was an awesome event and students had a blast. There ended up being three teams of Olympians competing. Their team names were pretty “interesting” and included: The Winners, The Losers, and Team Kaylynn. Overall there were seven different events that challenged students to wheelbarrow races, barrel races, hay bale tossing, and many more exciting events. Ironically the winning team was The Winners.

Thursday of FFA Week was a busy day for me. I started my day with the Wisconsin Dells FFA chapter. Here we handed out Culver’s Custard for their teachers in appreciation for all they do. I then made my way down to Madison Capitol with Grace, Michelle, and Emily to hand out FFA reports to every single representative and senator. After being at the capitol, we ended up back with the Portage FFA for their first annul pancake dinner. The food was great, and the company was even greater!

On Friday the whole team met in Madison to meet at the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Here, we gave a presentation to Interim Secretary Romanski. We then left and met with representatives of Compeer Financial and gave them the run down of what Wisconsin FFA is up too.

After a very busy and fun week, I glad to say that my flight to Florida is almost over and I will be walking the beaches in only a few short hours! If you ever need anything, feel free to contact me at jmack@wisconsinffa.org.

Signing off,

Jared Mack
State Secretary,
Wisconsin Association of FFA
FFAmily
Feb. 28, 2020
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

How’s it hanging friends!

I hope everyone had a fantastic FFA week! Maybe you dressed up with your school, tossed some hay bales, chugged some milk, or maybe you simply wore your all time favorite FFA shirt! FFA week is all about showing people what FFA is all about while having a whole lot of fun in the process. For myself, my FFA week was filled with a couple different activities, from talking on radio and TV stations, meeting with the interim secretary of Ag in Madison, and watching some FFA members absolutely kill it at a dress up race! But the best part of FFA week was that I was able to spend it with the people that mean the most to me. FFA members! Whether it was my teammates or chapter members, it is never a dull moment when FFA members get together! When people ask me what my favorite part of being a state officer is, I always say it is getting the chance to meet all of you. I love meeting new people, learning their story, and adding to my FFAmily.
FFA is the perfect organization to find your place. I love that FFA allows us to meet strangers, become friends, and then become a family. My senior year of high school I was the president of my chapter and my team was also all seniors, we had been in school together for years so we knew each other but weren’t necessarily close friends. During our senior year and our year as officers together we became a family. We grew together as officers and were my home away from home. I never knew how close I would get to 6 other people that I thought I knew for years. That just goes to show how much you can still learn about the people around you.
In June I was fortunate enough to be put on a team of 10 strangers, we quickly became friends that laugh, joke, and have loads of fun together! Well through our year of getting to know each other and getting to know you all, I can confidently say that my FFAmily has over 20,000 FFA members in it. I’ve always had a big family so why wouldn’t my FFAmily be the same!

Wisconsin FFA, you will always be my FFAmily and I am forever thankful for that!

Love you all,
~Emily
Thankful Thursday
Feb. 27, 2020
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Happy FFA week! I hope you all have been having a great week celebrating FFA at your home chapters. I know that I have enjoyed seeing all the updates on social media and getting hear all the stories when I see you!

Something that is really cool about FFA week is, the social media challenge. Each day of the week there is a different theme to post about. And I wanted to keep with the theme and make my blog about #ThankfulThursday. Today is all about celebrating who we are thankful for and the impact that they have made on us. For this, I want to share why I am thankful for my teammates.

It may be a little cheesy to say that I am thankful for my state officer teammates, but it really is the truth. When I was elected as a state officer back in June, I had no idea that these 10 strangers would soon become my closest friends and even my family. We have come a long way since our first awkward conversation about our SAE’s after we were elected. Each one of my teammates brings something special to the table. Individually we are all very different. But when we come together, there is no mistaking the chemistry and the bond that we all have with each other to create something great.

I have been able to see my teammates grow individually and as a team throughout the year so far. I know I have seen positive changes within myself that I can only credit my teammates for. Having the honor to serve Wisconsin FFA with such amazing role models and be able to do that with my 10 best friends would be an understatement. But I wouldn’t be able to this if were not for all of you. I am here because of you and I could not be more grateful for that. THANK YOU for being you!

Who are you thankful for? Share your story on social media with #ThankfulThursday so we see all the amazing people we get to be thankful for!

Until next time,
Grace
It's All in the Cards
Feb. 26, 2020
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Hello Wisconsin FFA,

Well, it's half over! National FFA Week is flying by! It’s been one heck of a week, to say the least.

Yesterday, I had the chance to attend Tomah FFA’s Pancake Supper. There were pancakes, sausage, cheese, apple sauce and slices, Culver’s custard, milk, juice, and coffee. It was quite the spread! After we got done eating, the FFA alumni had a Euchre tournament, so I decided to stick around. I always enjoyed playing cards at my local town hall every other Sunday night, so it was a no-brainer.

As the night progressed, I realized some similarities between the alumni members and the members of the card club back home. For starters, they are both full of conversation, stories, and laughter. But perhaps the biggest similarity was listening to the alumni’s advice for me. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason whenever I play cards, I receive lots of advice. I’ve heard anything from “do what you love to do” to “just have fun” to “don’t stress the small things” to “speed is an asset.” I always try to soak in as much of that advice as possible because I know my fellow card players have all had lots of experiences that have given them plenty of wisdom to pass on.

On this Wisdom Wednesday, let’s remember the value of learning from others. Don’t just let these pieces of advice go in one ear and out the other. Keep them in the back of your mind and think about how you can implement them in your lives through your actions. As the old Chinese Proverb says, “Many receive advice, but only the wise profit from it.” How will you take the advice and wisdom others have shared with you and use it to spark positive change in your life?

With only three days of National FFA Week left, finish strong! Keep up the great work, keep showcasing your effect on your school and community and if you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to get a hold of me at ckweltzien@wisconsinffa.org or (608)-863-6402!

Have a good one,
Curtis
What Traditions do you Have?
Feb. 25, 2020
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Do you know what today is? I’ll give you a minute to think about it… IT IS THE TUESDAY OF NATIONAL FFA WEEK!!! What does that mean? Today, we are celebrating the traditions that we have had in our chapters.

Ellsworth has two very dominate traditions that come to my mind right away. These include having an officer retreat and the alumni tractor pull.

Our officer retreat always consists of traveling to Section 1, to Spooner, Wisconsin. My advisor’s family has a cabin there. While we are spending our time there, you can find us working on planning the upcoming year, so that it is a success. It is not always work, work, work because even the great business owners need a break to relax. Throughout my three years of being a chapter officer at Ellsworth, we have had the privilege of doing many different fun activities. These include, but are not limited to; kayaking, mini golfing, swimming, fishing, attending a football game, bonfires, roasting s’mores over the stove, and of course the must have marshmallow fights. While at the cabin, we are able to bond and start working together to become an effective team for the year to come.

The FFA Alumni tractor pull is a fundraiser that benefits our FFA Chapter, along with local groups and the Ellsworth community. This event takes a whole year of planning and plotting to make sure that it is executed successfully. Throughout the past four years of attending and working this event, I have helped with many different areas such as, selling 50/50 raffles, setting up the event, taking tickets at the entrance, working in the food stands, watching my advisor’s two sons, selling beverages in the stands, and my favorite, driving around the gator. Why they let me drive the gators, I still do not know. This event has helped me to learn more about the functions of my FFA alumni by working with them for a common goal. The Ellsworth FFA Alumni are amazing individuals that look to benefit our Chapter and the students that have worked so hard to learn about agriculture. The best part is giving back to the community.

These activities have alumni, students, and community members looking forward to the summer months to arrive!

What traditions do you have?
Lindsey

All it takes is ONE
Feb. 24, 2020
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

September 4th, 2013. That day was just beginning of a ride that would change my life. That day, 14-year-old Ryan Erickson stepped into the halls of Barron High School for day ONE as a high school student. I was a pretty shy student and so for the first couple months of school, I just quietly went about my business, completing my homework, and keeping up in my classes. I joined the FFA, sold fruit, and exhibited at our school crop show, but that was about the extent of my FFA involvement. I knew I liked farming and agriculture, but I was perfectly fine with sticking to local events and staying in the background of Barron FFA.

The next school year rolled around and personally, my mindset hadn’t changed. I was still planning on participating in the same old Barron FFA events and was ready to coast through my sophomore year. The only problem? My Ag teacher was also ready to coast, but instead he was coasting into retirement and the Barron FFA had recently hired a new ag teacher. ONE teacher change throughout high school might not be a big deal to some, but it might just be the reason I am where I am today.

Year after year, I stayed very involved with Barron FFA events. Our new ag teacher soon settled into her new position and was pushing me more than ever to try something new. Finally, I gave in and attended ONE FFA conference, Farm Bureau’s Farm Forum, and that was when I realized just what I had been missing out on. The conference sparked a mentality in me that I, Ryan Erickson, am a part of the future of FFA and the future of agriculture; a mentality that sticks with me to this day.

I finished out my high school FFA career strong, serving as a chapter officer for two years. However, after graduating, I thought my FFA days were most likely over. A few different times, my ag teacher suggested running for state office to me, but I never thought I would be capable of doing that. But after ONE long conversation with my boss in the center aisle of his 40 cow dairy barn, he instilled a confidence in me that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

ONE first day. ONE new teacher. ONE FFA conference. ONE conversation. All it takes is ONE event to change somebody’s life. These are my ONE’s. The moments in time that I will never forget. As FFA Week is upon us. I can’t think of a better time to be a part of somebody else’s ONE. Whether that means trying something new, encouraging a friend, or having a simple conversation, you never know when that opportunity might arise. And all it takes is ONE.

Have a good one,

Ryan
Happy FFA Week!
Feb. 23, 2020
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter
President

Happy FFA Week Everyone,

George Washington celebrated his 288th birthday on Saturday and that means one thing for FFA members across the country- National FFA Week is officially upon us!

While the FFA holiday is celebrated nationally, there’s no doubt it’s the local festivities that have the biggest impact. All across Wisconsin, FFA members are organizing events in their chapters, schools, and communities to celebrate FFA and tell the story of agriculture education and the agriculture industry. We have a lot to be proud of, and FFA Week allows us to share that pride with others.

The state officer team is joining in on the celebration by getting out and visiting as many FFA members as possible through out the course of the week. My FFA week schedule finds me stopping by the Amherst FFA Fisheree, the Dodgeville Kiwanis Club Meeting and FFA Program, the Random Lake FFA Pep Rally, the Mauston FFA pancake breakfast, the Arcadia FFA Week Assembly, Ashland FFA’s Donkey Basketball, and the Cashton FFA Ag Olympics.

The grand finale of the week for the state officer team will be a meeting with the Wisconsin Interim DATCP Secretary in Madison on Friday! We’ll have plenty of fresh miles on our vehicles by the end of the week, but those miles will come with a boat load of memories from witnessing FFA members share the good word of our organization! Sounds like miles well spent to me!

Keep doing great things and enjoy the remainder of FFA Week! Thank you for everything you’re doing this week and will continue to do in the future to promote FFA in your schools and communities. Hope to see you soon!

Take Care,
Collin
Wild Ride on the FFA Mobile
Feb. 22, 2020
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

It’s been an exhilarating past few days of GO-GO-GO! FFA members began National FFA week with an amazing Farm Forum conference that was led by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation! It was good to sit down, eat some amazing food, and call some numbers for the iconic BINGO game! Right after the conference was done, the State FFA Officers traveled to Shawano, Wisconsin to their FFA Alumni’s Wild Game Feed. It was an amazing event eating some game that I have never ate before such as bear!

It was a WILD experience, but one thing is for sure; there is no better way than celebrating National FFA Week with amazing friends, sponsors of this great organization, and media interviews sharing the message of the FFA organization. Reflecting on my 7th year of being involved in FFA, I don’t know where I would be today without this organization. It has led me to so many directions in life and let me tell you one thing; it would be a WILD journey without this organization.

The FFA mobile has led to conferences, competitions, and to you. One day my chapter likes to participate in is “Drive your Tractor to School Day” and we usually have quite a participation and with teachers talking about how cool it was! This experience has not only led me to talking to people in my high school, but to YOU! FFA members you are truly one of a kind – you are WILD! Know that this month and next month are stressful times, but you will get through it! The FFA mobile will continue to take you to places where you might not have figured out yet and that is OKAY! So many different directions. So many different possibilities. How will you prioritize your schedule? No one can tell you how to live your life, but they can give you pointers and criticism. Have your OWN purpose. What do you want to accomplish the rest of your FFA years? Maybe you just began as an 8th grade student or if you are senior and your FFA years are almost done - there are so many endless possibilities left from competing in a Career Development Event or attending the 92nd State FFA Convention in June at Madison. There are still ways to get involved in this second half of the year and during National FFA Week! Continue to share the message of the FFA organization and how it has made you RISE UP to the challenge and STAND OUT from your peers. Rise Up, Stand out the 2019-2020 Wisconsin FFA State Theme.

Be Wild. Be energetic. BE YOU.

Have an amazing National FFA Week,
Take the Risk!
Feb. 18, 2020
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

We are in the last half of February already and the groundhog’s prediction of early spring doesn’t seem too accurate yet as winter is still thriving with inches of snow on the ground and the snowmobile trails open. Winter in Wisconsin usually includes some time spent on the snowmobile for many of us! For me, I have always enjoyed riding the sled and flying through the fields and woods. Some of the best memories I have of when I was younger were times when my family went snowmobiling.

This past Saturday, Grace, Michelle, Collin, and I headed to Lydia’s house to have a good time doing exactly that. In the morning, the five of us headed to Shawano Lake to go to the ice fishing tournament that Pulaski FFA hosted and as the afternoon came around, we went riding around with Lydia’s snowmobile and four-wheelers. We were pumped to go “braapin” and Lydia started off a little too excited and flipped the snowmobile! We had no injuries which meant we weren’t done with the fun. The five of us took turns going through the trail in the woods with the snowmobile. The first couple of rounds on the trail were quite bumpy! In fact, when Lydia, Grace, and I went around once, Grace ended up falling off because it was a little too tipsy at one point.

As we all rode with each other on the trail, I noticed something in common. We all enjoyed the ride through the straight stretches, were careful around the corners, and when we got off the trail, we had even more fun! To tell you the truth, when Michelle or Collin were driving, you had to really hold on or you were going to be in the snow. They put the throttle to the handlebar when they saw a straight path ahead of them!

The “time flies when you’re having fun” quote played its card and before we knew it we had to start heading home for the evening. On my car ride home, I reflected on how much fun I recently had. In just those few hours, I realized snowmobiling is parallel to our lives. In times where we see the road ahead of us, we may go fast but what matters is if we enjoy the ride. Our road head is going to experience bumps and you may get knocked off your track as Grace flew off the snowmobile, but what matters is if we don’t let that deteriorate us from trying again and we enjoy the ride. And to top it all off, the most adrenaline came from when we went off the trail. Risk drives most of our actions in developing ourselves each day. Risking to get stuck but actually make it through the snow creates the feeling of happiness which stands similar to how we take the chance of failing in anything throughout life. Without risk, we would have no desire to reach our future goals in life.

Our hindsight is 20/20 but our future is not. You only get one chance each day and what matters is if you enjoy the ride and take the risk throughout life. I cannot believe we are in the middle of February already! You all are making this year better than words can describe! As the spring is upon us, we are at the peak of busy times with Sectional LDEs, Career Development Events, and Banquets all taking place. While it will all go by faster than anyone can think, put in the hard work, take the risks of going on your own path, and you will never regret a decision made once you see your growth.

Braap on,
Joe
Remember to laugh it off
Feb. 15, 2020
Katie Loehrke - Secretary
Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Chapter
Section 8

I am terrified to talk in front of people. I am. Luckily, as a state officer, I have had to face that fear of mine! My speaking skills have gotten so much better, but there is a lot I have to improve on yet. Believe it or not, I started to chip away at this fear of mine in my junior year of high school. We were at Marion High, sitting in a dimly lit classroom, and I was freaking out because I did not know all of the motions, and we were just about to begin our Parli Pro demonstration in front of the district competition judges.

Everything had been going very well until my best friend stood up to speak and just stopped. She said nothing. I had no clue what to do. She was standing there not moving, her face was glowing red, I tried mouthing to her to sit back down, but she did not see me. Finally, she sat down and we finished. We all shook the judge's hands, relieved that we were done. We walked out of that classroom, took one look at each other, and erupted in laughter! What was that?!? (I still like to joke about that moment with my friend, he he!)

I have been simply amazed by the talent I saw at the District LDEs, and I am sure all of my teammates think the same thing. Whether you placed or not, the fact that you showed up to a speaking contest is pretty incredible, not many people are willing to do that. I hope all of you realized that during that prepared speech or discussion meet, you were making memories that will last a lifetime, and that experience will have such a positive impact on your future. You might have embarrassed yourself, but laugh it off! We had a major moment during our performance, but I would not trade that mishap for anything.

Great work everyone!
Lydia
What's Your Talent?
Feb. 08, 2020
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

I’m sure most of us have our daily and weekly routines. Many of our routines might include watching a favorite TV show that is new each week. Ever since I can remember, my weekly routine always included watching America’s Got Talent. I absolutely love this show because of the thrill of what an act might do. Currently I’m really into watching America’s Got Talent the Champions. My favorites are the acts that come out on stage and surprise the heck out of you with their talent.

On these talent shows we typically see singers, dancers, magicians, animal acts, acrobat acts, and many other “normal” talent acts. All of these people’s acts all fit on a stage. In FFA we do have our talent competition, but not all of us have a talent that will fit on a talent stage and showcase us for who we are. My talent and hobby were always hunting and managing my parent’s property for wildlife. Where would that ever fit on a stage? Through FFA I found that hunting fits in perfectly and truly is a talent that can be recognized.

So, where does your talent fit in? Maybe you are excellent at raising dairy cows for the fair, or clipping animals for shows. How about managing and mowing your neighbors’ lawns, keeping a garden in your backyard, experimenting ways to better an agricultural product, caring for a pet, or working for a neighboring farm. All of these are individual FFA members’ talents that I have seen this year. Each one of them has the opportunity to be recognized for all of their hard work with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE’s). Many SAE’s can’t be recognized on a talent stage, but here in FFA a little hard work with your SAE can go a long way to be recognized on our FFA stage.

Each of us have talents. Many of our talents might not fit in on a typical talent stage like America’s Got Talent. In FFA though, each of our talents fit in in some sort of way. Your talents might fit in with an SAE or Proficiency Award, having great speaking skills, working together as a team, or making new connections. These are all talents, and your talents made in FFA will take you way further than you might think!

Signing Off,

Jared Mack
State Secretary
Wisconsin Association of FFA
Our biggest supporters
Feb. 04, 2020
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

Howdy friends,

I hope everyone is staying warm with this weird winter we are having. I'm currently sitting in front of my fireplace because it’s the warmest place in the house! My team and I just returned from the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Convention and to say that they all warmed my heart is an understatement. At the Alumni Convention we were able to help with registration, tour Milwaukee Vincent High School, eat some fantastic food, put on a workshop or two, attend their banquet, and meet bucket loads of fantastic people who have dedicated their time to make sure that we, as FFA members, get the best experience possible.

The first night we toured the Milwaukee Vincent’s Agriculture Facility as well as ate fish that was prepared by students in their culinary program, which was fantastic! They have 5 ag teachers and a beautiful facility. It has a greenhouse, a barn filled with animals, spacey classrooms, and lots of animals that the students can learn from. One of the coolest (at least I thought) being butterflies! Every student takes an agriculture class and they get to decide what ag pathway is for them. It was so neat to see a school smack dab in the middle of a city yet their students still get the opportunity to see the rural side of things and get introduced to agriculture.

My team and I also were able to put on two workshops at the convention. We split into two groups, one group talked about social media in their workshop while the other group did a couple activities that we do at chapter visits, in order for some members of the Alumni to understand a little more about what we do as state officers. Both workshops had good attendance and lots of fun!

Throughout the convention we attended lunches, dinners, meetings, and banquets with the FFA Alumni. At each of these events I sat by someone new, a different member of the alumni and each one told me their story. They told me about their experiences in the blue jacket and their experiences since they took off the jacket. They almost all said the same thing, “I wouldn’t be where I am without FFA”. I met retired farmers, agronomists, salesmen, teachers, dentists, and so many more. Even if they weren’t in FFA when they were in high school, they still have the same passion and drive for bettering FFA for the members that are wearing the jacket now and for generations to come.

So next time we see someone in our Alumni, let’s be sure to thank them for all they do because the FFA organization would not be where we are today without our FFA Alumni and Supporters!

Stay True
~Emily
The Perfect Ending
Feb. 01, 2020
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

Banquet season is almost here! Banquets were always one of my favorite parts of the FFA year, and I could not be more excited to be coming to chapter banquets this year as a state officer. I have already had one FFA banquet this year, and it was in River Ridge. I cannot tell you how much fun I had.

The night began with my arrival at the high school. I was stressed about giving my speech for the first time, so I kept giving it to myself while sitting in my car. Once I got the courage to go inside, I was greeted with a delightful surprise. While the officer team was finishing setting up the gym, I got tasked with helping the younger members get ready in the ag room with their official dress. And let me tell you, it was awesome. Imagine thirteen freshman boys and myself trying to tie a bunch of ties the correct way, while watching countless youtube tutorials and laughing until our sides hurt. That is exactly what it was like! It was the best way to get my mind off the nervousness for my speech.

After everyone was looking sharp, we headed up to the gymnasium and the evening began. There were creed demonstrations, awards, an amazing meal, and door prizes. It was the best. And then it came time for my speech. I was still nervous, but I felt more comfortable as I was up in the front. Before I knew it, my speech was over. It went perfect. The crowd laughed at the right times, I didn’t stumble on my words, and the students loved my speech topic. It was everything I could have ever imagined. The best part, was being gifted a beautifully crafted and expertly packaged 24 pack of mountain dew! The perfect ending to a perfect night of I do say so myself.

I can’t wait until I get the chance to attend more banquets and share these moment with more FFA members. I hope that you are excited for your upcoming banquet too! It’s the perfect ending to a year full of hard work and service. Just in case you need the reminder, never forget to “keep on, keepin on.”

Can’t wait to see you all soon!
Grace
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