By Kylie Kinney
FCCLA State Peer Educator
Chapter leaders, regional and state officers from across the state attended Minnesota Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America’s (FCCLA) Dynamic Leadership Training II or November Summit leadership training on Nov. 3-4 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.
Youth representatives, community leaders, FCCLA members, National FCCLA president Elliot Johnson and National Vice-President of Competitive Events Skylar Borchardt all attended the conference, which focused on leadership, national FCCLA programs, chapter planning, and an emphasis on preventing youth violence. There was a strong highlight on starting a “chain reaction” to prevent bullying and make a difference in our homes, schools, and communities. The inspiration for starting this “chain reaction” came from Rachel’s Challenge.
Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim at Columbine High School’s horrible school shooting in 1999. Minnesota FCCLA’s state President Olivia Wicklund had the opportunity to attend a Rachel’s Challenge conference in June 2012.
She was enthused by Scott’s message of caring, compassion, love and its contribution to a safer world and learning environment.
A speaker from Rachel’s Challenge spoke at the November Summit conference. He spoke about Scott’s life and how dedicated she was to making a difference. In one example, he shared her written English paper that Scott wrote just a few months before she died. In it she said: “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
One of FCCLA’s national programs STOP (Students Taking On Prevention) the Violence stems from the general message of preventing youth violence. FCCLA uses peer education to help members learn, recognize, report, and ultimately reduce bullying behavior.
State Peer Educator Kylie Kinney from Waconia High School was one of the youth leaders that attended this November.
“I am so glad that I had the opportunity to go,” Kinney said. “Rachel’s Challenge was so inspirational, by the end of the training everyone was so impacted many even crying. I wish everyone from my chapter would have attended. Rachel’s Challenge really helps give you a different perspective, the way we live our lives has such a huge impact on the people around us. One person really can make a difference; you can start a ‘chain reaction.’ It seems pretty basic, but it’s revolutionary. A little bit of kindness can go a long way.”
After coming back from the Dynamic Leadership II Conference, Kinney wanted to be able to continue what she had learned. She and her partner, Cassia Brand, chose to compete in a STAR (Students Taking on Action with Recognition) event with their local chapter service project Operation Respect.
Operation Respect is a project that takes Senior High FCCLA members to the local elementary school to educate students on preventing bullying behaviors.
This year, WHS FCCLA members were involved with two other projects. There was a Kindness Campaign at Waconia High School, which involved high school students sending students “kindness cards” to encourage kindness throughout the school. Thanks to the help of Youth Frontiers, WHS FCCLA members were able to work with them to help unify the fourth grade before sending them off to middle school. This respect and team-building workshop is for the fourth grade classes from both elementary schools, with one receiving the training in January and the other is scheduled for May.
“I am very blessed to be able to use my knowledge and experiences from November Summit and that my partner and I were able to reach out to our school and community and make a difference,” Kinney said.