Thursday, May 30, 2013

Listen to the Little Things

Today was a simple, happy day.

Have you ever had one of those good days? Today was filled with little lessons for my life that I just have to share!

My day started by helping out with my high school's yearbook. The final step in getting the yearbook ready each year is trekking around the community and asking businesses if they would like to renew their ads in the yearbook. Each business donates a certain amount of money to us in exchange for a small blurp about their business in our yearbook. Well, today was that day! It was a great reminder that our communities care about the accomplishments and work we do as students. Hillary Clinton once said, "It takes a village to raise a child," and there is no doubt she was talking about each of our individual hometowns. I love knowing that as I head off to college, I have a support system back home that I can rely on when I am going to need it.

Later in the day, I went about 15 minutes east to New Ulm with my mom to run some errands. As I was waiting for my turn to get my haircut at one of the local salons while my mom was shopping in Wal-Mart, I couldn't help but watch a couple of children get their own haircut. After they were done, the lady who cut their hair asked if they wanted a sucker. The littlest boy, probably around three years old, didn't hesitate at all to grab a delicious treat! I started to think to myself about all of the times I have been offered a small gift from somebody, and proceeded to have a debate inside my head on whether I should accept it or not. I know I'm not the only person to ever think about it, but why do we do this?

Sometimes, we get so caught up in looking polite that we forget to be genuine. Children are the most genuine people I know. They say what is on their mind exactly when it is on their mind, and they know what they want when they want it. Children are so innocent, and maybe that is why we love them so much. After today, I'm going to strive to think more simple like a child. Deciding whether you want to have a pop that your friend offered you isn't necessarily a dire life situation, it's a simple question that requires a simple answer on your mind.

My day was simple, yet filled with a little adventure. It's a little weird to think selling ads for yearbook and watching a little boy accept a sucker would have life lessons, but it really is the simplest things that have the biggest impact. Stop and observe the world around you, there is always something happening.

Oh, and don't forget! Listen to the little things.

Stationed by the Flag,
Brandon Roiger

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: A Sophomore Star!

Name: Renee Hebig
Chapter: Upsala FFA
Favorite Color: Green
Fun Fact: Renee milks dairy goats!

Renee got her start in the Upsala FFA chapter right away in the seventh grade, after her advisor, Mrs. Schleper, asked Renee if she wanted to try creed speaking. Renee gave it a try and has stuck with FFA ever since then. Her drawing factor to FFA was a family tie from her brother, who was also in FFA. She was also lured in by all of the people she has met and how much fun chapter members had attending different FFA events.

As an Upsala member, Renee has been involved in several different Career Development Events such as dairy cattle evaluation, creed speaking, prepared public speaking, horse judging, and novice parliamentary procedure. Very fitting to all of the CDEs that Renee has been involved in, she also has the duty of being Upsala’s “CDE Coordinator.” In this position, she recruits members and students from her school onto different CDEs in which they would do well. One of her ultimate goals as the coordinator is to have enough teams qualify to take a bus to state convention. Renee has been a chapter officer for two years and even as a young member, has attended both SGLC and SLCCL leadership conferences. She has also already been to state convention for three different trips!

As a result of all these activities, Renee has had a unique experience. She loves meeting new people, and being a part of an agricultural organization where she continues to learn. FFA has helped Renee, just like past members of the week, gain those vital skills of public speaking. As a leader in her chapter, Renee has been able to guide and teach the Upsala FFA members the things that she has learned. Renee didn’t realize it until she was in FFA, but she discovered that a lot of people had a passion for agriculture just like she did.

But Renee doesn’t just say, Renee does. She has been a part of numerous media interviews that have informed the community about what Upsala FFA is up to. During FFA week, Renee and her chapter participate in activities with students in the school in order to advocate and advertise for their FFA chapter. Upsala’s chapter even has a petting zoo, where they bring in animals and inform children about the children and answer any questions they might have about the animals.

Even though Renee is just a sophomore and has time to change her mind about the future, she plans to attend Central Lakes College in Staples or Brainerd for a degree in Farm Business Management. When she is finished with college, she wants to return home to help her dad run the dairy goat operation. Renee plans on having 250 milking dairy goats and own enough cropland so that they won’t have to buy their own hay or feed. 

Renee received a silver rating as an individual in dairy cattle evaluation during state convention in April, and her novice parliamentary procedure team received 8th place! Today (May 29th, 2013), Renee is actually hoping to become elected as the 2013-2014 Upsala FFA President or Vice President. Good luck to Renee in her future endeavors and congratulations on being selected as FFA member of the week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Still Growing As A Member and Officer

Name: Logan Milligan 
Chapter: New York Mills FFA 
Favorite Color: Red 
Fun Fact: Logan is 6’10!

Logan was always drawn to the organization of FFA, but didn’t really join on his own accord. Even though Logan wasn’t old enough to join in 7th grade, he was able to witness the New York Mills chapter officers growing as a result of being a member. He always thought that the officers looked like they were having a blast being a part of activities such as FFA Week, State Convention, and National Convention. Logan got started on his own when his advisor at that time approached him, after hearing that Logan showed livestock and lived on a farm, and basically gave him a “lecture” on the opportunities available to him as an FFA member. Logan gave it a try for a couple of weeks, discovered the diversity of the organization, and he never looked back.

Logan has become super involved at the chapter level, and he is now becoming more involved at the region and state level as well. For his chapter, he has been an Ag in the Classroom presenter for three years and has also helped to coordinate an FFA Booth for the community’s trade show.

Logan took on an even larger role than he expected though this year when his advisor resigned in December, and the officer team started to have a loss of interest in FFA. Logan eventually decided that FFA was important to his school and took on the role as an “advisor” until his school could find a new teacher. Logan registered for CDE contests, sent documents to the state FFA staff, and took charge of many other normal FFA advisor duties.

Logan was also a part of the state nominating committee at the Minnesota FFA Convention, which selects the state officers for the next year. As a result of the process, Logan has gained several new friendships and furthered his communication skills. Logan believes that the experiences he gained on the nominating committee are some memories he will never forget. In the next couple of years, Logan definitely has high hopes of running for a region officer position next year and eventually even seeking a state officer position.

 Logan has obviously done a lot for FFA, but FFA has also given him a lot. He loves the people that he meets and has gained a ton of personal growth. After becoming involved in FFA, Logan has experienced growth in giving speeches and presentations. Before, Logan would turn red and stutter in front of a crowd, but now he has gained experiences that have helped him to overcome those nervous habits. He believes little pieces of personal growth such as this have added up and shaped him into a well-balanced person!

Logan will only be a junior in high school next year, but he already has a VERY bright future. He will serve his chapter as the president for the 2013-14 school year, and Region I’s officer-at-large. Right now, Logan would like to attend North Dakota State University for a degree in agricultural education or agronomy.

Logan continues to be a prime example of how agricultural education benefits students and, he will continue to grow as both an FFA member and officer at the chapter and region level. Congratulations Logan on your selection as FFA Member of the Week!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Passion for Success & Growth

Name: Sam Johnson
Chapter: Glenville FFA
Grade: Junior
Favorite Color: Neon Green
Fun Fact: Sam was the first Glenville FFA member to compete at the National FFA Convention in 2012.

Sam started out in FFA after both of his siblings were in FFA during high school, as well as many generations of his family. Sam described joined FFA, as “kind of a family thing!” Of course, Sam was drawn to the organization by reasons other than his family.

Sam wanted to be a part of the organization because a lot of the members share the same passion for agriculture as him. Sam wanted to meet new people through FFA and make a difference in the lives of other FFA members and community members.

By being an officer and attending numerous leadership days, Sam is exhibiting leadership in his chapter. Sam was the Glenville FFA Historian as a sophomore and is currently giving back to his chapter as the Glenville FFA Vice President. He has been both to state and national convention, as well at State Leadership Conference for Chapter Leaders and played a role in various committees.

Sam also recognizes the leadership potential in his fellow chapter members and has been one of the top two fruit sales fundraisers for the last two years in his chapter, striving to build up the chapter funds so that costs are low for members to attend FFA events. He also recognizes the importance of community and has played a big role in the Glenville FFA Corn Drive in order to gain support from the community for the agricultural education program in Glenville.

A perfect model of personal growth and passion as a result of FFA, Sam loves meeting new people and making relationships that will last for a lifetime. He’s grown into a better public speaker and is now able to be more outgoing. FFA has literally changed him as a person and given him leadership skills that he will use for a lifetime. 

Sam has used these skills by taking on leadership roles for his chapter’s Teach Ag Day. He has also done some volunteer work through his chapter working at a homeless shelter in St. Paul, organizing food for the residents at the center.

Sam’s current plan for the future is to major in agricultural education and agricultural business with minors in international studies and international business. With this post secondary education, Sam is looking to become an ag teacher or an international grain merchandiser.

Congratulations to Sam Johnson, the newest addition to the FFA members of the week! Sam’s dedication to his chapter has made Glenville FFA a true success. Good luck to Sam as he begins his year as the Region VII Vice President!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: Living by the Motto

Name: Jenna Schyma
FFA Chapter: Foley
Year in School: Senior
Favorite Color: Blue
Fun Fact: Jenna is a country girl at heart and FFA has helped her embrace that.

Jenna first joined the Foley FFA chapter as a 10th grader because she thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Jenna was excited about meeting new people and trying new things that had a common theme of agriculture. Both FFA and agriculture have hit close to home for Jenna, her dad is currently a dairy farmer and he was in FFA as a student as well.

Besides being involved in CDE contests of horse judging, dairy cattle evaluation, and extemporaneous speaking, Jenna has also been an officer. This year, she is currently the Foley treasurer. Jenna enjoys her position on the team because she likes to keep financial records for her chapter. Jenna even took on the challenge of the chapter fruit sales fundraiser. She spent countless hours organizing the orders, handling money, and submitting the orders. Jenna is proud to say that she helped to established a new record in total fundraiser sales!

When asked what Jenna’s favorite part in the FFA was, Jenna simply said, “Helping the community and seeing improvements in our chapter.” One activity that sticks out when educating the community surrounding Foley about FFA and agricultural education is the barnyard at the Benton County Fair. Jenna believes it is a huge event for the community and always attracts a good crowd. Jenna and her fellow chapter members enjoy sharing their knowledge about farm animals with others.

One notable award that Jenna recently received at the 84th Minnesota FFA Convention was the Star in Agribusiness. Her SAE project started with her learning some basic horse training methods from a neighbor and then providing riding lessons to an autistic child. After witnessing the positive results in behavior from the client, Jenna looked further into hippotherapy and found a new career possibility that involved her passion for horses.

Jenna is currently using her academic and SAE interest in therapy to become a PATH International certified instructor, which means Jenna will become a registered instructor to give horseback riding lessons to children with special needs! She will do this at Sharadise Therapeutics which is where she is currently employed. 

Jenna is currently a senior in high school and plans to attend St. Cloud State University in the fall in order to begin a major of biomedical science in the pre-occupational therapy program. After finishing her program, she will attend either the University of Minnesota or St. Scholastica in Duluth for grad school and get a masters in occupational therapy. As you can probably tell, Jenna has her future mapped out well, and there is no doubt FFA has helped to prepare Jenna for the future challenges she will embrace.

Jenna's FFA involvement is a perfect example of the FFA motto:

Congratulations Jenna on your hard work and commitment to the Foley FFA chapter, agricultural education, and community service.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

FFA Member of the Week: +1 Chapter Member Challenge

Name: ???
FFA Chapter: ???
Grade in School: ???
Favorite Color: ???
Fun Fact: ???

This FFA member of the week is different than the weeks of previous. This FFA member reflects in the member challenge issued by Minnesota FFA advisor, Mr. Larson, at the 84th annual Minnesota FFA Convention. Currently, the membership in Minnesota FFA chapters is at 9,833 members. If each chapter were able to recruit one additional member to their roster, the membership of the Minnesota FFA would surpass the 10,000 mark. So, this week’s FFA member is a “mystery member.”

This member represents thousands of students across Minnesota who have not yet joined and experienced FFA. This member is all of the students who will eventually join. Over 3,000 high school aged students attended the Minnesota FFA Convention this year, but how many more students were left at home? Think about all of the students in your own school that are not a student in the agricultural education program. 

These students, who might even be friends of yours, are missing out on all of the benefits offered through agricultural classroom instruction, FFA, and Supervised Agricultural Experience projects. We don’t have to tell you the benefits, because FFA members, followers, advisors, and supporters are aware of them. But, the people who aren’t involved are unaware of the benefits. Brainstorm your favorite activities through your FFA and share them with other students in your school who would benefit from these activities.

There are several hundred thousand students in the state of Minnesota and the same amount are potential FFA members. The challenge is almost as easy as pie: dare your friends to join the FFA if they are interested or dare them to try it even if they aren’t interested. Sometimes, all it takes is a little risk to discover a passion! All these potential members have to do is take the extra step.

WE DARE YOU to add one more member to YOUR FFA CHAPTER this year.