2016 State Officer reflects on all that FCCLA has meant, especially the National Conference involvement.
by Courtney Dinsmore
“As I reflect on this recent National FCCLA Conference event, going to National Leadership Conference was all about developing one’s self into the leader and person I know I can be. As a teenager on an adventure, it began with the airplane ride, but as a member it began with the opening general session.
The convention center was flooded in red as over 8,500 people made their way to the second floor pavilion. Walking through the pavilion was nothing but a maze of states. State Officers were standing up on chairs, holding the state flags, leading their state’s (songs) “rousers”. Each state announced their presence with their songs. It was unforgettable, and maybe even better than last year in Washington D.C.
As a past state officer, I stood in front of 1,800 members. The national officers stood in front of over 8,500, flawlessly reciting scripts full of announcements and awards. That alone was mind blowing to me. Members as a whole recited our creed with the national officers. We are many individuals on many different journeys, but we united as one on this week.
Josh Sharpp was our keynote speaker for the opening session. He captivated us for half an hour, offering us with three key takeaways to help motivate and inspire us throughout the week: you can get better or you can get bitter, a watermelon is 94% water and 3% away from being a cloud which is 97% water, and you need to deal with things before they deal with you. He really got me thinking and I have found ways to apply it to my own life now.
Competitive events were just that… Competitive. However, not competitive with other people but competitive with ourselves. Everyone wins in a way by just making it this far to nationals. The hotel reserved for competing is full of kids, pacing nervously in front of their event rooms and reciting their presentations. They want to do well for themselves, their schools, and their states. I received a bronze medal in the occupational category of Focus on Children. It is not exactly what I wanted to bring home, but I am proud to say I made it to nationals and did my best in the moment.
Presentations and workshops occurred throughout the day. We were able to pick and choose which to attend. This year I attended a few workshops, but I will only share two of them. The first one was with a group called Project Elevate. It started out with a concert to grab our attention and ended with many tears as we discussed suicide awareness and prevention. This opened my eyes. The second one was called Dance. It involved a discussion of our national program, Student Body, that focuses on our health. We learned dance routines to today’s hits; twirling, spinning, and tapping, proving that working out and being fit does not have to be agonizing.
Throughout the week, we met many people from all over the United States, along with the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We all related to other students with the same passions from across the country and learned about passions that maybe we ourselves did not share.
The closing session was as amazing as the opening session. However, it was sorrowful for the seniors at their last national conference. For all of us, FCCLA made us into who we are today. It is much like being a bird jumping out of the nest. We hold on to the people who became some of our best friends and role models. I am so thankful for the chance you gave me to spread my wings and fly as an individual and a leader.