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March 28, 2020

3/3/2020 10:08:00 AM
Dodgeville Kiwanis gives salute to National FFA Week, area FFA students join in Kiwanis luncheon
With this week paying tribute to National FFA week, the Kiwanis Club of Dodgeville had a big guest list at Monday's Kiwanis luncheon meeting.
The guest list included FFA students from Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Iowa-Grant, and River Valley, along with their advisors, representatives from Compeer Financial, and Wisconsin FFA President Collin Weltzien.
Weltzien was raised in Arcadia, is currently a junior at UW-River Falls majoring in Agribusiness, and has hopes of returning to his family farm upon graduation.
"Mr Jim Massey told me in his email, back in the fall, that it has been a tradition since 2003 that the state FFA President speaks at a Dodgeville Kiwanis meeting," Weltzien said. "I certainly am honored to be carrying on that tradition today."
He presented some state highlights for FFA membership with numbers showing:
-The membership number is 20,475 (last year's membership number), there are hopes to make the 21,000 mark once official school rosters are finalized.
-There are 253 chapters in the state of Wisconsin, which is half of the high schools in the state.
"We're also very excited that on the national level there are 700,100 FFA members," Weltzien said. "That was announced this past year at the national convention in Indianapolis."
About 3800 FFA members in the state of Wisconsin have attended a series of fall leadership conferences, with 2275 members attending sectional leadership workshops across the state.
On the docket right now are leadership development events, public speaking contests wrapping up now across the state. The top two contestants in each contest will move on to the sectional level come spring, as well as career development events taking place in March and April.
All of these are building blocks for the State FFA Convention, which will take place June 15-18 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
This year's theme for convention is "Rise Up, Stand Out."
"We'll be specifically hitting on that at our state convention, talking about how as FFA members we're given the challenge to rise up to the occasion, rise up to overcome obstacles as we take on the future of agriculture," Weltzien said. "FFA members are known to stand out above the rest with their skills they gain in leadership, professionalism, and communication throughout their FFA career."
Weltzien shared with Kiwanis members a special story of his childhood that directly related to the "rise up stand out" theme. He described himself as a good 10 year old kid, with a love for golf. He hadn't played golf on the course, but had practiced his swing in the front yard. His father warned him to use a plastic wiffle ball, instead of the official golf ball known today.
Being a typical curious boy, he wanted to know what it was like to use the real deal. Going against his father's wishes, he decided to give it a swing.
One thing led to another, and he was left with a cracked kitchen window. He built up the strength to tell his dad.
I love to use this story to teach a lesson about learning from past mistakes," Weltzien said.
A few years later however, a baseball found its way to the very same window broken a few years before. He again built up the courage to tell his dad.
"He gave me the same message," Weltzien said. "Things happen, you made a mistake. Let's learn from it, let's fix it, and let's not let it happen again. Things shatter in our communities. Things crack in our communities. Sometimes it's a big crack. Sometimes just a little crack in the corner that nobody even realizes exists. When those windows in our communities crack, we need people who say, let's learn from this and let's fix this. We need people who are willing to put in the work to make things right and to be the support system for the entire community to fall back on."
Before signing a book that was donated to the Dodgeville Public Library, Weltzien concluded his presentation with the following message.
"Thank you for having me here today. Thank you for your support of FFA and your community. May we always remember: it's not about how many windows get cracked, it's about how many cracked windows we fix."

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