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The Country Today

Sally Albers - Vice President
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter - Section 6
What is your Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)?
Swine Production Entrepreneurship and Beef Production Placement
What is your favorite Agricultural Education Class?
Leadership and Group Dynamics
What is your favorite FFA Activity?
Speaking Contests and Tractor Pull Concession Stands
What is your favorite hobby or hobbies?
What is your favorite Color?
Blue and orange
What college will you be attending and what is your major?
UW-River Falls, Agricultural Education
Nov. 26, 2014
Those of us who were at the section 1 SLW probably remember Ethan’s speech surrounding Thomas Carlyle’s quote “No pressure, no diamonds.” Here is a link to a story of a girl who truly understands just what that quote really means:

Each of us can pressure ourselves to reach great things, but sometimes we need a little extra push from an outside source to truly reach our full potential. Now as FFA members we have several people that can help give us that push. We have friends, officers, teammates, other members, and often the ones with the biggest push, our advisors.

Advisors help us reach new heights everyday through simple acts such as encouraging us to try something new, or reminding us of the things that we are good at. Helping us try reaching our full potential is great and all, but sometimes what we also need is someone willing to catch us when we fall, just like in the attached video when Kayla’s coach catches her at the end of the race.

For those times when we work hard day in and day out and just can’t seem to reach the mark, our advisors are there to catch us and remind us to get back on our feet and keep trying. Each and every one of us needs someone in our lives to cheer us on when we succeed, but support us when we don’t.

FFA is full of people willing to do that for us, we just need to take the time to find them. Sometimes trusting is hard, but by trusting the people that support us, we can use that push to reach our full potential, and when we don’t reach it we have someone to catch us and tell us to get back up and keep running.

“Have you started already? Keep it up! Are you getting tired? Don't give up! Did you quit? You can do it again! Great accomplishments do not come with big steps; they come with little steps taken in regular installments! Do it and do it again and again!” ~ Israelmore Ayivor

~ Sally
Remaining Strong
Nov. 20, 2014
Asking for help…what a scary thought. So many of us can’t stand the idea of admitting that we need help and actually going to someone for it. But why is this so hard? We help others every day. It’s part of our motto, “Living to serve.” And in order for there to be people for us to help, there has to be someone brave enough to ask for it. So why do we struggle sometimes when we are the ones that need that help, rather than the ones to provide it?

There are times when we can’t do something on our own and we need help. So we need to be able to have the courage to ask for it. Asking for help is not a bad thing. In fact it’s actually a good thing. Knowing when you need help means that you are able to recognize when something is outside of your limits. This is a good thing! Good leaders are able to know when they can provide help, but also when they need it!

For example, how many times have we gotten confused in a store and didn’t know where something was. This problem has a simple fix, however most of us will spend several minutes wandering around the store hoping to find what we are looking for. Those are precious minutes that we could have spent productively, but instead they are wasted trying to accomplish something that could have taken just seconds. All we needed to do was ask.

We’ve all seen those people in the stores either wearing pins that say, “How may I assist you,” or actually coming up to us and asking. So why don’t we let them help? They’re more than willing. In fact they’re living out our motto of, “Living to Serve.”

So the next time you realize you’re reaching outside your boundaries, I want you to think about being brave and simply asking for that four letter word…”Help.”

“Ask for help, not because you’re weak, but because you want to remain strong.” ~Les Brown


P.S. How can I help you? This year I have the opportunity to serve Wisconsin FFA to the best of my abilities. And so in an effort to make sure that I am helping you all as much as possible, I want to reach out to you so asking for my help isn’t as scary. One way that I would like to be helpful is through my blogs. If you have any questions for me that you think I might be able to help with, send me an email. I will try to write a response either through my blog, so other chapters can benefit from it, or through an email if it is specific to your chapter.
"Go All Out"
Nov. 07, 2014
Go all out! So many of us heard these words several times this past week in Louisville, and Wisconsin FFA, we did a great job living them out! We had great energy all week and so many of our members and chapters were recognized for their hard work and success. But now that National Convention is over and the lights and loud music is done, how can we continue to go all out?

For some of us going all out may simply mean that we work hard in school, our extracurricular activities, and maybe even our SAEs. But I challenge you all to take it to a whole new level. Just because convention is over, doesn’t mean that we should go back to doing things just like we did before National Convention started.

I will admit in the past when I have gone to National Convention, I got super excited and inspired while I was there, but when I came back, everything went back to the way it was. I never took that excitement and inspiration back home with me like I should have. Don’t make this mistake like I did.

Now that you’re back work harder than you did before. Think about all of the ways that you can give back to your community and go all out actually doing it. Take all of the things you thought about doing at convention and actually do them.

If you don’t, nothing will ever change. You will not have the opportunity to “go all out,” and you will go back to National Convention in the same state that you did this year. So I encourage you to give that excitement from convention your all and use it to accomplish bigger and better things. This will propel you much further in the long run.

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” ~Og Mandino

Waiting for Excitement
Oct. 20, 2014
My how time flies! It seems like just yesterday we finished the Section 6 SLW, and here we are done with all three FIRE conferences and getting ready for National Convention. I have been so blessed to visit with some awesome chapters the past few weeks, and meet so many members. Wisconsin FFA is truly amazing!

As I am starting to get ready for National Convention, I think back to my freshmen year, when I was lucky enough to see my name on the list of people selected to go to National Convention. It was such an amazing experience from going on some cool tours to meeting so many new people; it was definitely a trip I’ll never forget.

I am sure there are several of us starting to get excited and maybe a little nervous to to go on that big trip. For many of us it may be our first time away from home for more than a day. For others it may be our first big FFA event. And for more we are just excited to see what’s out there.

I promise that if you put all your energy into what National Convention has to offer it will be one of the best experiences you will ever have. There may be some late nights and early mornings, but it’s all worth it. The final countdown is here. Only 7 days before the Convention finally starts! So as you continue to wait, let your excitement build, and get ready for the time of your life!

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” ~Andy Warhol

New Doors
Oct. 06, 2014
One door closes for another door to open. This past week we concluded the last Sectional Leadership Workshop ending with the best section ever of course…section 6! We had a very energetic SLW and I had a ton of fun. The week ended with a FIRE conference in Appleton.

Now that the SLW door has closed, a new door has opened…Chapter Visits! I did have the opportunity to visit with several of you at the beginning of September for my first chapter visits, but now it is Chapter Visit season so each of my days will be spent getting to know each chapter in Section 6. Today I have the opportunity to visit with the Wisconsin Dells FFA chapter.

I have really enjoyed watching each student learn in their own way. So far my favorite activity has been one where groups need to put different puzzles together. Everyone gets so frustrated trying to finish their puzzle firsts, and you can really see the wheels turning as the learning takes place.

While I am sad SLWs are done, I am even more excited to have the next month to get to know even more members and see so many more classrooms. It is so rewarding to see so many students struggling through activities only to realize the basic underlying message.

For those of you that I’ve been fortunate to work with, thanks for all the fun and help you’ve given me to make my activities better! I look forward to working with the rest of you as the month goes on!

As doors in your lives close, please remember to focus on the new door that will open up for you! Don’t miss these fun opportunities by focusing too much on the door that closed.

“When one door closes, another opens: but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

Risk Failure to Reach Success
Sep. 27, 2014
“Yeah I’ll do that.” I’m sure if I took a poll, over half us would say that we have at least once said something we were going to do, and never did it. I know I can think of a few things like this in my own life. But why is it that we don’t do it?

Why is it so easy to say we’re going to do something, but it’s so hard to actually follow through and do it? We often come up with excuses why we can’t do it, whether we’re too busy, not enough people are interested, or it simply won’t work for whatever reason.

While all of these excuses may be true, I think more often than not we don’t do it simply because we’re afraid of failing. But you see that fear is exactly the problem. By not following through, we really do fail. Michael Jordan said it best, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

When we think of Michael Jordan we think of the ultimate success story. But hearing that quote makes us realize that behind the success is so much more. He only became successful by failing in order to improve and allowing himself to constantly risk failure.

If Michael Jordan would have simply said he was going to play basketball and never followed through with it because he was afraid of failing, he would not be one of the most famous and successful basketball players of all times. By allowing himself to fail, he succeeded.

The same can be said for each of us. If we don’t follow through will automatically fail, but if we take a risk we allow ourselves to make mistakes that we can grow from, and reach success. As we continue on with our year, remember to always follow through and take risks in order to reach success!

“You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.” ~ C.G. Jung

Every Day Superheroes
Sep. 25, 2014
I have been tAGeED. Those four words seem so insignificant, but to me and so many others, they mean everything. Ag teachers have influenced hundreds of thousands of students across the country. I’m sure if each of us thinks back, we can all remember a time when our Ag teacher helped us through a challenge, encouraged us to step outside of our comfort zones, or cheered us on at a competition.

Ag teachers can be some of the most influential people out there. In fact, my Ag teacher reminded me today, that not only do they influence us through our four years of high school, but they continue to work with us after we graduate and as we continue on with our lives.

I can’t wait to be able to be like these every day superheros someday, when I become an Ag teacher myself. In honor of Teach Ag Day, I want us all to remember how important our Ag teachers really are. Think about how you show your appreciation to your Ag teacher. Do you do it enough? If not, let today be your day to step up and show that appreciation as much as you can.

If your Ag teacher has left a lasting impact on your life, please make sure you thank them! Remind them of just how awesome they really are. And if you want to make an impact someday, maybe becoming an Ag teacher is for you!

“The best part of teaching is that it matters. The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matter, every day.” ~Todd Whitaker

We Are Good Enough!
Sep. 20, 2014
Has anyone ever told you or made you feel like you’re not good enough? Sometimes it’s easy to listen, or give in and believe them. I know I’ve been there, and while it is easier, the truth is, they’re wrong. We are all good enough. We may need to put in lots of hard work and effort, but at the end of the day, if we try hard enough we will be good enough.

One group of FFA members was able to prove how good they were. Everyone seemed to think that they were not going to be good enough at the Quiz Bowl contest. They even started believing it themselves, but they continued to practice, and ended up winning at the district level.

That was all they needed to regain their confidence. They continued to practice and ended up competing at State Convention, where they did quite well. By working hard, and gaining enough confidence to believe in themselves they were able to show just how good they actually were.

Just like that team, each and every one of us is good enough, we just need to gain enough confidence to believe in ourselves. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Stay positive and forever believe in yourself!

As we continue on with the second week of SLWs, I want everyone to give everything their all, and go into SLWs knowing that we are all good enough and that the workshops we attend will continue to help us be more amazing!

“And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.” ~Isaac Asimov

Get Ready!
Sep. 14, 2014
What time is it?…SLW time! And if you were thinking summertime you might be on the right track! Get ready for FFA’s High School Musical as SLW season starts! I am so excited to have the opportunity to meet all of you and get the opportunity to work together!

As FFA members and chapter officers we have the opportunity to work together and make our chapters shine. As we set goals for our chapters in order to target success, SLWs will give us tools we need to take action to accomplish those goals. This means that SLWs are all about action.

We can accomplish a lot no matter what position we may be. Everyone is important in FFA, and the next three weeks we will be learning about how we can do this. As we all work together to reach our goals we can target our success and take action! So FFA members go all out because it’s time for SLWs, so 3…2…1…ACTION!

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.” ~Babe Ruth

Using Our Tools
Sep. 02, 2014
This past weekend I had the opportunity to pick grapes for my step dad’s uncle. This was a new experience for me and it was a LOT of fun! There were several people there helping, and we quickly had to learn to work together as a team to make sure we were being as efficient as possible. For our group of grape pickers this meant pairing up and having each pair take a section of the vine that they were in charge of picking.

This made me think of FFA and all of the leadership skills we are taught through workshops, conferences, SAEs, and our Ag classes. While these give us the tools we will eventually need, we don’t often use them until a situation presents itself. Maybe for you that situation is on an officer team, or at a band practice, or maybe during a sporting event. Whatever it may be, FFA gives us the tools to be able to make it through any of these.

You may not always feel like a leader, but by having leadership qualities you can help lead in small ways. Sometimes coming up with a new idea, or agreeing with something great is all it takes to help lead others in the right direction. This may at times feel like being a follower, but sometimes followers are just good leaders helping the group get where it needs to go or helping someone else learn to lead.

I know each of us has a story of being either a good leader or a good follower. I would like to hear from some of you how you’ve used tools you’ve gained in FFA and applied it to a real-life situation. Please share these with me on the Section 6 Facebook page! I can’t wait to hear from you!

“Great leaders know when it’s time to lead, but also when it’s time to follow.” ~ Anonymous

Soon We'll Meet!
Aug. 25, 2014
The past week my teammates and I were at Jag Lake working together to set goals, correct workshops and speeches, and get ready to serve all of you this year. This was such an important time to make sure that we all know exactly how to best serve each of you.

As I think about having the opportunity to serve each of you, I get very excited for the school year to start! Sectional Leadership Workshops (SLWs) will be one of the first times my teammates and I get to meet all of you! Our theme for SLWs is “3...2...1...Action!” This fits right in with this years theme of “Target Success. Take Action.” SLWs will help teach us how we can take action within FFA to help us all reach our targeted success.

What an exciting year it will be! I can’t wait to meet all of you and hear about your FFA stories! If there’s ever anything I can help you will just let me know! And don’t forget...we’re all in this together!

“Everyone is special in their own way, we make each other strong, we’re not the same, we’re different in a good way. Together's where we belong, we're all in this together.” ~ High School Musical

~ Sally

P.S. Don’t forget to like the Section 6 Facebook page at:
Spread the Word!
Aug. 12, 2014
Hey Wisconsin FFA I hope you’re all having a great week so far! Last week was the end of State Fair and boy was it fun! From getting to teach people about vegetables to discussing grocery stores and food production, it was a great experience.

We often take for granted our knowledge of the agriculture industry, and it is very rewarding to be able to share our knowledge with others. We all have the ability to share our knowledge and our generation is very fortunate in that we have social media to help us share our messages. By simply sharing a post on Facebook, retweeting an impactful tweet, or posting our own message, we have the ability to reach a lot of people in a very small amount of time.

Whether you’re explaining how corn grows to a 4 year old, explaining what genetically modified organisms are to an adult, or something in between we can all help share key agricultural messages. Although we are all able to do this, sometimes it is difficult to discuss these things, and it may make us feel uncomfortable.

In order to help with this I will be attaching links of several good resources to the Section 6-Wisconsin FFA Facebook page, so everyone has easy access to tools that can help spread knowledge of the agriculture industry. These links include blogs, news articles and more to help you learn more about the agriculture industry and to help you understand how to better explain it to those who are unaware of some of the different aspects of the agricultural industry.

The most important thing State Fair taught me is that we need to know as much as we can about the agriculture industry, and we need to help spread that knowledge to everyone we can. I hope I can help drive you all to want to do the same!

“Sharing knowledge can seem like a burden to some, but on the contrary, it is a reflection of teamwork and leadership.” ~ Unknown

Together we can learn from each other and be a team to share the agriculture industry with those around us. This should not be a burden, but instead something we embrace and enjoy!
Have a great week and share your knowledge!

~ Sally
Jul. 31, 2014
Hey Wisconsin FFA! I hope you’re all having a great week!

This week I attended the National Institute on Cooperative Education (NICE) conference, which involved lots of learning about cooperatives. It was an amazing experience and it was lots of fun. A huge shout out to Carlie O’Donnell for winning the Youth Scholar award and to Emma Brost for being such a fun person to travel with and helping me learn more about cooperatives.

I am currently at State Fair where I will be working both in the Discovery Barnyard and at the Veggie Races. I encourage everyone to come check out these cool agricultural learning opportunities. Good luck to everyone showing at State Fair and their County Fairs!

This week I have another question on both the Facebook page and the Facebook group. I can’t wait to here all of the answers everyone comes up with!

As we think about this question, I would like all of us to think of the many ways that we promote agriculture to the public. State Fair offers so many opportunities for this to occur such as the Products Pavilion that showcases many different agricultural products, and the Discovery Barnyard where families can learn about several different animals and plants. What are ways that we personally promote agriculture, either as individuals or within our chapters?

I’d like to hear from you, so please take some time to go answer this question on Facebook as well, or send me an email with your answer!

I can’t wait to hear the many different ways that Wisconsin FFA is promoting Wisconsin Agriculture! Have a great week and continue to promote all the good things this great industry has to offer!

“Without promotion, something terrible happens... nothing!” ~ P. T. Barnum

~ Sally
Teamwork=Dreams Work
Jul. 22, 2014
One of my goals this year as a State Officer is to increase communication. I have created a Facebook group to provide a place for members to easily communicate with me and other members within section six. The group is called Wisconsin FFA Section Six, and I encourage each of you to ask to join it.

To encourage you to join, I posted a question on the page. Many of you have officer and committee retreats coming up, and you may be trying to come up with ideas to develop into a stronger team. The question I posted can help each of you brainstorm and share your ideas.

One activity I remember doing with a past officer team was a number game. Everyone was assigned a secret number and we had to organize ourselves in numerical order without talking. To make it more challenging, we were also blindfolded.

This is just one example of an activity that can develop teamwork, and I will have another listed on the Facebook group. Both of these activities can help your team develop, and there are several others. I encourage you to use activities such as these at your retreats to not only become stronger teams, but to also have a lot of fun and a few good laughs.

I hope each of you takes a little time this week to look at the Facebook group, and think about how you become stronger teams whether it be an officer team, committee, sports team, or any other team you may be a part of. Make this a week of teamwork!

"When you form a team, why do you try to form a team? Because teamwork builds trust and trust builds speed." ~ Russel Honore

~ Sally

P.S. The picture I included this week is of the Sauk Prairie FFA Officer team I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Using several team building activities we became a much stronger team.
Jul. 16, 2014
Time really does fly; I can’t believe July is already half done! This past week I have been busy with the Sauk County Fair. I was able to show two of my pigs, and offer a little help to the people showing cattle from my local chapter.

On Friday I had the opportunity to assist the Sauk County Fairest of the Fair award ribbons and trophies to the Dairy exhibitors. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the joy and excitement in the eyes of an award winner. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to see so many 4-H and FFA members show off their hard work through their projects.

In addition to showing, I was able to sell one of my pigs through the Meat Animal auction. Watching the auction is such a rewarding experience because we get the chance to see community support all around us.

As I was writing a thank you note to the business that purchased my pig, I thought about how much support I have received over the years. From family and friends to advisors and alumni members, I have had the support needed to get through any obstacle I could possibly face. Now it was time to show these people how much I appreciate their support.

As FFA members we are very fortunate to have a tremendous amount of support. This year the foundation raised over $500,000 to help support the many opportunities we as FFA members have. Wisconsin also has the largest FFA Alumni in the nation, and every one of those alumni members is here to support FFA members in any way they can.

We are truly blessed to have all of this support, and I encourage each of you to think of someone who has supported you in the past. Now I would like us all to take a little time this week to show our appreciation for this support. We can do this by sending a card, saying thank you, or even by paying it forward and offering support to someone else. Make this a week of appreciation!

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust

~ Sally

P.S. The picture attached to this is of Adam Field, an FFA member from Reedsburg. This was his creative way to go into the sale ring, since he couldn't take his pig in. Great creativity Adam!
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