COLUMNISTS

FFA members are truly living to serve

Casey Denk

As we celebrate the holiday season and start looking toward 2023 it is easy to get wound up in our busy holiday traditions and forget to step back and appreciate everything we accomplished this past year.

More than 700 Wisconsin FFA members were able to improve their leadership skills alongside their peers at the “I Am and Connect” Leadership Conferences this fall.

2022 was a benchmark year for Wisconsin FFA. We hit an all-time high membership including 23,190 FFA members and transitioned back to our traditional schedules as FFA members around the state gathered at leadership workshops, contests, conventions and conferences. Most importantly, our members are carrying on the traditions and legacy of Wisconsin FFA by working hard to continue improving themselves, their chapters and their communities.

As the state officer team continues to travel around the state, we have been impressed with FFA members' enthusiasm for giving back to their communities. We have been invited to community outreach events where we have been able to make blankets for families in need, sew pillows for police and fire departments and gather and deliver canned goods for food pantries, among other acts of service.

While attending these events, I always leave with a smile and a deep appreciation for the FFA members I have gotten to know during the past two years. FFA members are nothing short of amazing. Even during the holiday season they are finding new and thoughtful ways to enhance their communities and everyone around them!

The state officer team has experienced this firsthand while spending time with FFA members, advisors and alumni at many FFA events this year. Most recently, we were joined by more than 700 FFA members eager to learn  about leadership at this year’s “I Am and Connect” conferences in the Wisconsin Dells. FFA members took part in workshops during the day put on by National FFA Facilitators. We spent our evenings enjoying each other’s company while dancing, playing cards and competing in cornhole—we were living the dream! It was a great time had by so many and the conference would not have been the same without all the FFA members who attended.

It is hard to believe the FFA year is already half over, but FFA members are not looking for a reason to slow down now. As we move into the second half of our year, Wisconsin FFA is looking forward to where we are headed. The second half of our year is marked with leadership development events, career development events, banquets, statewide conferences and a multitude of chapter events that we cannot wait to attend. FFA members are always looking forward too—thinking of new ways to improve not only themselves, but everyone and everything around them. Their continued dedication is the result of the long-lasting support sprouting from the agricultural industry.

Plymouth FFA members assembled 60 Pillows of Hope that will be donated to the Plymouth Police and Fire Departments, Matthews Oncology, and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center.

Wisconsin agriculturists have continued to show up for our organization and members to help them find their passion within agriculture and FFA. They serve as judges for leadership development events, coach career development teams, volunteer to chaperone FFA activities, and most importantly, dedicate their time to our organization because they see promise within each of our members. Agriculturists are the backbone of our organization. They have been since 1928 and will continue to shape our members for years to come. The way agriculturists show up for our organization is the same way FFA members want to show up for our communities, making our future bright. 

As always, if you wish to learn more about what Wisconsin FFA members are doing to build their communities and strengthen agriculture or how you can be a part of that vision, visit www.wisconsinaged.org.

On behalf of the Wisconsin FFA, happy holidays! Thank you for continuing to show up for Wisconsin FFA and making all of our endeavors possible. 

Casey Denk

Casey Denk is the president of the Wisconsin FFA state officer team