Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Creed, Coaching, and Community

Name:  Mallory Pagel
FFA Chapter: Fulda FFA Chapter
Year in School: Senior
Favorite Color: Blue
Fun Fact: She loves to sing! She had the privilege to sing the national anthem at numerous basketball games this year.

With the Agriculture Teacher at Fulda High School being her very own dad, Mallory always knew that FFA would become a part of her future.  But after seeing her older sister learn, travel, succeed, and grow through the organization she knew she wanted to be an FFA member.  The idea of one day being able to put on her own FFA jacket filled her with excitement.

Mallory hit the ground running when she became an FFA member.  She went on to be a state champion in both the Creed Speaking CDE and the Poultry CDE!  Attending nearly every leadership conference that is available to MN FFA members and serving on the 2011 State Nominating Committee has helped her to become a true leader, inside and out.  Serving as both a Chapter and Region VI Officer put her skills to the test and helped her to grow.  Because of Mallory's dedication to FFA and involvement at many levels, she has learned how important it is to act as a connector and a coach.

This enthusiastic and passionate FFA member knows how important it is to have community support to help a chapter thrive.  She has been involved in establishing that connection since she first put the jacket on!  Whether it was landscaping at the senior citizens center and cleaning road ditches, or having a petting zoo for the community and putting together an FFA float and stand for the community festival--she has helped her chapter develop a strong relationship and gain appreciation from the community.

On a more personal level, Mallory thoroughly enjoys working with Greenhand FFA members.  She loves the excitement they have toward the unknown and their willingness to give something a chance.  Being that Mallory was a well-versed Creed Speaker, she took advantage of the opportunity to be a coach for the chapter's Creed Speaker this year.  This shows that she knows how important it is to act as a role model and to give that extra push to help someone achieve greatness.

Mallory has discovered her passions and let her talents shine through FFA.  She does what she can to bring this out in the FFA members she works with.  Living a purposeful life that is dedicated to supporting the agricultural industry is on the top of her to do list.  She will be attending the U of M-Twin Cities to pursue a degree in Agriculture.

Congrats to Mallory Pagel of the Fulda FFA Chapter on being this weeks FFA Member of the Week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Race to Convention!

NASCAR.  Dozens of cars, each with their own drivers and sponsor designs plastering the sides of the vehicles, that drive around the same track for hundreds of laps.  Spectators taking their stab at predicting the results and pit crews always on guard, preparing for those few moments when they are needed.  All competitors want the same cross the finish line first.

I'll be honest...I've never really understood NASCAR or found the same level of excitement that some do.  It's just a bunch of cars driving in a circle for hours and it's really only the last few laps that count, right?  Wrong.  It's not until I started comparing NASCAR to the race that preparing for convention has become, that I started to understand the enthusiasm behind it.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "Yeah right, she's crazy. FFA members don't get to drive hundreds of miles an hour and this organization is way more exciting than some spectator sport."  Well let's think about it...  At last year's state convention it is likely that thousands of FFA members took their places at the start line and  couldn't wait to get back to their chapters so they could start their race toward reaching the goals they just set for themselves.  For the past year, FFA members from across the state have been making laps around the track preparing for CDE competitions, finalizing proficiency applications, reciting speeches, and studying their FFA facts.  And just like in NASCAR, as we approach these final laps the excitement is building and the pressure is on!

Every second of every minute counts.  There may have been a few times throughout the year when our engines failed or we got a flat tire, but our pit crews--advisors, parents, teams, and classmates--have been there every step of the way for us as we work our way toward the finish line, and the proud sponsors that have made all of this possible will see the outcome of their investments.

So it's petal to the metal as we all race to the top because in just a few short days we will be raising the checkered flags.  All our drivers' hard work and dedication will be recognized as they cross the finish line and the spectators will be filled with pride and joy as they see their favorite competitors reach their goals.

The State Officer team hopes that you are as excited for the Daytona 500 of MN FFA as we are, because the 84th Annual MN State FFA Convention is upon us!  Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the race of your life!

Stationed by the Ear of Corn,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: A Member and a Mentor

Name: Kyla Mauk
FFA Chapter: Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA
Grade in School: 11th grade
Favorite Color:  Purple
Fun Fact:  She loves ALL country music--new and old!  Kyla especially loves Goerge Strait and Jason Aldean

One of Kyla's best friends was definitely looking out for her when she brought her to her first FFA meeting in the 8th grade.  From the moment the meeting concluded, Kyla knew that this organization she had just been introduced to would become a HUGE part of her life.  With more encouragement from her advisors and friends, she immersed herself in FFA and is always working toward reaching her full potential!

In addition to serving as a chapter officer, Kyla has recently been elected to be a member of the Region IV Officer team as Vice President.  She has also taken advantage of a variety of Career Developments.  Because of her hard work and dedication to FFA, she has been a part of 4 state winning teams including Novice Parliamentary, Ag Communications, Floriculture, and Food Science.  Additionally, she has been on the national winning Food Science team, placing 3rd individually.  Last year she also competed at nationals on the Floriculture team which placed 2nd.  Kyla has thoroughly enjoyed leadership development activities!  Especially the state leadership camps and Ag Policy Bootcamp.

While all of these accomplishments are important, the thing that makes Kyla unique is her genuine enthusiasm!  It is her enthusiasm for FFA that has helped her find success as well as make a positive impact on her chapter.

Kyla's welcoming nature and positive attitude is essential to bringing new members into the organization.  She makes younger members aware of the opportunities available and encourages them to "just try it!"  If she hadn't "just tried it," she would have never become the person that she is today.  Knowing that FFA can be a life changing organization, Kyla does everything she to welcome new people to new opportunities.

A mentor is someone that opens doors for other people, guides them in creating their path to success, and lends a friendly, helping hand without expecting anything in return.  Kyla has been a mentor to the members of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Chapter and has shown them that hard work, genuine passion, and self motivation are all it takes to accomplish something great.

In the future, Kyla looks forward to possibly attending South Dakota State University majoring in Agricultural Education or Dairy Science.

Congratulations to Kyla Mauk on being the MN FFA Member of the Week!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: FFA, Music, & Community

 Name: Rachel Shaffer
FFA Chapter: Leroy-Ostrander FFA
Year in School: Senior
Favorite Color: Red
Fun Fact: Rachel has been a vegetarian for over a year.

Although becoming a member in 7th grade, Rachel really became passionate about the organization in 9th grade when her team won Best Informed Greenhand.  The leadership the FFA officers provided in her high school drew her even closer to the organization, causing her to set a goal of one day becoming an officer, a goal she has reached as she is now the chapter President. 
Rachel is definitely exploring many of the opportunities FFA offers its members, competing in several CDEs, attending bother State Greenhand Leadership Camp and State Leadership Camp for Chapter Leaders, serving as an officer, and has played in both the State and National FFA Band.  She knows that the skills she has gained in each of these will serve her well in her future pursuits in Pharmacy.  Although her intended major is not directly related to Agriculture, she will stay connected to her love of agriculture through horses and by staying involved in her family’s beef and crop farm. 

The practical life skills and lessons that FFA teaches its members is Rachel’s favorite part of the organization.  She also really enjoys meeting so many people who share her passions, many of whom have become great friends.  She credits FFA with helping her to become a more confident person, ready to take on new challenges with a positive mindset.

Rachel’s advisor and alumni praises her incredible work ethic, citing the many hours Rachel has put in both before and after school to help make sure each of the chapter’s events goes smoothly.  Rachel has shown incredible dedication to making sure her chapter’s events are as effective as possible.  But her accomplishments don’t end at FFA activities, she is also focused on community service.  She has helped her chapter organize events like an Angel Tree and a Student-led Food Drive to benefit her community.  She also uses her musical talents not only in the FFA band on the State and National levels, but also to play for the elderly of her community and patients at hospitals.
“…she [Rachel] wants the community to excel and if that means extra work on FFA members parts, then she does it.”, wrote her advisor.   What a heart of service!

Please join me in congratulating this week’s FFA Member of the Week, Rachel Shaffer!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Giving Back

Name: Matt Garrels
FFA Chapter: Hutchinson FFA
Grade in School: 12th grade
Favorite Color:  Orange
Fun Fact:  When he was younger, Matt participated in pedal pulls and competed at both the state and the national level!

Matt was excited to take an agriculture class, Metals and Small Engines, but what he never anticipated was the additional bonus of becoming a member of the Hutchinson FFA Chapter as a result of it.  With some encouragement from his agriculture teacher, Matt became an active member and quickly found his niche.  Since joining, he has come to appreciate the concept of being involved as you want to be.  He recognizes that the amount of time and energy you invest in FFA is a direct effect on how much you will benefit from the organization.  Matt has gone from investing time into bettering himself to investing in the future of his chapter and the rest of it's members.

In addition to earning his MN State FFA Degree, Matt has attended numerous region and state leadership conferences.  He has also participated in a variety of competitions ranging from Agricultural Mechanics to Parliamentary Procedure, and from Agricultural Communications to Dairy Cattle Evaluation.  The time and effort dedicated to his SAEs has lead him to 1st in the region with his Dairy Production proficiency and 2nd with his Diversified Livestock proficiency.  Now Matt is using all the skills and talents gained from his
involvement to people other than himself.

Fundraising is an essential part of any successful chapter and Matt has served his chapter well in this aspect.  By utilizing his people skills and passion for FFA, Matt lead his officer team to new heights.  Because of his efforts, the chapter now has a scholarship program in place for it's members.  This scholarship program not only encourages more students to become involved, but it also awards high achieving members and prepares them for a future filled with success.

Also because of Matt's fundraising efforts, every member is now able to receive a chapter t-shirt for free.  By gaining sponsors through personal visits, newsletters, and other community awareness events, Matt has benefited the entire chapter.

Matt is giving of his time and talents and truly understands what it means to serve from the heart.  He has not only grown himself as a leader and friend to his FFA chapter, but he has dared to give back in a way that will keep on giving.

In the future he plans to get his Welding Degree so he can one day own his own welding or fabrication shop. And ultimately, he would like to have his own farm.

Congratulations to our newest FFA Member of the Week of the Hutchinson FFA Chapter, Matt Garrels!