Florida FFA invites you to join us at the first annual Firetower Run-AMuck on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center at 5000 Firetower Road, near near Haines City. A timed 5K walk/run encompasses portions of scenic Firetower Road and through the LTC property along the shores of Lake Pierce. Challenging obstacles and a lot of mud, hay bales and water make the afternoon mud run a personal challenge. We are anticipating over 1,000 entries for this first-time event so go online and register now to hold your spot!
All proceeds benefit the Florida FFA Foundation and over 16,000 FFA members across the state.
The 5k Walk/Run starts at 9 a.m. and will be followed by an optional spaghetti lunch available at 11 a.m.
The afternoon event, a three-mile mud run obstacle course, will begin at 2 p.m.
All registered participants will receive a free Firetower Run-A-Muck T-shirt. The public is invited to register as individuals or five-member teams. Business and individual sponsorships are available with appropriate recognition for their support. Click here for a sponsor card.
For sponsorship information contact Gary Bartley at the Florida FFA Foundation 863-439-7332 x 6321 or
email@example.com. To register go to active.com and search for Firetower Run-A-Muck. You can also view more information at floridaffafoundation.org/firetower_run-a-muck.htm and here.
Register now and don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the first annual Florida FFA Firetower Run-A-Muck!
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Krista Basore (Class V) and her AMAZING auctions committee raised over $20,000 at the meeting! William Womack (Class VIII) put together a great (though hot) golf tournament! The Youth Leadership Institute was a rousing success through the efforts of all the hard work and dedication of that committee and Staci Braswell (Class VIII) and Tony Lopez (Class VIII) hosted a STELLAR hospitality room! For those that weren't there, you missed out! For those that were, thank you for a wonderful weekend! Everyone mark your calendars for August 8th-10th, 2014!
We are very appreciative of the WLI alumni who have step up and take on leadership roles that impact Dr. Carter in a very direct way. Laurie Hurner (Class VII) just finished her term as chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication's Advisory Council and Mary Hartney (Class VIII) is stepping up in the vice chairman role. Thank you ladies for utilizing your leadership on behalf of UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication!
Highlights of the Alumni Meeting
Congratulations to the Regional Directors! Clay Archey (Class VII), Jennifer Helms-Shelley (Class VIII), Lisa Ferguson Lochridge (Class VII), Stephen Basore (Class VI), Ila Levin Locke (Class VI), Ray Royce (Class VII), Amanda Taylor (Class VIII) and Todd Lawrence (Class II). Laurie Hurner (Class VII) is missing from the photo.
Congratulations to Christy Windham Chiarelli for receiving the 2013 Honorary Director Award for her support and dedication to the program!
Congratulations to Richard W. Schwab (Class VI) for receiving the Farm Credit Leadership Award!
Congratulations to Halsey Beshears (Class V) on receiving the Burl Long Award! Burl would be very proud!
Congratulations to Tracy Duda Chapman (Class III) on being honored as this year's Eugene Trotter Leadership Award recipient!
Alumni in the News
Congrats to "Fumigation Guru" Sean Brantley (Class VII). He's the vice president of Emory Brantley & Sons Termite and Pest Control and was featured not only on the cover of the August 2013 edition of Pest Pro--there's a great story on page 14, too!
Mark Wheeler (Class III) graces the cover of the August edition of Farmer and Rancher. Mark is not only a leader in the citrus industry, but is heavily involved in the community as well. Read all about Mark on page 32 and 33!
Shane Platt (Class II) and Kissimmee Park Properties LLC, in St. Cloud, were recently honored with the Florida Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award. The award is given in recognition of environmentally innovative farming practices of the state’s growers and ranchers. Congrats!
Kissimmee Park Properties’ goal has been to protect the ranch as both an economic source and as a sustainable wildlife habitat and ecological component to the region. The ranch has been under the same family ownership for 135 years and operates a 250 head cow-calf operation. The ranch has always operated in an environmentally and economically sound method to ensure the natural environment can be passed on to the family’s sixth generation of ranchers. Kissimmee Park Properties recognizes both the economic and ecological value of a well-run cattle operation – and represents Florida cattlemen well.
Shane will be recognized at the Florida Farm Bureau’s Convention at the Commissioner Ag Environmental Leadership Breakfast on October 25 at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra.
Congratulations to Laurie Hurner (Class VII) on her new job as the UF/IFAS Citrus Extension Agent in Highlands County! We know she's going to do great things! Here's a fabulous article about Laurie.
Nancy McDonald (Class III) received Florida Nursery Growers and Landscapers' most prestigious honor--the Wendell Butler Award at their annual meeting in June. Here is the link for the speech Nancy gave in receiving the Wendell E. Bell Award. Get your hankies out--it's a wonderful heart-felt speech from a great WLI alumni! CONGRATULATIONS NANCY!
Congratulations also to Jennifer Helms-Shelley (Class VIII) for receiving the 2013 FNGLA Young Nursery Professional award. WLI alumni will be well represented at the FNGLA's annual meeting!
Jamie Hall, Class V, of Walnut Hill, Florida passed away Sunday, March 10 from a massive heart attack. Jamie was 43 years old. He served as the chair of UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Council and was also a member of the Farm Bureau board of directors in Escambia County. As a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Program, he was a very active member in the agriculture community and was doing what we all had been taught to do -- get involved and make a difference.
He was a district forester for Resource Management Service LLC and owned Hall Purebred Angus Farms. He graduated from Auburn University and was a proud War Eagle.
He leaves behind his widow Blaire and two children, Tucker and Capri.
There are three ways you can honor Jamie’s memory:
- If you have not paid your annual dues, please do so. The Alumni Association Board, through the assistance fund, recently granted $1,500 each to Tucker's and Capri's college savings plans. That assistance fund is made available by your alumni dues.
- We have established a college savings plan each for Tucker and Capri. It will be a number of years before these young children will have that opportunity. When that time arrives, they will be able to do so, and will know the love and generosity we all felt for Jaime, through these plans. Simply fill out this coupon and mail it along with your check to Blaire Hall. Blaire will write in the account number for each child and forward it on the Florida College Savings Plan program. Blaire's mailing address is: 3220 Highway 164, Walnut Hill, FL 32568.
- If you would to honor Jamie's name and his memory though supporting the Jamie Hall Scholarship Fund at the Florida FFA Foundation, you may donate through this link.
Dr. Gene Trotter Inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame
|Alumni from all classes were in attendance at the Hall of Fame ceremony and reception given in Dr. Trotter's honor.
To view a photo gallery of the reception, click here.
Click here to download high-resolution gallery photos suitable for printing; however, this high resolution download page and link will be removed within a matter of weeks. From the download page you can choose to download and save individual images or they can all be downloaded at once by saving the "archive.zip" file from atop the file list to your computer.
The late Dr. Eugene E. Trotter was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in their annual banquet and ceremony at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on February 12, 2013. Dr. Trotter established the Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1992 at the University of Florida, which became the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2003. He served as director for 12 years and helped graduate many influential individuals who positively impact the future of Florida.
Dr. Trotter dedicated his life to agricultural education and to improving the leadership capacity of Florida agriculture. Raised on a farm in rural Illinois, Dr. Trotter had a passion for agriculture from the beginning.
After completing degrees from Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, Dr. Trotter directed the Agricultural Leadership Program at Michigan State University for 11 years. Dr. Trotter was then recruited by the University of Florida to establish a similar program.
In 2003 Trotter received the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award from the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leaders, the same award his mentee and current Executive Director for WLIANR, Dr. Hannah Carter, recently received. Dr. Trotter passed away after an illness in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Gale, their daughter, Dottie, and countless Wedgworth alumni who also considered him family.
Of Dr. Trotter, Carter said, “This is a great honor for him and his family for the outstanding work he did in setting up and directing the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The award is a testament to the impact this program has had on Florida agriculture.”
To view the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame webpage that chronicles his life, click here.
Dr. Hannah Carter receives the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award
Dr. Hannah Carter, director of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR), recently received the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award at the annual meeting of the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership (IAPAL) in Canandaigua, New York.
Dr. Carter was honored for her excellence in teaching, research and extension. The award also recognizes her mentorship and service through launching positive leadership trajectories and legacies for fortunate students, staff, colleagues and friends.
“[Carter] is highly respected by her peers in leadership development in this country and internationally and we are proud to recognize her talents and impacts with this prestigious award, “said Dr. Joe Waldrum, executive secretary for the IAPAL association.
Stephen Basore, a program graduate and president of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Alumni Association states “The investment Dr. Hannah Carter has made in the professional development of Wedgworth participants and alumni has made a huge difference in the quality of our experience in WLIANR and beyond.”
We congratulate Dr. Carter and the WLIANR as it’s a testament of her and the program's positive influences on issues affecting Florida agriculture.
More than 20 years of
growing agricultural leaders!
The Mason G. Smoak Foundation, named after an alumni of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute (Class V), was founded in 2008 after his tragic death. Mason Smoak had the rare spirit of lending a helping hand and impacting his community in positive ways. These exceptional characteristics live on through the Foundation, which is a faith-based organization that partners with nonprofits dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children, and will assist those who suddenly find themselves in need. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting education, preserving and protecting the environment and fostering opportunities for leadership development.
The Foundation hopes to raise support to meet the mission of the organization and continue to build an endowment, which will fund the Foundation for many years to come. Annual gifts to the Foundation will do just that, help to meet the needs of the community and establish a legacy which will have an impact well into the future.
The Leadership Circle of the Mason G. Smoak Foundation seeks to annually fund the programs and endowment of the Foundation. Through leadership level annual gifts, grants and scholarships will be awarded and the endowment will grow to continue funding the Foundation for years to come. Click here to learn how you can continue Mason’s efforts of making the world a better place.
Please mail your check with a notation somewhere that states your class (if applicable) and made payable to the Mason G. Smoak Foundation and mail to:
P.O. Box 1396
Winter Haven, FL 33882-1396
The mission of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Alumni Association:
To build and maintain a broad-based network of leaders committed to promoting Florida agriculture and natural resources and expanding the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The vision of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Alumni Association:
To be the premier networking association for agriculture and natural resource leaders in Florida.
For more information, please visit the main website of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute