by Samantha M., Age 14 , Grade 9, Edison High School, Edison, NEW JERSEY USA
FCCLA is an organization that focuses on the family and builds various skills including leadership and communication. Additionally, FCCLA members are very involved in their community through numerous service projects. Since this organization is extremely involved in leadership, there is a event during September in Washington D.C. that revolves around the leadership in our country. State officers from all over the nation, including the New Jersey State Executive Council, convened in the capital. The state officers whom are on the New Jersey SEC present were: Destiny Montgomery, Devanshi Shah, Anjuna Chakraverty, Adrian Wang, Kelsey Jacobson, Shyamala Subramanian, Sara Ajani, and Samantha Matson. When present there, they learned advocacy skills and met with senators to discuss Perkins funding and representation on the Career and Technical Education caucus. Overall, they felt like it was a very valuable experience where they were given the chance to advocate for FCCLA at a high level.
Throughout the conference, these advocacy skills were being developed through workshops. During much of the time there, the National Executive Council discussed and informed those present about how one should speak when meeting with a public official. Often when conversing with someone who has authority and power, students can feel nervous and unsure of themselves. However, there is no need to worry, because as long as you have passion for your cause, your message will come across.
Members from different states met their own state senators, and those for New Jersey were the staffers of Senator Booker and Senator Menendez. During these meetings, they spoke about the importance of the senator’s support of Perkins funding. The students also asked the senators to join the Career and Technical Education caucus, if they were not on it already.
Furthermore, members present participated in a teen RSA, Road Safety Assessment. They learned about unsafe driving practices and how they can be prevented by observing cars in the local area. Additionally, during the conference, officers were able to participate in a service project, “Bake for Good”, which was sponsored by King Arthur’s Flour. Students first made the bread dough and were next able to form it into shapes and rolls. All baked bread was sent to a soup kitchen in the D.C. area.
The conference was a huge success, there was over 120 members and advisers in attendance!