FFA Officers: Travel Blog
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!
This summer has been a whirlwind of excitement. County fairs are ending, sports practices are starting up, and school is just around the corner. This time of year, we all try to hang out with our friends and do our favorite things one last time. The officer team is no different. Next week, we have a family picnic scheduled to relax and enjoy some quality times with each other’s families. But this week some of the officers travelled to Chicago for one last conference before the year kicks into full swing.
Collin, Joe, Lydia and I began our journey to a hotel in Milwaukee, on Monday night, as Mr. Hicken was picking us up early in the morning to head to GROWMARK. It had only been a few days since we had last seen each other, but it felt like years. We had a stress-free night, and in the morning, Mr. Hicken picked us up and we began the journey to Chicago. We had all the essentials of a road trip on that morning…….Mr. Hicken and Collin taking charge of directions and tackling the beast of traffic that was ahead of us, Joe and I in the back seat watching YouTube videos about Beverly Hills, and Lydia all the way in the back completely zonked. Not to mention we were in an epic minivan for this trip! It was awesome.
Eventually we reached our destination and got our bags settled in our rooms. We all were assigned different rooms and got a roommate from a different State FFA Association. Soon we headed downstairs for the Young Leaders Luncheon. There were state officers from Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Young Leaders from Ontario. Here, we got the opportunity to meet each other, talk about our plans for the year and create new friendships. It was a nice way to introduce ourselves to each other before we had to learn how to do the flags ceremony during the main session of GROWMARK’s Annual Meeting.
Now, I have only participated in a flag ceremony one other time, and that was at State Fair. And this was completely different. There must have been 20 different flags presented by all the young leaders. The craziest moment for me during this ceremony was that we were walking in as the Chicago Police Department displayed their Bagpipes and Drums. I have never heard bagpipes in person, and it was absolutely amazing to see it take place right in front of me. The National Anthem of the United States and Canada were both sung by an incredible acapella group on stage. This ceremony was something I will never forget.
Later in the meeting, Collin and the other presidents from the young leaders’ group, all gave speeches about innovation. All these speeches were phenomenal, and we heard some amazing feedback from those in attendance. We also had the chance to hear from individuals who worked in Apple, Google, Tesla, John Deere, as well as the co-founder of Netflix. But one of my personal favorite speakers of the day was Mark Wahl, a graffiti artist from California. He painted in front of the whole audience and gave away some of the pieces he created. It was truly a magical experience, to listen to him speak and watch him create these works of art.
The last event at GROWMARK that I want to mention, is the concert we were invited to. The band performing is known as The World Class Rockers. And let me tell you, they were world class rockers for sure. All members were part of iconic bands, before joining The World Class Rockers. Some include members from Journey, Toto, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston, and Santana. It was incredible to hear them live. Lydia was in her element; she knew almost every word to every song! We even got to take a picture in all the Rock’n’Roll gear at the photo booth.
This was a trip of a lifetime. And this is my challenge to you. If you ever question going on a road trip with your friends, or could go somewhere new, TAKE IT! You never know where it will take you, or what you will learn. You may even meet some pretty cool people along the way. Live life freely, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
See you soon,
Where has summer gone? It seems like it was here and gone in a blink of an eye. The state officer team has sure been busy and I’m sure you can say the same. But no matter how busy we claim to be, it is important to stop and take in every moment because we can never go back. Every second that passes, we’ll never see again.
Whenever I get a break from state office, I always like to work on the farm as much as possible. Recently, we rebuilt a steer barn that went down this past winter, and now we were ready to cement in the posts and head gates. As we were pouring the cement, I got to thinking- once we put that cement where we wanted it, we weren’t going to be able to move it again. There was no going back. And then I got to thinking, this is directly relatable to everyday life and our FFA experience. We never get the chance to go back. We never get to go back and redo anything or try something new. So, we best get it right the first time.
It is important to keep this thought in the front of our minds. As we go through each year of high school, we need to strive to make the most of them because when it’s all said and done, there’s no going back to change things. Some of the opportunities available to us are ones we’ll never get a second chance at. So, I challenge you this year to dive in and take advantage of the opportunities FFA offers because if you don’t, you may regret it later.
With the school year right around the corner, chapter visits and Sectional Leadership Workshops will be here before we know it. But before then, don’t be afraid to get a hold of me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608)-863-6402!
Enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer,
A cabin in the woods filled with fishing gear, a lot of food, and ten friends who never seem to see enough of one another. Cabin mates for three nights bunking up again after nights filled with hard work, conversation, and a few cans of Mountain Dew. The Mountain Dew statement is a bit of an understatement. By a few, I mean a minimum of seven cans a day per person. We also enjoyed fishing, grilled cheese, pancakes and eggs, endless amount of blankets, bunk beds, and heartfelt talk. This is what a weekend in the woods looks like, talk about my heaven.
Every year the state officer team travels to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin for their annual officer retreat. This year’s activity highlights included the predictable favorites: naps, dock sitting, playing volleyball underneath the lights, wet hair ponytails, no makeup, going on walks down the long gravel driveway, bonfires, and fishing.
Better yet, this year’s planning was in full swing when we were in the solitude of the woods. We were able to work on our SLW and FIRE Conference workshops, speeches, take a knowledge test, and work on our sectional newsletters. These past couple of days have been filled with being productive, but we also had time to hang out as a cohesive unit during our free time.
The cabin provided the perfect setting for the team to bond and work together on FFA projects. It also allowed us to relax and get away from the pressure and stresses of FFA State office. We were able to focus on the tasks at hand and forget about the things happening in our lives elsewhere. My task for you is to find your place. The place where you can relax and take time to really enjoy your life without any distractions.
on a hammock overlooking a lake, waking up to the birds chirping away
in the trees, or even just the smell of freshly cut grass, I think it
is safe to say that summertime in Wisconsin is something that we all
look forward to. However, just as it is lake season, grilling season,
bonfire season and fair season, we all seem to forget the never-ending
road work season!
There are few sights that can spoil summertime enthusiasm more than
“Road Work Ahead” signs or even worse, “Road Closed Ahead” signs. And
as if merging to one lane of traffic wasn’t bad enough, the nerve that
it takes to ask us summertime vacationers to slow to 55mph or even the
dreaded 45mph is almost too much to take! Don’t they know we have fish
to catch, brats to grill, and cattle to show?
Over the past two months, I have traveled over countless Wisconsin
roadways. Some roads were paved, others were not. Some roads were
divided, others were not. Most were fully operational, however some
were not. And isn’t it funny how it’s those couple of roads here and
there that are “under construction” that stand out in our memory?
Believe me when I say I am as guilty as the next guy when it comes to
getting frustrated with the delays in road work zones. But when we
think about it, why do we get upset? Why are we unhappy with the
improvements that are being made so that next time, we can get to our
destination safely and quickly? Maybe, just maybe, we have to change
But what if this “Road Work Ahead” mentality applies to more than just
the pavement that we drive on? We all have aspects of our daily lives
that, to be honest, could really use some repairs. And when family or
friends point those areas out to us, the last thing that we want to do
is slow our hectic, crazy lives down to 45mph and tear up that old,
cracked pavement. But can I ask you a question? Have you ever drove on
a newly repaired roadway and said to yourself, “I liked it better the
way it was before?” Of course not! So, as we navigate through the
final weeks of Summer 2019, lets make an effort to embrace the
roadwork going on both below our tires and in our lives so we will be
open and ready for traffic come fall!
Keep on Truckin’,
The 2019 Wisconsin State Fair is officially in the books! Whether it was showing an animal, performing in the honors band or choir, or just paying a visit to the fairgrounds, I hope many of you found a day or two to enjoy the festivities of state fair. And if you didn’t make it to Milwaukee, I’m sure many of you have had no trouble staying busy with county fairs the last couple of months as well!
As you may have heard, the state officer team had no trouble staying busy at state fair either! The 11 days were filled with countless three-hour shifts working in the Discovery Barn and facilitating the DATCP Veggie 500. And if spending a week and half straight working with six-year-old children isn’t enough to tucker you out, working on a seemingly never-ending to-do list certainly is!
That’s about how we feel after this 11-day adventure. Tired. After a continuous stretch of late nights and early mornings, lots of advocating for agriculture, and working our tails off to stay up to speed for our busy fall schedule, it’s safe to say we are simply exhausted both physically and mentally.
But we did it. We survived State Fair. Yes, we were challenged. In fact, we were pushed to our limits. But that’s what makes the completion of the week feel that much more rewarding. It was hard work. And it was worth it.
There’s no rival to the satisfaction that comes along with hard, honest work. Sure, hard work means extra effort, energy, and stress. But that’s what makes it valuable. After all, anything worth having, is worth working for.
We all face challenges.- experiences that test us, that push us, that exhaust us. But when you struggle to see the value of your effort, remember the merit of hard work- the sweet triumph of personal victory. When you know you’ve put in the work, when you know you’ve earned the satisfaction of accomplishment, that’s when you know it was worth it.
The 2019 Wisconsin State Fair is complete. We did it and we’re proud of it. Now we’re off to Jag Lake tomorrow to continue our planning for the busy fall ahead and hopefully soak up a few minutes of relaxation in the Northwoods!
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and get ready to hit the ground running come September. It’s going to be a heck of a year!
See you soon,
Well, stress happens, but the State Officers like to make the best out of the situation with bringing out the fun with the late nights and the little amount of sleep we get. The first day we arrived as a team we knew what the upcoming weeks were going to be like with the amount of work we had to accomplish along with having fun at State Fair. The first night, we had gone to a fast food joint of “Kopps” and we were all fascinated with the waterfall architecture it had and we were all distracted by it. When we were ordering our food, Lindsey had set her phone down on the table I was at and asked if my other teammates and I could watch it until she was done ordering. I did my duty. I watched it. I took selfies on it (keep your phone somewhere and I will spam it!). As she came back to the table after she ordered and I went to go order thinking she would grab her phone. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
When we were finishing up our meal, Lindsey had asked if I had her phone and my reply was a no thinking she had grabbed her phone. My teammates and I had gone to go look for it asking the front counter and the people around the table we were at and had no luck. Oops, guess that happens to the best of us. I then had the idea to call her phone to see if it was hidden or if someone would pick up, and with our luck, an adult woman had answered the call. She was an older adult with an accent that I could barely understand, but I knew she had said “Macy’s” so we had to drive two minutes, unsure of what to expect with the question of, “Are they good people?” When we got there, she apologized and was a happy lady with kids.
Overall, some of us are living in a busy life and we have our mind on a lot of things, but we need to remember to live in the moment, live the dream, and BE HAPPY. We may lose things and everything may not go by the plan, but life is not perfect. Life will go how you make it go, you only live once so make the best out of it. As we are focused on helping other FFA members strive to help find their niche in the FFA organization, we want you to know we are here for you. Open up and I will be there for you. I believe we will be better together and I can’t wait to meet you all throughout the year. Feel free to stop by at the Wisconsin State Fair, we all love meeting members from across the state!
Hope you’re having a fun-filled summer,
On Wednesday this week, my teammates and I traveled to the Wisconsin State Fair to get ready for the opening day on Thursday. When walking through the livestock barns on the first day, I could sense the nervousness in the air as white filled the dairy cattle aisles preparing animals, making them look pretty for the judge. For many, this is just the start of the nerves as they still have to go in the show ring and hope their animal will cooperate with them or, otherwise, they know their placing will not be what they desire. Sometimes, it may seem like the same people always receive first place in their showmanship class while your cow falls asleep. These are the moments where we may think it’s “No Fair.” With all of this in mind, realizing the incredible hands-on learning experience these exhibitors are gaining can be easily forgotten as the fair schedule is crazy busy! However, this will long-term never be unappreciated or lost in memory.
Personally, I only submitted 4-H projects at my county fair until second grade. Since then, I have not been involved with exhibiting anything at any fair. My engagement with my county fair and the state fair is very different than many others experiences. Starting in elementary, I helped my parents work our FFA Alumni chapters food stand to put in several hours preparing food while dealing with whatever mother nature felt like doing, which includes having a river stream running down the middle of the stand because of the overflow of rain or your shirt dripping in sweat because of the heat. When my family and I completed our shift, we always went through the livestock barns to see all the amazing exhibits. This was the time I said, “No Fair.” It was not fair to see my friends have the opportunity of showing animals at the fair while I, at the time, had to work at our alumni food stand instead. My family never showed livestock at any fair because it was not much of an interest my siblings had. With being the youngest child, I did not have much say in making my parents think we were going to start showing at fairs.
Looking at all aspects of the fair this past week has been eye-opening. No matter what your responsibility is at the fair, without all of the volunteers and exhibitors, including if you did not place in your showmanship class as well as you wanted, we would have “No Fair.” Because the opportunities you are given as an FFA member, like exhibiting or helping at a fair, are important as we continue to take on the amazing task to advocate for agriculture. Without participation, we have “No Fair.” However, we come together with communities across the state to continue educating more people about the different aspects of the agriculture industry. So next time you are at a fair, instead of saying it’s “No Fair,” take time to reflect on how there is no time like fair time to help support everyone’s growth.
Have a good one,