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The Country Today

Sally Albers - Vice President
Sauk Prairie FFA Chapter - Section 6
salbers@wisconsinffa.org
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?
Softball
What is your favorite Color?
Blue and orange
What college will you be attending and what is your major?
UW-River Falls, Agricultural Education
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

~Sally
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

~Sally
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

~Sally
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

~Sally
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

~Sally
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

~Sally
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

Sally
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: https://www.facebook.com/sectionsixwisconsinffa
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
Promotion!
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.
Appreciate!
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!
ENERGY!
Jul. 08, 2014
Wow what a week the Wisconsin State Officer team had at the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO)! Not only did we get to meet lots of new friends, but we also had the opportunity to become closer as a team. Our team showed up all of the other states by winning both the first blackout pig that was awarded, but we also won the blackout pig for the entire week.

For those of you who don’t know what the blackout pig is, it’s a black piggy bank that was handed out at NLCSO to the most energetic and spirited State Officer Team. Winning the pig first and for the overall week means that this year is going to be full of energy and excitement! Be prepared to get loud and have lots of fun with our spirited team!

After spending the fourth of July with our families, my teammates and I were together again in Tomah and Matt’s house. We spent lots of time preparing for upcoming events this fall, and we also got the opportunity to tour Matt’s family’s grain farm. It was very interesting to learn all about their business, and see all that a grain farm entails.

This week I am getting ready for the Sauk County Fair where I will be showing two of my pigs. I am very excited to showcase my SAE project and get to see other FFA members doing the same! Good luck to everyone participating at fairs this summer! Keep up the energy Wisconsin FFA!

"The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

~ Sally
Time to Learn
Jun. 30, 2014
The past couple weeks my teammates and I have been off and running with both the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE) Professional Development Conference as well as our Blast Off Training Conference. Both of these have been extremely helpful in learning how we can best serve you. This week my teammates and I are together again, as we join state officer teams from the surrounding states for the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO).

At the WAAE conference we learned all about Team Ag Ed and the many supporters the Wisconsin Association of FFA has. It was also a time to get to know each other and several of your Agricultural Instructors as well. We are so fortunate in Wisconsin to have so many strong supporters, and did you know we have the largest FFA Alumni in the nation? That’s pretty awesome!

As we transitioned from the WAAE conference to Blast Off, my teammates and I went from learning about the supporters of Team Ag Ed to learning about each other and how we can support one another. By discussing our strengths, we learned new ways to work together and better serve all of you. I can’t wait to put all of our hard work into action!

Speaking of action, during Blast Off we finalized our theme for the year…”Target Success. Take Action.” I can’t wait to see each of you target your desired personal success and take the action you need to achieve it!

As this week continues, I look forward to developing bonds with state officers from the surrounding states, continuing to grow as a team, and learning new and better ways that I can serve each of you. I hope you all have a great week!

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” ~ Pablo Picasso

~ Sally Albers
A New Bell
Jun. 24, 2014
Hey Wisconsin FFA! I am ecstatic to be able to serve as this year's section 6 State FFA Officer! I will be serving as one of the five Vice Presidents.

I grew up near my family's cash crop farm, and eventually moved onto the farm. I have since moved off the farm, but my ties still remain. My freshman year I started a Swine Entrepreneurship that has consisted of 4 to 8 pigs a year. I also work with beef cattle as a placement SAE. I have shown both steers and pigs at the Sauk County Fair, and this year I will be showing pigs again.

When I first joined the Sauk Prairie FFA chapter in eighth grade I was very driven to get involved. My FFA jacket was something special to me and it reminded me of all I wanted to accomplish and all I wanted to do for others. When I got my jacket, my advisor gave me a little bell to put in my inside jacket pocket. The concept of the bell was an idea that Matt Anderson, a past state FFA officer, had and its purpose was to remind you every time you put the jacket on what it meant to you. For me the bell represented everything my jacket and I had been through, my goals for the future, and the FFA “brand." It reminded me to be respectful, honest, and to put others first.

Receiving my brand new Wisconsin Association jacket was a very exciting moment, but when I took off my Sauk Prairie jacket that had been with me through everything, I heard the bell ring that I'd heard so many times before. The bell reminded me of many fun and exciting memories, and by getting that Association jacket I had reached one of the goals that bell had stood for.

Now when I wear my Wisconsin Association jacket a new bell rings. This bell reminds me of my goals for this upcoming year and all of the people that I have the opportunity to serve. But my new bell also reminds me that there is another bell in another jacket with so many memories and goals that helped get me here today. It's not about the bell, but instead what it represents. We all have something that can serve as a bell for us, we just have to find it.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve this year and get to know so many of you. I can't wait to hear my new bell ring so many more times, and I encourage each of you to find something that can be your own bell.

"Think when the bells do chime, 'tis angels' music." - George Herbert

~Sally Albers
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