FFA Officers: Travel Blog
Priorities range from watching a particular weekly show on television, sports practices, watching nerve-wracking football games, and working many hours at a job, but my high school questioned on the first day of freshmen year, “What will you do after high school?” Even though it was frightening then and still is now, they then asked a follow-up question, “What will you do to get there?” That was a little less intimating because coming from a large high school of approximately 1,200 students there were many diverse opportunities to take advantage of such as the drama club to honor societies to golf – quite a variety to get involved in. Now, whether you come from a large or small school, you still have opportunities that are right in front of you, will you take advantage of them?
All of these opportunities in high school we should be thankful for because it helps us getting into wherever we will go in life, whether it’s in the agriculture industry or a different career, the opportunity of FFA has surely benefited me, my state officer teammates, and over 20,000 other Wisconsin FFA members. During this holiday season, I challenge you to write down your priorities and write what you most enjoy about it. If you realize you are not enjoying life to the fullest right now, make a change. How can you continue to RISE UP to the challenge and STAND OUT from the crowd?
And with a blink of an eye, chapter visits are coming to a close for many of us on the team. Two days ago, I wrapped up my last full day chapter visit of the year and was not the happiest camper seeing them go by so fast. If I could, I would go to every chapter and spend a whole day with them again!
As I reflect on the 29 chapters I visited in the past three months, I started making a list of projects members are doing throughout this year. One that hit the list was called the “December Kindness Project.” Members at Green Bay Lombardi Middle School created a list of 29 different acts of kindness that members in their chapter can do this upcoming month. They are required to do at least ten of them to receive a reward however, everyone has to keep track of how many they accomplish on their own. As goes for me and maybe yourself, I would not be able to remember how many I did without writing it down. To receive the prize, they have to simply tell Ms. Zimmerman, their advisor, they completed at least 10 acts of kindness and they receive a candy bar. For many middle school students, they will do whatever it takes to get candy and you’re probably thinking just like I was, how do you know if someone is lying? You see, it could be easy for anyone to lie and say they completed ten acts of kindness but that ruins the point of the project. Doing simple acts of kindness should not be something you have to keep track of but rather something you lost track of.
Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, what better time to start your small acts of kindness? We all have so much to be thankful for this year and I know this would be a great way to start the holiday season. With kindness brings happiness and happiness brings moments you will not forget, similar to what I experienced during my chapter visits. Each visit was different but one thing stayed the same. Everyone was so welcoming and kind.
If you would like to participate in the “December Kindness Project,” you can find a list of ideas to do within the next month on my officer profile page! I know this project will make a difference throughout our state with as many motivated members that are out there and want to make a difference in their community.
It simply amazes me to see all of the different classrooms everyone has. I explored an impressive aquaculture set-up in Oconto Falls, and I got to meet many cute critters in Winneconne. I have also seen so many other extraordinary set-ups along the way. Besides meeting the students, members, and advisors, my favorite part of travelling these miles has been seeing how different all of the schools are. I mean going from Bowler to Oshkosh, there is a dramatic change but in an awesome way!
It is so cool to know that even though we come from such diverse backgrounds, we can come together to learn about agriculture and have a ton of fun in the FFA. I am very lucky to be able to serve so many unique people who gather together in one terrific organization. As Thanksgiving approaches, and I reflect on what I am thankful for, the FFA is towards the top of that list. However, the people that make up the organization definitely are number one. Thank you all for being wonderful!
We will catch you later Wisconsin FFA… I gotta go to another visit!
Daniel Clark Wisconsin FFA State Vice President
After my visit in Lodi, I made my way back home. There was just one problem: the ferry was closed. This meant I had to drive around the lake which is about 20 more minutes. The ice had gotten too thick and the ferry closed for the season. The ferry runs 24/7 and is only closed in the winter months. It literally never stops until it is forced too.
Many of us are like the ferry. Even when we have obstacles in the way we keep on going. The only time that we stop is when we are forced too. Honestly, being forced to stop sometimes in our tasks isn’t a bad thing. If the ferry kept going, it would get frozen in ice and would break down. If we keep on going, we’ll get exhausted and lose our focus. So, what does this mean? Be like the Merrimac Ferry. Keep chugging away until your forced to take a break, then use that break to refuel yourself and wait until you can keep on pushing once again.
Wisconsin Association of FFA State Secretary
212/360 was just the other day and if you guys didn’t know we celebrated my team mate Michelle’s birthday. It wasn’t her actual birthday but since we wouldn’t be together for her real birthday, on November 21st, we decided to make some cake and celebrate!! I talked to some of my other teammates and we got her birthday present and cake ready for the big reveal because of course this was all a surprise for Michelle.
We love celebrating birthdays on our team because it means we can all hang out and eat some pretty kickin' cake together! We’ve also celebrated our president, Collin’s, birthday at our Checkpoint #2 leadership training in Marshfield. We went out to dinner at a mexican restaurant and he got to wear this obnoxiously big, super fun, sombrero. Our national facilitator, Gracie Furnish, had her birthday around the same time as well so she wore a sweet sombrero and the whole team and the staff all sang happy birthday to Collin and Gracie.
I spent my birthday in Arcadia where I did my first practice facilitation with a class at the Arcadia High School. If I’m going to be honest with you all, it did not go well. I wasn’t feeling the best about myself at the time and I had a lot of questions about if I was really the right person for the job. But my teammates can always be counted on to make a rough day better. We all went to the Weltziens house where they had made taco’s for my birthday dinner! I wore a birthday hat and walked through the line while Collin made up a plate for me. We played games, went for a walk, hung out, and laughed a LOT! The power of celebration made my rough day so so much better.
Everybody loves to celebrate right? whether it’s birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or just for no reason at all (that one is my favorite). But our national facilitator, Gracie Furnish, told us all something and she says it often “never stop celebrating each other” and I absolutely love that quote. I will always remember her saying that. At first I didn’t really understand what that meant or the importance of it but throughout our year there are times that we don’t see our team for awhile because we are working on our own for those weeks and the short times that we get together it is so much fun to celebrate. So no matter who you are or who your friends are, celebrate them. Celebrate the good times, the bad times and more importantly the times in between.
Every time I visit a new chapter one of the questions that I get asked very often is, “what is your favorite part of being a state officer?” At first my mind goes a thousand different directions because I love every part of it. But I can easily narrow it down to one thing in the end. It’s meeting members. Meeting FFA members has been the highlight of being a state officer for me this year. I love meeting members at conferences and at various events, but my favorite place to meet them is at chapter visits. It’s at these chapter visits that I get to witness these members be the most authentic version of themselves. And let me tell you… I’m here for it. But the funny thing is, at the beginning of the year after being elected as a state officer, chapter visits were what I was most scared for. Naturally, I have always been intimidated by people my own age. And for no logical reason, for that matter. So as you may guess, chapter visits were super intimidating to me at the start. However, I have learned very quickly that there is no reason to be. Every chapter has welcomed me with open arms and a great attitude, and I feel like I have a huge family that stretches across the state now.
If I were not in the role that I am right now, I never would have put myself in front of high school and middle school students. But I am so glad that I have. This experience has taught me to just do the things that scare me and live with no fear. You never know what you could be missing if you sit on the sidelines. My challenge to you, is if there is something that scares you and you think that you won’t be good at it, Just Do It. You won’t regret it.
Until next time,
Whew! What a start to the month of November! It has been a brisk couple of weeks with a few brief snowstorms. Mother Nature has been quite unpredictable this year to say the least. Despite these unfortunate turn of events, work is still being done, crops and deer are being harvested, and the 92nd National FFA Convention is in the rear-view mirror. These can be some long and exhausting weeks, especially when it is cold outside.
Perhaps the biggest upside during the winter months for us back home is to catch up on small projects on the farm. After a busy harvest season, it is nice to hang low and let life slow down. Whether it’s fixing a feeder that has been deteriorating, performing some equipment maintenance, making purchasing decisions for the upcoming planting season or making small improvements to the operation, the winter months can be a great time to catch up on our to-do list. These are the things that make the operation run more efficiently and ultimately sets us up for future success.
So, while it's cold outside, take this time to catch up on small projects in your life. These could include cleaning your room, preparing for that Leadership Development Event or applying for that FFA proficiency or scholarship. Taking time to get ahead on these projects now will save a lot of time and stress in the future. Then, when the weather turns around, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running!
With chapter visits winding down, that only means colder weather. Make sure to bundle up and take time to recuperate. As the rest of fall unfolds, don’t be afraid to contact at me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-863-6402 if you’re looking for someone to chew the fat with.
At the start of the week, Ryan and I went to Menomine to pick up Ben Styer, one of our national delegates at convention. Ben lives on a dairy farm with a 60 head rotary parlor. Ryan was mesmerized when he stepped out of his truck and it was obvious he needed a tour of the operation. My favorite part was, of course, the calves! I am a sucker for all and any livestock. Kaden Styer, Ben’s cousin, joined us later on for the tour and informed us about the crops that the farm harvests each year.
After the tour, Ryan, Ben, and I left Menomonie and drove to Marshfield, Wisconsin to spend the night. We had an early morning the next day. 4am came quicker than anybody could have imagined. We spent the day traveling to Indianapolis on the bus. Most of us were fast asleep, but I utilized this time to be able to work on homework and other miscellaneous things for FFA.
The first couple of days at National Convention were spent in committee meetings. The state officers and delegates discussed what we could do to leave our legacy, continue to make FFA more inclusive, and progress in the right direction. Let me tell you, within these meetings, Parliamentary Procedure was not always respected. Nevertheless, I know that the recommendations that were submitted are and will continue to make FFA an amazing organization for everyone to be apart of.
The thing that will be engraved in my mind forever is being able to see the sea of blue jackets once again. This national organization is made up of 700,170 members. I am just one of those people. In Luke O’Leary’s retiring address he mentioned that everyone is different, and what unites us is our FFA jackets. We are all unique and that is okay. Out of the 700,170 members within FFA, we all have our own experiences and that is who makes us who we are. Be you and be proud of it.
Until Next Time,