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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

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Believe in Your Potential!
Oct. 28, 2019
Jackie Rosenbush - Sentinel
Spooner FFA Chapter
Section 1

At the time, I thought it was just another average fall in the small town of Barron Wisconsin. The weather was getting colder, the football team was struggling to score a point, and I was wondering why in the world I decided to join cross country with no prior training. Little did I know that October of 2015 was a turning point in my life. I was just starting my junior year of high school and starting to really think about what the next chapter of my life might hold. My daily schedule consisted of many band, shop, and ag classes and I knew that I wanted to pursue career in one of those areas. But which way should I go?

My junior year in high school was also the first year that I served as a chapter officer in the Barron FFA. I was a very active member at the local level for Barron FFA but had no interest in and state or national FFA events. That was until a couple of my buddies convinced me to apply for the trip to National FFA Convention and I was one of the members chosen to attend. I was excited to miss a week of school, but I had no idea that the week ahead would change my life forever.

“Amplify!” was the 2015-2016 National FFA theme and it was also an accurate description of what National FFA Convention did to my FFA career. After meeting lots of new friends, touring some very cool landmarks, listening to a many excellent speakers, and spending hours in the FFA mall and career fair, I was fired up for the future of FFA. National FFA Convention was amazing because it showed me just how huge the FFA really is but at the same time, I walked away knowing that I play an important role in the FFA and in the future of agriculture and that I really can make a difference.

It was a long drive home from Louisville Kentucky, the site of the 2015 National FFA Convention. But the drive felt even longer once a reality hit me. The Barron FFA had a policy that you could attend National Convention once but if you wanted to come again, you would have to be competing in an event. At the time, I saw competing at nationals as a long shot at best. So, the realty that I would most likely never attend National Convention again began to creep into my mind.

Now as to why this blog is titled, “Believe in Your Potential,” it turned out that 2015 was not the end of my National FFA Convention experience. And neither was 2016… or 2017…or 2018! Once I had experienced the energy and life that exists in the FFA at the 2015 convention, I became focused on earning my way back. One Food Science CDE Team, one Agriscience Project, and one American FFA Degree later, I would say I accomplished that goal! And now having the chance to attend my fifth convention and be a voting delegate for the state of Wisconsin is truly a dream come true. I would have never imagined that I wound attend four more conventions on that long bus ride home in 2015. But after that convention, I discovered potential inside of me that I never knew existed. I have pushed myself and grown in so many ways through the FFA over the years, and the ignition of that process was definitely the 2015 National Convention.

So as so many of us make the trek to the great city of Indianapolis over the next couple of days, please travel safe and enjoy your time together. But throughout your time at convention and as you reflect on your way home, I challenge you to discover the potential inside of you. Find something that you are passionate about and don’t let anything stop you from reaching that goal. Soak up every last moment of that National FFA Convention atmosphere and together, we can make a difference on the future of agriculture.

Hope to see you at convention!
~Ryan Erickson
Beautiful View from the Backseat
Oct. 26, 2019
Joe Schlies - President
Denmark FFA Chapter

Hello Everybody,

Well, it’s official; fall is here! My favorite time of year. The leaves are dropping, and the crops are hitting the bins. That means one thing: National Convention is near! But the state officers have put on a few thousands miles prior to the “FFA Holiday”, and of course, a portion of those travels has come in the form of chapter visits.

Now, chapter visits were one of the highlights of my career serving as a state officer last year. Afterall, there’s nothing better than interacting with FFA members and ag students all day long. But unfortunately, my role this year as President doesn’t find me facilitating “official” chapter visits. Instead, I get the opportunity to observe each of the sectional officers at one of their chapter visits. I essentially sit in the back, take notes, and then offer feedback to my teammates on their facilitation strengths and opportunities for growth. Ideally, they can then use that feedback to improve their presentation as chapter visit season progresses.

Well let me tell you, I’ve learned there is only one thing that can rival the satisfaction of interacting with FFA members and students at a chapter visit: watching your teammate interact with and have a positive impact on FFA members and students at their chapter visit. Watching my teammates shine (and of course interacting with FFA members along the way) is perhaps the most rewarding experience of all. The view from the back seat is a beautiful sight.

So sure, am I missing not getting to facilitate my own chapter visits? Of course. But I couldn’t have asked for a better replacement job. I get to watch others bring the magic of FFA to life. And I don’t know what else one could ask for.

In our FFA careers, sometimes we may not always be in the “heat of the action.” Sometimes we may have more of a backseat position. But who’s to say we can’t still take a look around and appreciate the noble work of our peers? When you find yourself surrounded by the inspiring actions of others, take a step back, and soak in the view. I think you’ll find it just as rewarding as I have.

And speaking of being surrounded by the inspiring actions of others, what better place to find yourself in that position than at the National FFA Convention? I’ve yet to attend an event that sends me home as motivated, refueled, and reenergized as National Convention. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself amongst the blue sea of 70,000 FFA members in Indianapolis this week, soak in the view from the back seat. I’m sure you’ll find yourself in plenty “heat of the action” situations, but don’t forget to step back and enjoy watching FFA members succeed. It’s a beautiful view!

See you in Indy!
FFA Stars in Wisconsin
Oct. 25, 2019
Melissa Konkel - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

As we are gearing up for a week at the 92nd National FFA Convention, we recognize those who put the time and dedication in the events they compete in. Whether it’s a National FFA Band or Chorus member, Agriscience Fair Participant, Career Development Event contestant, and different competitors at convention we are all excited to see how they will perform, but what does it take to be them?

1) Motivation. The drive to be a part of something and answering the question, “Why should we put towards the effort in the competition?” The ending reason with anything we do always comes with a reason why? Maybe because we desire the reward from it, want to be recognized, or most likely – because we enjoy it! Aligning what we like to do with competitions and events will help us acquire skills that are needed to be the most successful.

2) Dedication. Setting aside time to prepare for the competition and have a willingness to learn. There are many other priorities to have such as work, sports, clubs, and family time, but putting in the time towards something you care about. Practices may seem long, but I remember studying for the Poultry Career Development Event and it was a blast because we had many fun activities we would participate in it to make the material we are learning more fun.

3) Stay classy. Whatever happens during or before the competition, just know it will be okay. Whether you win or lose, life will move on, but reflect to get something out of the experience, how can you continue to do great the next year in the same event or trying a different competition.

Those are only a few pointers of how we can continue to do great things and represent what is on the back of our FFA jacket!

Congratulations to all of the STARS who competed at the 92nd National FFA Convention, you will continue to do great things!

See you soon,
Jump Around with Our FFA Family
Oct. 19, 2019
Katrina Hoesly - Parliamentarian
Denmark FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hi Everybody,

FIRE Conference 2019 is now history for us to look back at! The past three weeks of hosting this conference across the state flew by for my teammates and I, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Over 600, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade members attended FIRE this year and were able to experience the six different workshops our state team created. Topics for each of the workshops varied from learning about FFA basics to how members wear proper Official Dress. Grace and I’s workshop was “Mapping the Path to Success!” Members scavenged around the room, hunting down tokens to discover and learn more about S.M.A.R.T goals! Goal setting may not sound like the most exciting topic in the world, but when you put Grace and I together in a workshop room, it’s like putting Mountain Dew (Grace) and energy that comes out of nowhere (Me) together. What does that equal? A workshop with excessive energy you will probably never forget!

Whenever I hear Jump Around come on, I get wild. Well, Grace and I created a closing tradition where everyone would jump out of their seats when they heard that song. The song Jump Around and middle school members is the perfect formula for craziness, excitement, and...FUN!

Besides learning about FFA in general at FIRE, times like bouncing off the walls to Jump Around are moments when we get a chance to create the formula for our FFA Family. Stepping out of our comfort zone can be hard for many, including myself as a middle school member. But having the courage to be ourselves, regardless of how silly we might look during something as fun as dancing, allows us to have fun, make new friends, and have an awesome opportunity that we will never forget.

As the 600 plus members experienced jumping out of our workshop room with other students they probably never knew before the conference started, I challenge you to attend an FFA event this year that you have never attended before and make the most out of it. How will you write the formula for your FFA Family?

In less than a month, Wisconsin FFA is hosting the 212/360 Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Here is another great opportunity to have fun, develop your personal skills, and continue to build your FFA Family.

I cannot wait to see you at an event in the near future! We are one big FFA Family and want you to be a part of it! Jump Around a little and I bet you will never leave!

Keep jumping and see you soon!
And We're Off to See the Wizard!
Oct. 18, 2019
Katie Loehrke - Secretary
Weyauwega-Fremont FFA Chapter
Section 8

My goodness, I have put quite a few miles on in the past month! I have gone all across Wisconsin, to some of the awesome chapters in Section 8, and much more! I have met so many people that have made such an impact on my life. Whether it was the crazy dancers I got to boogie with at the Sectional Leadership Workshops or the amazing students that decided to spend their Saturday with the state officers at a FIRE Conference, everyone I have met has been such an important part of my FFA adventure. It is a great experience to be able to see so many different people from all over come together to have fun and develop skills they will use the rest of their lives!

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,
The 2019-2020 Officer Team Is...
Oct. 17, 2019
Cortney Zimmerman - Vice President
Spencer FFA Chapter
Section 7

When you want to be a State Officers there is A LOT that they don’t tell you about. As a chapter member we see these officers at SLWs, FIRE, EDGE/212/360, chapter visits, banquets, Farm Forum and a few other activities. What you don’t see us doing however is the biggest part of our job. If you see us at one chapter visit you may not realize we do about 25 more of those across the section. You may not see the many nights that we stay up hours on end getting barely any sleep or the hundreds of emails that we respond to throughout the year.
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.
Forever grateful,
Daniel Clark State Vice President
We each have very busy schedules
Oct. 09, 2019
Olivia Lulich - Reporter
Mauston FFA Chapter
Section 6

We each have very busy schedules. Many of us are busy with sports, FFA, music, family, school, and many more activities that we do daily. Sometimes we get into the habit of day in and day out of doing the same thing. Our routines can be constant and can sometimes take over our lives. With this, we tend to build up stress, frustration, and exhaustion. So how do we deal with our busy lives without feeling overwhelmed?

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.

Signing Off,

Jared Mack
Wisconsin Association of FFA State Secretary
Start Your Engines!
Oct. 04, 2019
Brooks Lueck - Vice President
Wisconsin Heights FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hey everyone!

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
It's a Sonny Day in Paradise
Oct. 02, 2019
Kendra Jentz - Treasurer
River Ridge FFA Chapter
Section 4

What a crazy few weeks! The state officers just finished Sectional Leadership Workshops and are about to begin FIRE conferences. But before we get to that, we had the chance to experience World Dairy Expo held right here in Wisconsin.

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,
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