by Kaija Kottke
FCCLA MN State Secretary
More than 7,000 nationwide members, advisers, alumni, and guests of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), gathered in Nashville, Tenn., July 7-11 for the 2013 National Leadership Conference and members of the Waconia Senior High FCCLA Chapter was among them.
This year’s student-originated theme for the annual national meeting was “Discover Your Voice.”
Throughout the five-day convention, participants examined and discussed several critical issues, including family, school and community violence prevention, physical as well as financial fitness, future career exploration and countless community service projects. A number of relevant youth issues, such as the changing roles of men and women in the home and workplace, leadership, and obesity prevention were also explored at the meeting through presentations, workshops, and youth sessions.
Waconia’s delegates will continue to work with other FCCLA members and advisers in Minnesota to encourage others to discover their strengths, motivate members to target career goals, and initiate a plan to ignite youth leadership in the community.
Each of Waconia’s participants participated in a wide range of leadership building activities.
Kaija Kottke, Minnesota FCCLA’s State Secretary, attended trainings called “Leadership Academy” which works on preparing participants for State Officer roles and a future in the workforce. Being a state officer, Kottke was given the role of running evening state meetings where the state officer team gave the Minnesota State delegation information of what was happening at the National Convention and ran fun activities to help bond the delegation.
Waconia members Trista Kottke, Baylie Willborg, Ashley Millerbernd, Amy Parkinson, and Jenna Saunders all attended daily FCCLA workshops which helped each of them to gain a stronger knowledge of FCCLA and learned ways to strengthen their leadership.
Out of the seven students attending the National Convention, six of the students competed in a STAR (Students Taking Action for Recognition) Event.
Trista Kottke, Minnesota State Peer Educator, competed in a STAR Event called Chapter Showcase Manual where she documented the Waconia FCCLA Chapter’s activities during the 2012-13 school year; she received a National Gold Award (1st Place) for her manual.
Willborg, Waconia FCCLA’s Treasurer displayed her passion for fashion by creating a six-look line and a sample of the line and presented a manual to a panel of judges in the Fashion Design STAR Event, where she received a National Silver (2nd Place) medal. Millerbernd, Parkinson, and Saunders took action against distracted driving by doing various activities throughout the school year to warn students at the Waconia High School about the dangers of distracting driving; they received a National Silver (2nd Place) Award.
Outside of the National Convention, the Waconia group had the chance to experience the tourist side of Nashville, Tennessee. As a Minnesota State Delegation, the group enjoyed a morning breakfast at the famous Hard Rock Café and then walked down the scenic sidewalks of downtown Nashville. Twice the Waconia girls attended the Grand Ole Opry where they got to see famous country music singers Carrie Underwood, Craig Morgan and Lee Brice.
This trip would have never been possible without the help of chaperones, Sue Hartwig, Waconia FCCLA Advisor, Tammy Kottke, mother of Kaija and Trista Kottke, and Jennifer Millerbernd, mother of Ashley Millerbernd.
Other highlights included:
• Over 3,600 students competed in STAR Events (Students Taking Action with Recognition) which are competitive events that build proficiency and achievement in leadership and job-related skills.
• A donation of $85,639.88 was presented to Share Our Strength from National FCCLA to fight childhood hunger. In addition, over $2,000 in school supplies was donated to the LP PENCIL Box
• Spotlight on Projects, where representatives from states share successful national, state, or chapter projects.