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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

March Archives

My Springboard
Mar. 30, 2022
Amara Livingston - Parliamentarian
Cochrane-Fountain City FFA Chapter
Section 3

I can’t believe we’re already here in the midst of FFA chapter banquets and just over two months away from State Convention. This time of year also means being in the depths of one of FFA’s best and most beloved competitions: Career Development Events. This is one event that truly embodies all FFA has to offer. We take our classroom knowledge, our workforce skills, our studied information and put it all into play at our Regional Career Development Events.

As a state officer, I had the privilege to travel to two of the Regional CDEs: UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls. Of which, both events took me on a trip down memory lane. I first competed in a CDE my eighth grade year. I participated in the classic Middle School Agriscience CDE at UW-River Falls and also competed at UW-Platteville as a member of the Veterinary Science team, the same Veterinary Science team that I credit to as being the springboard of my FFA career.

I vividly remember the day little eighth grade Amara decided that she would join the one and only vet science team. I was in my home chapter’s ag room during quiz bowl practice when junior and chapter vice president at the time, Kaleb Krzyszton, announced to us quiz bowlers as he left the room that Vet Science still needed a fourth man and that this year eighth graders were eligible to compete. At the end of practice that day, I went up to my advisor and said, “I’m in! I want to be on vet science.”

From there it was all a blur. There was another junior officer on the team at the time whose name was Lexie. Both Kaleb and Lexie opened my eyes to the endless possibilities I had in FFA. They both encouraged me to run for chapter office that spring, which I then ended up serving as my chapter’s reporter my freshman year. Joining the Veterinary Science CDE team took me from “I like having pizza at Quiz Bowl practice,” to, “FFA is the place for me.”

I hope many of you have found your place in FFA this year. Whether you are all about mechanics, flowers, or animals, or even leadership, community service, and fun, you have a place in the FFA organization.

As these next two months go by, I hope that your semester finishes off strong and you achieve everything you can. Keep practicing and studying for those CDEs, LDEs, or whatever is in store for you next because that next thing might just be the springboard of your FFA career. As always, you can reach out to me anytime at 608-863-3990 or at alivingston@wisconsinffa.org.

Sincerely

Amara Livingston
Just Around the Corner
Mar. 26, 2022
Casey Denk - Vice President
Mondovi FFA Chapter
Section 2

With the snow disappearing, mud overtaking many farms, and winter rye trying to green-up the countryside, there is one thing on every farmer’s mind, spring. While growing up on our farm I learned at an early age that spring is one of the busiest times of year, yet it still became one of my favorites. Spring on our farm resembles another year of growth, between calving and planting, we are starting next year's production. In the words of Jon Kinzenbaw, founder of Kinze Manufacturing, “planting is one of the most essential things a farm will do each year.”

On March 24th, Ben and I had the opportunity to travel to Iowa with the Elmwood FFA Chapter and Alumni members to tour Kinze Manufacturing. On our tour, we watched a variety of planters get assembled, learned how their different paint lines work, and heard about their different models of grain carts and tillage equipment. After the tour was done, we watched a short video about the history of their business. Throughout the video we learned that Jon started his business out of a small shop doing welding repairs for local farmers to make money to support his own farming dream. Today, the company has grown to employ over 700 employees, has over 30 acres of manufacturing building space, and has grown larger than Jon could have ever imagined.

Jon said the key to his success was listening to farmers and innovating machinery to their needs. During my favorite part of the video, Jon shared how agriculturists have continued to be the most optimistic people he has ever met. Year after year, regardless of price and setbacks, we continue to put crops in the ground during the spring, watch them grow throughout the summer, and hope to harvest a bountiful crop in the fall. Listening to this made me realize how lucky I am to have grown up surrounded by the agriculture industry and the people in it. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized the importance our upbringing plays in forming us into the people we are today. That being said, I am beyond grateful that I was raised immersed in the agriculture industry surrounded by not only the most optimistic, but also the most driven, humble, and ambitious people I have been lucky enough to know and admire.

Throughout the busy spring season feel free to reach out at any time by email cdenk@wisconsinffa.org or at (715)-495-2899. I am looking forward to seeing some of you soon at chapter banquets, Career Development Events, and other upcoming FFA activities!

Enjoy the nice weather,

Casey J. Denk
Just Show Up
Mar. 23, 2022
Katie Zimmer - Vice President
Flambeau FFA Chapter
Section 1

This last weekend we had the EDGE conference in Green Bay, along with the Mission and Impact conferences. The EDGE conference was specifically for our younger FFA members and stands for Experiencing Discovery, Growth, and Excellence. This conference allows for 7, 8, and 9th graders to learn more about teamwork and being a leader from Rhett Laubach and Kelly Barnes from YourNextSpeaker. The State Officer team worked with the members to learn more about official FFA dress, FFA opportunities, and SAEs as well. While at the conference they also had the opportunity to meet with a few of the National FFA Officers, Cortney Zimmerman and Jackson Sylvester.

For many of these members, this was their first FFA event ever. They had no clue what they were walking into. Their advisor most likely offered them a chance to travel across Wisconsin to Green Bay, spend a night in a hotel, and attend this conference. Some students maybe went into this thinking it would be pretty boring, or that it would be the best time ever. Some students were probably nervous to be around new people and some were probably excited to make friends. Either way, these FFA members showed up, no matter what their thoughts were.

All these FFA members had to do was just show up. They didn’t have to put any work into going to this conference. They just had to show up. When they showed up they were able to experience and discover the growth and excellence they can achieve through FFA and through being a leader. They were able to make new friends. They were able to have a great time.

One of the first events that I ever just showed up for, was my first ever FFA meeting. I had no clue what it was going to be like, but I decided to just show up with some encouragement from my parents. And just showing up to that meeting, led to an FFA journey I could have never imagined.

Sometimes that is all we have to do. We need to just show up. A new opportunity may seem intimidating, but if we just show up, we can experience something amazing. One of the most important things we can do is show up. Whether that means showing up to help at an event, showing up to a conference to learn something new, or showing up to support someone. Just by showing up, we open that door to an experience that may be unforgettable. I encourage you to just show up for opportunities not only in your FFA chapter but in your life. You never know what might happen if you just show up.

If you want to learn more about the FFA opportunities available to our younger FFA members feel free to contact me at kzimmer@wisconsinffa.org or 715-567-0610.

Yours Truly,

Katie Zimmer
Country Roads, Take Me Home
Mar. 20, 2022
Ben Styer - President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
President

“Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads.”

These classic lyrics of John Denver’s infamous song are timeless and instantly recognizable. Between the charming sound of the song and even more so, the meaning, “Country Roads, Take Me Home” will go down as one of the greatest songs of all time. Whether we live in a rural setting and regularly drive down country roads or reside in the hustle and bustle of a big city, we can all appreciate the simple charm of country life and the peacefulness of mother nature.

These past few days, our weather has been beautiful! The snow is melting, birds are returning, temperatures are high for a couple of days, and for the first time in a few months, it is really nice to be outside. To take advantage of this gorgeous weather, I decided to go on a walk down … you guessed it, country roads. I am no fitness guru, but it was so nice to be out and about once again. After a few months of cold, windy Wisconsin winter, I had forgotten how nice it could be to live in the dairy state.

Going on a peaceful walk outside today was a great way to end an even better week. Throughout the past seven days, I helped out at a Sectional LDE, went to a National Officer visit at Adams-Friendship High School, worked with students at the EDGE/Mission/Impact Conferences, and helped out with farm chores when I was home. It has been a busy, yet very rewarding week, and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world. However, at busy times such as these, a getaway is important from time to time. For me, going on a peaceful walk was a great way to recharge on a Sunday afternoon. How do you refocus during busy times?

I am sure we all can answer that question differently. Between playing board games with friends and family, reading, baking, exercising, or even taking a nap, the list of ways to recharge goes on and on. With all things though, it’s best to recharge only in moderation. Afterall, in the words of Ridge Hughbanks, 2018-2019 National FFA Central Region Vice President, “The world is run by people who are tired.”

Hopefully as spring continues to make its 2022 debut, we can all get outside and enjoy what Wisconsin’s country roads have to share. As you consider running for state FFA office this spring, prepare for a chapter banquet, or even have some down time and would like to connect, do not hesitate to reach out to me at (715)505-8900 or bstyer@wisconsinffa.org. The most rewarding two years of my life thus far will be complete before I know it, so what better time than the present to make a connection.

I hope your next trip home can be on country roads!

Best,
Ben Styer
So you want to play basketball?
Mar. 12, 2022
Lashawna Vogel - Reporter
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

For anyone who doesn’t know me too well, I am undoubtedly the most athletic out of my team… actually, it's the opposite, but sometimes I like to think so. This weekend I was invited to participate in Donkey Basketball with Random Lake FFA and I excitedly excepted. I remembered back during my sophomore year of high school that my school hosted Donkey Basketball, I wasn’t 16 yet so I couldn’t ride a donkey. Telling myself and my friends the only reason I wasn’t riding a donkey was that I did meet the age requirement, I signed up to help with the event.

After watching a game of Donkey Basketball, all that was going through my head was how crazy these people were for riding donkeys AND playing basketball! I knew of two things following that day: 1. I would never ride a donkey and 2. Basketball still was not the right sport for me. You might be thinking: “well I know why Lashawna doesn’t want to ride a donkey but why doesn’t she want to play basketball?” That is a very logical question- from 4th grade through freshman year in high school I practiced and played basketball. It was a fun winter activity for someone who is not particularly fond of the cold weather. Here’s a quick summary of my experience in basketball in one word: benchwarmer. During the one year of high school JV2 basketball I played, I’m certain my time on the court never passed 15 minutes per game- even with our team of nine girls (on a good day).

It just didn’t seem fair to me, I attended all of the practices and games just like the other girls but during the games, the other girls were on the court… but I was on the sidelines, almost like a parent that came to watch. At first, it was a little heartbreaking to watch my teammates and friends play but I quickly realized my spot on the team.

To say I didn’t play often was fair but because of it, I could cheer on my teammates the WHOLE game. It might not have been as exciting to sit on the bench for most of the game but I learned a few lessons from it. First, expect nothing from life- every goal you have you should work towards. Not playing as often helped me realize that I either need to spend a lot more time at basketball or get after other goals like I did. Second, one’s ability to play sports does not determine your character. Growing up I played a variety of sports but it wasn’t until I was sitting on the bench thinking that I realized there was so much more to life than playing sports and it didn’t make me a bad person for not being as highly skilled. Third, rooting for your team might be exactly what they need. Each time one of my teammates subbed in for another I would wish the one hitting the court well and talk with the one joining me on the bench about how great they were doing because this wasn’t always heard, yet it is needed.

Finally, my most recent experience in basketball: Donkey Basketball. Unfortunately, my basketball skills didn’t magically grow, nor did I have any special skills for playing the game, but I had fun while trying something new. So even if you aren’t skilled at basketball, like me, when offered the opportunity to try it out: go for it!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything, even a person to play donkey basketball, at (920) 676-7717 or lvogel@wisconsinffa.org!

Take your opportunities,
Lashawna Vogel
March Madness
Mar. 02, 2022
Mia Hillebrand - Secretary
River Valley FFA Chapter
Section 4

When I think of March Madness I think of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Now if you are not familiar with college basketball this is where college basketball has its tournament to determine their National Champions. NCCA has 68 teams and four weeks to determine who wins the National Title. When I was in elementary school we had always made the March Madness brackets and whoever had the best placing would get a prize. I was not a sports type of gal at the time, but as I grew older I started to enjoy watching basketball and had a better understanding of March Madness. The madness is just about to begin, with basketball games happening throughout this month.

Another thought comes to mind when I think of March Madness today. That is the madness of all the super awesome opportunities that March holds for FFA members. Anywhere from preparing for your Sectional Leadership Development Event, Career Development Events, service projects, conferences, or banquets. FFA members have a lot going on in their lives in March.

In the madness, there are also things to think about for all members. It could be wanting to run for chapter officer this coming year. Organize an FFA event for your chapter or community. Reaching out to middle schoolers coming into High School to encourage them to consider taking an agriculture class or join FFA. Maybe running for State Office is on your mind too.

Set your goals and push yourself through the madness because I know Wisconsin FFA Members are going above and beyond. Each FFA member is doing astounding things in March Madness and coming up this Spring. I am so excited to see all the awesome events members are doing in the next month. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or need someone to talk to at any time. You can reach me at mhillebrand@wisconsinffa.org or (608)459-0742.

Happy March Madness,

Mia


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