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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

September Archives

Let’s Get FIREd Up!
Sep. 29, 2019
Carisa Cleven - Vice President
Tomah FFA Chapter
Section 3

Wisconsin FFA,

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 or 608-863-6402 if you ever need anything.


Road Signs must be Read
Sep. 23, 2019
Ben Styer - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

As the team and I continue to travel throughout the state to put on Sectional Leadership Workshops, we have put many miles on our vehicles. I tend to be the one sitting in the passenger seat because my teammates are very adamant about me not driving to places. While I am sitting in Ryan’s truck on the way back to Chippewa Falls from Spencer, we continue to talk about my non-existent driving abilities.

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,
It's a "Party in the FFA!"
Sep. 21, 2019
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

"….And now for your 2019-2020 Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team! From the Barron FFA, State Vice President Ryan Erickson!…” Nothing gets a guy going quite like hearing FFA announcer Bob Meyer announce your name as a Wisconsin State FFA officer. And if that isn’t enough to get you hyped for a Sectional Leadership Workshop, getting to run through a tunnel of excited FFA members will for sure do the trick! The members have been absolutely amazing at all four of our sectional leadership workshops so far and I am sure that trend will continue. I know all of my fellow officers and I have had a blast at these SLW’s and I have yet to meet a member that didn’t have a good time as well. But why? What makes a leadership workshop an event to remember?

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
Let the Games Begin!
Sep. 15, 2019
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

Hello Everybody,

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!
Accidents Happen, It’s Life
Sep. 13, 2019
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

The first few days of school are now over, but are you still nervous about what’s next? Maybe it’s a presentation or a test. Do you still have those nerves? I have nerves every day. I had the first day of my chapter visits on Tuesday in Hartford and I was nervous because I did not know what to expect with the plans I had made. I had approximately 10 minutes until I had to be at the high school so I had some time to spare so I could eat some breakfast at Kwik Trip. As I was traveling through Hartford, I was nervous and my mind was going a million directions. There were two lanes and the car ahead of me was turning left so my first thought was to go around her, but one thing I forgot to check was my blind spot. I was moving into the other lane and…


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!
Acting with CSP
Sep. 11, 2019
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Yesterday, as I started my series of chapter visits across Section 9, I began to scroll through all the local radio stations to find my favorite one to listen to for the remainder of my travels. Today, I performed the same routine; however, today was different because all I continuously heard was recordings and memories that people recalled from this day, September 11th, 18 years ago. Multiple channels played the recording of when television stations across the country stopped every program and dived into breaking news by releasing actual footage of smoke billowing out the north tower of the World Trade Center. As my trip to my chapter visit proceeded and I listened to countless stories of confusion, insecurity, and emotion, I began to reflect on the heroes of that historic day.

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!
Home Away from Shawano
Sep. 09, 2019
Katie Loehrke - Secretary
Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

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,
A Week At the Arcade(ia)
Sep. 06, 2019
Cortney Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

Wowza! We have been busy these past few days! We all got to travel to the Weltzien’s home in Arcadia to start really planning for Sectional Leadership Workshops or SLWs. SLWs give us the chance to travel to all the home chapters of my fellow state officers and get to meet many members through fun activities and workshops. Joe and Lydia picked me up and away we went. If you ever get the chance to travel around western Wisconsin DO IT. If you get to live in this part of the state, well… I’m jealous both because it is beautiful and the deer get huge around this area. We can talk hunting though some other time!

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
Tossing "Chips"
Sep. 02, 2019
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

Just before school starts each year I find myself serving celebrating a very unique festival that my community has to offer: The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. Yep, it means exactly what it says, we throw cow manure and see how far it goes. For the Cow Chip Throw, people come from all over to throw a piece of cow manure or “chip” as we like to call it. This two day long festival is filled with manure tossing, fantastic food, and many bands to listen too. Now at this point you’re probably thinking “These Sauk Prairie people are crazy” and I would have to agree that this festival is a little abnormal.

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.

Signing off,

Jared Mack
Wisconsin Association of FFA State Secretary
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