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FFA Officers: Travel Blog

December Archives

Halftime is Coming!!!
Dec. 31, 2019
Jared Mack - Secretary
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter
Section 6

Happy New Year’s from the state officer team and I! We hope this year is bright for you and your chapter. Currently the officer team is in Madison for a few days developing our workshops, reflections, skit, and Alumni Convention workshops. It has been a busy week, but a fun one! We’re at an interesting point in time; one year is ending, while the other is just beginning. For Wisconsin FFA, our year is just over the halfway point. That’s crazy! How are we already halfway done with this year?

So far at Halftime Workdays, the state officers have spent many hours developing, planning, and organizing the weekend. The weekend will be filled with two FFA members from each chapter and they will be exploring new FFA events, listening to speakers, and growing through leadership development. This was by far my favorite FFA Conference I ever went too. When I went to the Halftime Conference, I was a junior in high which was over four years ago. Now, I am excited to get to go back and help put on the conference with my fellow teammates.

While we were down in Madison for our work time, the state officers also had a little time to kick back and relax. What do state officers do to relax? Well, we go out to eat… A Lot! We ordered pizza, went to Buffalo Wild Wings, Chick-Fil-A, the Mall, and Monk’s. At night we also brought a Wii and had many “competitions” between each other. Our favorite game was Family Feud where the guys ended up winning over the girls 2-1. This game may have even caused a small Feud between some officers! We also built in time to watch the Badgers Football Team play in the Rose Bowl.

With FFA Week coming up, we also had a special media training session led by Jill Makovec. She showed us how to have successful interviews with newspapers, radio, and TV stations. Near the end of the lesson we practiced asking each other our own questions which got a little crazy!

The week had a lot of work for us all to accomplish, but it was all worth it. Work times can get a little dull at moments, but to make them fun the state officers added fun and made the most of the workdays. We cannot wait until next week when over 300 FFA members will be meeting in Stevens Point for the Halftime Conference. If you’re going, get ready because it’s going to be a rockin’ weekend!

Signing off,

Jared Mack
Wisconsin FFA State Secretary
enJOY being you
Dec. 21, 2019
Emily Sheehan - Sentinel
Parkview FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hey friends!!!

IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME Y’ALL!!! However you all celebrate this holiday season, I hope it was filled with family, friends, fun, food, games, smiles, and laughter. I celebrated this year with my family by my side. For those of you that don’t know, I have a really big family but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love getting together with all of them because it is just plain crazy all of the time! But crazy is our normal, from wrangling the 6 kids that are 5 and under to sit for a picture to trying to find space for all 19 of us to sleep over for an early morning Christmas!

This year was extra special though because we made new stockings for everyone! A few of my siblings had cute handmade stockings with fun pictures on them but the youngest ones never got those and since our family has grown so much so fast we finally decided it was time for new ones. My mom and my Aunt Kathy made 25 red and white stockings (a couple extra for when I get more nieces and nephews) and we brought them all to thanksgiving and decorated them with puffy paint! All 19 of us made a different stocking, some have Santa, reindeer, snowmen, elves, and anything else imaginable!

We were all given the same exact stockings and the same exact paint but all of our stockings turned out so differently. I was looking at everyone’s stocking trying to come up with what to put on my own. I was a little nervous because a lot of my siblings are way more artistically talented than me but then realized that it didn’t matter what they did because mine was going to be unique and personal to me. We often get caught comparing ourselves to other people whether that is family, friends, teammates, classmates, or even some random person you see at the store but you have to remember that it doesn’t matter what other people because you are writing your own story. While I was making my stocking ideas and doubt flooded into my head but in the end I ultimately decided to write “JOY” on mine with some snowflakes. When I look at my stocking which doesn’t look like anyone else's, it brings me joy because I know that I put my own hard work into making it. No matter the task at hand, when you are comparing yourself to others in your head remember the satisfaction that will come afterwards when you can look at the finished product as solely your own. No one can be YOU as well as YOU can.

With so much joy,
~Emily
Blink
Dec. 18, 2019
Grace Morrissey - Vice President
Shullsburg FFA Chapter
Section 4

As December is coming to a close, that means chapter visits are also coming to an end this year. When chapter visits first began back in October, it was hard to believe that I would ever get through them all. But in the blink of an eye we are all the way in December with few visits left.

I think about that concept often; blink of an eye. Usually when we use that phrase it can have a negative connotation. It can leave you feeling as if you have missed out on something important or that you will never be able to get that moment back in time. The most common time I would hear this phrase is when my family and friends that have already graduated from high school would give me advice.

They would say, “Make sure you get involved in everything! Before you know it, it will be over in the blink of an eye.”

To some extent, that is true. Most of the time life flies by and I am just here for the ride. However, in the blink of an eye I can change that. In one split second decision I can peel away from the status quo and do something different. I can make a difference. There is a quote by Meg Cabot that fits this ideal perfectly.

“Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Anything at all. One. Two. Three. Blink.”

In the blink of an eye I can finally do something that I have always wanted to do. Something that scares me. Something that inspires me. Something that will impact those around me. In the blink of an eye I can do anything. So instead of never blinking in fear of missing out, BLINK! Blink and make that decision you have always wanted to. Because after all, anything can happen.

So, let’s do it together. One. Two. Three. Blink.

Until next time,
Grace :)
Service is Never “Tiring”
Dec. 15, 2019
Curtis Weltzien - Treasurer
Arcadia FFA Chapter
Section 3

Wisconsin FFA,

You’ve got to love this time of year! Chapter visits are in the books, snow is on the ground, the holiday season in full swing, and winter sports are in action, it doesn’t get much better than this. Plus we have the NFL playoffs coming around the corner!
The other day, while we were waiting to meet up with Ryan and Lindsey for our carpool to travel to the Farm Bureau annual meeting, Collin and I were in Stockman’s Farm Supply shopping around. We were looking at different things, when a lady came up to us and said she has a challenge for us. She said, “There is a elderly man out in the parking lot having some difficulty changing a flat tire. Could you go and help him?” So, we checked out and ventured out to the scene.

When we get out to the car, we ran into a slight problem. The man’s jack had busted and the car fell off the jack. We couldn’t fit another jack underneath without lifting up the front end, and all we had to work with was a floor jack. Luckily enough, we knew Ryan and Lindsey were just on the other side of the highway waiting to meet us for the carpool. So, we gave them a call and as luck would have it, Ryan had a spare jack and we were able to use it to get the front end jacked back up. We slipped the spare tire on, tightened up the lug nuts, and before we long, we were all on our separate ways. The man was beyond grateful for our small act of service.

So what can we learn from this? Well, it goes to show that service doesn’t need to take a lot of time or energy. It doesn’t take much to make somebody’s day or lend a helping hand. Sometimes, all it takes is being in the right place at the right time. But it still takes the selfless courage to make the decision to step in. I’m sure glad we made the decision we did that day, and I have no doubts you’ll be feeling the same way the next time an opportunity to serve stumbles in front of you. After all, it is a magical time of year- what better time to start serving others?

Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy time spent with family and friends and eat lots of treats! Always know that I am available at ckweltzien@wisconsinffa.org or 608-863-6402 if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

Happy Holidays,
Curtis
The Only Direction is Up
Dec. 11, 2019
Lindsey Augustine - Vice President
Ellsworth FFA Chapter
Section 2

We are reaching the half-way point of our year of serving you and the state of Wisconsin. As the team and I spend one last training with past National FFA Officer, Gracie Furnish, we look back on all the things that we have done so far, as a team and individually.

One of the activities that we had done yesterday at our Checkpoint #2 training had to do with the legendary flipcharts that every state officer adores. The flipchart was titled, “Where are we going in the Future?” Our task was to take a marker and each one of us write down where we will be going/doing in the second half of the year in our state officer position. When we were finished scribbling down our thoughts on the flipchart, we gathered around to read what our fellow teammates had written.

Here are some of the things that we jotted down; banquets, chapter visits, Half-Time Conference, 212/EDGE, Leadership Development Events, Career Development Events, state convention, and so much more. But there is one thing that stuck out to me the most. Now, this was not something that someone had written, rather they drew it. It was a green arrow that was pointed up.

How can an up arrow be significant with where we are going in the future? Let me tell you what it symbolizes to me.

To me, the arrow symbolizes growth. You must start from somewhere and the only way that you can grow, “go upwards,” is to keep pushing yourself. If you do not challenge yourself to grow in a skill, you will never be able to develop those skills that you did not have before.

For example, four years ago, when I was a freshman in high school, I would not have been able to stand up in front of people and give a speech. Do you know what the number one phobia is in America? That’s right, public speaking. I had fit right in with that statistic. I was scared and anxious to talk to adults, teachers, and even my fellow classmates. That all changed when my advisor, Mrs. Christenson, told me that there was one more spot left on our parliamentary procedure team and that I would be joining it. I had no choice and the decision was made for me. I went through that year practicing before and after school with my teammates to bring me up to speed with this leadership development event. District contest came and we moved on to sectionals. After competing at sectionals, we realized that we were heading to the state competition. While at state we ended up on stage with a plaque.

My arrow started when I was voluntold that I would be on my chapter’s parliamentary procedure team. Would I have been able to do this before? Absolutely not. Each year I gained confidence in my speaking abilities and the things that I could do if I put my mind to it.
My arrow continues to skyrocket up to the clouds. You can always grow in your skills. Mastering a skill is hogwash. No one is perfect and improvement is always possible if that person is coachable. My public speaking abilities continue to grow on a daily basis and know that that is okay. Growth is great! It means that you are striving to better yourself and your abilities.

As we enter the second half of the school year, it is your turn to start your arrow. Grow in a skill that you want to develop and know that the only direction is up.

See ya on the flipside,
Lindsey
It All Starts With Conversation
Dec. 10, 2019
Ryan Erickson - Vice President
Barron FFA Chapter
Section 1

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of book.” This past week, I came to realize just how true that quote is. The State FFA Officer Team was privileged to be able to attend the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist (YFA) Conference which was held in conjunction with the centennial celebration for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. Wisconsin Farm Bureau has been a great supporter and partner for Wisconsin FFA and I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to congratulate the organization on 100 years of making a positive difference on Wisconsin Agriculture and wish them another successful 100 years!

This weekend’s conference was a great place to network with like-minded individuals that are equally excited to put their stamp on the future of agriculture. One way that Farm Bureau Members attempt to accomplish this is in their organization’s featured event, the Discussion Meet. 25 YFA Members and 6 Collegiate Farm Bureau Members qualified for this event and contributed to various conversations about current agricultural issues in front of an audience and a set of judges. Topics included improving food labeling practices, connecting producers with concerned or confused consumers, and adapting current practices to feed our growing world population. These were just a few of the topics discussed but all of the topics were real problems facing farmers or consumers every day. Every contestant in this competition came from a different background in agriculture so the conversations that were had were very thought provoking and productive.

Now that Farm Bureau members have found their way home to their farms, businesses, offices and communities, this will be the test to see if their discussions will truly make a difference. After personally observing five different rounds of discussion between these members, I have no doubt in my mind they will pass this test with flying colors. Each contestant was genuinely excited to bring the new ideas and perspectives they have developed back to their home county and make a difference. Because after all, discussions without action are like a tractor without wheels, it can still sound good, but it won’t ever turn over any soil or make a difference. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau has kept their wheels on and has been making a difference for 100 years now; and with the next generations of leaders that were showcased at this year’s YFA Conference, I believe the future of this organization is in good hands.

If the discussion meet competition sounds intriguing to any FFA Members reading this blog, you’re in luck! Wisconsin FFA’s leadership development events are just around the corner, including our own discussion meet competition. Please feel free to reach out to me at rerickson@wisconsinffa.org with any questions or concerns that you may have. I would be happy to help!

Have a good one!
~ Ryan
The Good Ole Days
Dec. 04, 2019
Collin Weltzien - President
Arcadia FFA Chapter
President

Hello Everybody,

And just like that, December is here! That means we’re nearing the halfway point of the FFA year. Are you kidding me?! The past 6 months have been amongst the busiest and the most memorable of my life. I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for the places I’ve been and most importantly, the people I’ve met throughout the year so far. As the busy fall winds down, the state officer team’s next adventure takes us to the Wisconsin Dells for the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this weekend and then off to Marshfield for Checkpoint #2 Training. The party never stops!

A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the Waupun FFA chapter. Since they have several agriculture teachers, they invited me to do a chapter visit along with Jared. The only thing was- I hadn’t facilitated a chapter visit in almost a year! I didn’t know if chapter visits were like riding a bike, but I did know there was only one way to find out!

So, I knocked the rust off, wrote some outlines, packed up the supplies crate, and, as it turned out, had an amazing chapter visit in Waupun! The students were outstanding, the activities went well, everyone stayed engaged, and I met plenty of new FFA members. For the icing on top of the cake, I had the privilege of attending the FFA Bowling Party and even getting to visit with the 6th Graders at the School for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (SAGES) in Fox Lake. It was a visit I will never forget! I thought to myself, “By golly Collin, you still got it!”

I traveled back to college following my visit to Waupun and as I sat in my dorm room that evening, I couldn’t help but smile about the last day and a half. But it wasn’t just the visit to Waupun that had me smiling. Add on the memory of my 27 chapter visits across Section 3 from last fall, and I was grinning from ear to ear. My chapter visit in Waupun reminded me just how much I love chapter visits. Clips from each one of my visits in the previous year started streaming through my mind. “Ahh, the good ole days”, I thought to myself.

Sometimes, all it takes is one event to take us back to our “glory days”- the lists of memories we made. If I was a betting man, I’d say someday you will be brought back to your “glory days” of FFA- the list of memories you made in the corduroy jacket. And I think you too will realize just how special those memories are.

But luckily for us, our “glory days” of FFA are right now! We’re right in the thick of things. We're making memories by the dozens! So, as the second half of the FFA year rumbles on, cherish those moments that will someday have you saying, “Ahh, the good ole days.”

See You Soon,
Collin
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