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National Convention Recaps

National Convention was just around the corner for us.  We left Tuesday night at 7:45. The competing bus left earlier that morning at 4:00 am. Our bus consisted of the following chapters from Region VI: Mt. Lake, MCW, and JCC.

Around 12(Eastern time) we arrived in Louisville, KY.  A lot of the members attending nationals said it was their first time experiencing nationals.  Snapping pictures here and there.  We stayed at the Holiday
Hourtzborne Hotel.  We left at 4:00 in the afternoon to go to Reflections for the night.  We had about an hour of down time so I visited the shopping mall.  I had the chance to talk to Chris Lilienthal-the Region VII Sentinel who is also a member of the National Choir.  All the sessions and reflections were held at Freedom Hall.  The band and choir performed for us and were very good. All the national officers performed a skit about the 75th anniversary and a time capsule that later at convention, the state associations would present things to put in the time capsule. After convention, I talked with Andy Klein-past state president and Suzie Rethemeir-past state treasurer.  It has been a long time since I've seen them and it was good to see them.  After reflections we headed back to our hotel for some food.  The competing bus of JCC and a few others ate together at TGI Fridays not too far from the hotel.  After we ate, we settled in and hope for another great day of convention.

The next day was the last day for the JCC members competing so we said a big good luck to them before they left.  The delegates' bus left for convention about 7:00 am.  The first general session was at 8:00 and all took part in.  There we witnessed the "Living the Legacy" Opening video, opening ceremony, presentation of flags, and the national FFA Chorus and band perform.  We had the opportunity to listen to Keynote Speaker- Dr. Lowell Catlett, Professor, New Mexico State University.  After the general session, some of us walked around the career fair picking up the free stuff and of COURSE visiting the U of M booth.  It's great going there because when you're visiting there, people you know just seem to walk by it.  Later that day, Mr. Condon, our JCC chaperone, Theresa Condon, and Tim Streiff took part in the workshop "Is it everything?"  There we learned how attitude, is it everything?"  We were confronted with issues dealing with attitude.  We picked up some helpful tips and techniques that we can to ensure that we have a great attitude.  The presenters for the workshop were 2003 WLC Staff -Sarah Swenson and Jon Sellenrick, and Andy Osten- past Nebraska State Officer. We left convention at 3:30 when all the competitors were done except for the Meats team because they were unfortunately an hour behind schedule.  Some of us went to Perkins to eat. We returned to our hotel and settled in once again.

This was the last day of convention for the delegate's bus.  Nationals is finally winding its way down to the end.  Today I walked around with Anne Bjerum and Angie Geesman, looking at the career fair and just walking around convention.  Along the way we spot many people we know.  We have lunch with Adam Stegemann, Jason Resch, Mark Flatgard, and Jeremiah Ackerman who are all getting their American Degrees Saturday morning.  I walk around until 4:00 getting in line for the Washington Leadership Conference Dinner Reunion.  The rest of the members went to the Jodee Messena and Joe Nickels concert for the entertainment for the night. I had such a great time at the reunion.  I met up with WLC staff leaders such as Marty Tatman, Kevin Richards, Juleah Tolosky, Carrie Harp, and Audrey Stockhoff.  I was so happy to see them again.  This totally made my day. At the National Leadership Dinner, Rick Henningfield welcomed us.  Jon Sellernrick said words of reflections.  We then ate dinner.  After dinner, Dustin Clark, National FFA Western Region Vice President spoke with us. Then William J. Nelson of CHS shared some words of wisdom to the members. He was originally from Minnesota.  The WLC Leadership Dinner has been changed from past years' instead of a keynote speaker, the WLC Staff decided to put on more like a experimental learning experience where the people from our table would be a team and accomplish tasks.  Since it was Halloween, we had Halloween activities to finish.  When we were done with each station, we were given a lil trick or treat bag that had part of what we were given in the end.

The puzzle stated, "Everyone has potential.  It is an infinite resource that cannot be exhausted, but can be lost in the clouds of fear and complacency.  It ma take courage to embrace the possibilities of your own potential. But once you've flown past the summit of your fears, nothing will seem impossible.  ­Michael Mckee. Every student received one before they left the Leadership Dinner.  Before the dinner was over, three members who attended WLC were chosen to talk about WLC.  I was one of the three.  It was great to speak in front my so many to share how I loved WLC and what you can benefit from it. I waited for the other members to get done with the concert. The delegates' bus left for MN around 7:30.  This was one of the best conventions I've ever been to.  I hope that everyone had a great time and had a learning experience as well.  Til next time, shoot for the moon and if you fail you'll still be amongst the starts. 

Jill DeJong~ Region VI Vice President


Today was the big day. We had planned for it, waited for it, and even stressed out about it. Today was the Region VI Greenhand Day and Chapter Officer Workshop. Both were held at the Alliance Church in Mountain Lake. We had over 250 members and advisors present. For those who don't know, Greenhand Day is a day put on for the freshman FFA members by the Region Officers, so they know who we are and they learn a little about FFA from people other than their advisors and other members. The Chapter Officer Workshop is a workshop for your Chapter Officers.

We had many guests and speakers present including past Region VI officer Jeff Buyck and past Minnesota FFA Officer Kristie Ploehn, giving a presentation to the chapter officers as a part of the Dream Team. This year's State President, Krystina Schultz, and this year's State Vice President, Eric Sawatzke, also joined us and gave a presentation about Minnesota FFA to both events.

The Region Officers were more involved with the Greenhand Day, than the Chapter Officer Workshop because there were 200 freshman. It was a lot of fun though. We played a game of Two Truths & A Lie, an awesome game of FFA Jeopardy, and we presented two Power Point presentations on the camps the State offers and on the Minnesota State Fair. Another important part of the Greenhand Day, were the Mini-CDE Sessions. Some chapters were asked to present a range of CDE's to the Greenhands, because many have never particpated in one. It was a great success!

In the Chapter Officer Workshop, we led a mixer/leadership activity where you interview someone new and make a collage about them. After making the collage, we had the officers talk to a group about the person they just met. We also sat in on some of the speakers and on the Dream Team presentation.

Overall, the day was a great experience, which relieved us because we were worried it wasn't going to work. And of course, remember it's Your Dream: Bring it to Life!

-Danielle Rogers, Reporter


For the past 4 days, we (your region officers) have been hard at work at the POWER/STAR conference at the Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington. You may be wondering what that is. POWER/STAR is Providing Officers With Essential Resources/State Training of our Agricultural Resources.

Mr. Appel, Anne, Nic, Jill, Amy, Erin and myself arrived on Saturday, a day early, since we were unable to have a retreat this year. We enjoyed a great supper and a night full of planning the year for you. We hope you all will enjoy what have planned for events such as Greenhand Day and COW (Chapter Officer Workshop).

On Sunday the girls enjoyed a trip to the mall and the team enjoyed some memorable bonding time. At 2:00 the conference officially started. We listened to a welcome from Kristyna Schultz, this year's Minnesota FFA Association President and Val Aarsvold the Executive Director for the Minnesota FFA Foundation. We were filled in on conference details by Mr. Olander from the Long Prairie FFA. We heard the Minnesota FFA Associations Goals, Missions and Vision. We listened to the State Officers talk about some Hot Topics and then got to eat a delicious meal of pizza. We then had Round Table Discussions and Reports. And finally we had Jeff Nelson, 2001-2002 MN FFA Association President, and Beth Lauwagie, last year's Vice President and this year's MN National Officer Candidate, give a presentation on "Presentations with Power."

Monday came at 7:30 the next morning and we were joined by two more of our Region Officers Kyle and Ann. Bobbielee was unable to attend the event. Anne spent the day in a 75th Anniversary Meeting and a Board Meeting, planning the year from a State Officer point of view. The rest of us were sent on tours to Bailey's Nursery, Harvest States Tortilla Plant and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. We also fit lunch in at the good ol' Old Country Buffet. That evening we boarded the river boat Betsey Northrup and enjoyed a dinner cruise down the Mississippi River. As an officer team we played some memorable table fun and had a great time. We arrived back to the hotel and most of the team ended up watching a movie most of the night.

Today we once again woke up bright and early. We were served an All American Breakfast and heard many speakers including Theresa Bachmeir from Cenix, Tony Straquadine from the conference sponsor Alliance Pipeline, Robin Kinney from MN Farm Bureau and Ron Eustice from the MN Beef Association. We also heard Deputy Commissioner of the Agriculture Department, Sharon Clark during dinner. Mr. Ertl wrapped up the conference and we were off. The van ride home was a bunch of fun and we can't wait to get together again.

The conference was a great success and we hope to bring all we experienced and learned to you guys, our region. Remember it's Your Dream: Bring It To Life!

--Danielle Rogers, Reporter