As I sit down to write a Farewell Blog to say thank you to my friends of Florida DECA, I am overcome with so many powerful emotions. There are moments in life that are so incredible, they take your breath away. This is one of those moments. I sit here reflecting back on the year that I was given to represent Florida DECA as your President and I realize even more the endless possibilities this organization provides.
My experience as president has been, without question, the most amazing opportunity I have ever been faced with. If one were to ask me what has been the most amazing things I have learned this past year, it would have to be as follows. Our time here is limited, we have a finite amount of time to make our dreams a reality. Use every second you have to make a difference in the ways that matter. It is never acceptable to put off to tomorrow what you can do today. We must live lives that will contribute to the greater good while knowing that what we do each day is something to be proud of.
Florida DECA, I am proud of you. I have seen you come together to help better the lives of strangers through Helping Hands. I have felt the instant friendships that DECA creates and experienced the joy one has seeing a fellow DECA member place in their category. I have seen so many of your successes and I am looking forward to creating new memories with our members at the upcoming Florida DECA Career Development Conference.
I want to thank the Florida DECA members for their incredible support. I want to thank my advisors, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Byrd and Mrs. Smith, as well as my chapter for always being there. Without my family and friends of DECA, none of this would have ever been possible. Team 58, thank you for a year I will never forget.
With this years new push to increase membership in Florida DECA, one area to focus on is your Alumni members. Alumni members not only increase your chapter size, with a positive impact on competitive events allocation, but also give your chapter resources. Alumni members who have been involved with competitive events can serve as manual (5,11 or 30 page papers) editors or practice judges for mock competition. They can also provide suggestions to your members who will be competing. From ideas for projects to advice on how to prepare for your time in front of the judge, your alumni members have already experienced these circumstances and can provide a more personal input as to their proven methods of preparation. Alumni members also give your chapter a network for the students who wish to hear about the endless possibilities that DECA has provided outside of the classroom and a possibility for business or corporate relations depending on the circumstances.
Overall, the idea is to utilize your Alumni members in the most efficient ways possible, but also in a way in which you chapter can most benefit and that is unique to you. To gain alumni members, be sure to connect with your outgoing seniors prior to graduation and to establish a form of communication for them. One recommendation for this is to have a Facebook group where your members can join. You can also utilize online payment options so that your alumni members can pay their dues and donate to your chapter if they wish. To keep in contact with your members, a Facebook group is a great method but a chapter could also consider creating an online form where their outgoing members can signup to be an alumni member. In this form you could collect information that would be useful later such as when that member might be available for classroom presentation to current members or manual revision and even contact information that can ensure you are able to also stay in touch. Google Drive offers a free “Forms” solution that could be helpful to chapters. The Facebook group option is also a free tool that can help your chapter tremendously.
Preparing for an EPIC DECA Month
Chapter Officers, this blog is for you! At the time of publication, we are officially in October. Which, weather wise, for us in Florida that basically means nothing. But, in DECA world it means that next month, November, is DECA month! Which, is definitely my favorite month out of the year. (Yes, I know. I am a nerd!)
So, with DECA month being only a few weeks away, I thought it would be nice to talk a little about the things your chapter can do to prepare for DECA month and to share some tips for making it as much fun as it possibly can be.
So first, lets start with a basic questions: What is DECA month? The answer: DECA month occurs in November and gives the members of this amazing organization an opportunity to showcase their experiences, engage each other, and advocate for their chapters and the organization as a whole. In essence, November is basically a whole month where we get to showcase our love for DECA. So, from a chapter perspective, this is a great time to host events or socials that will not only encourage members to join, but also provide resources to the members that you currently have.
Also, your participation in DECA Month activities may satisfy some requirements for the Chapter Campaigns and/or the Florida DECA Annual Business Plan. A per the Florida DECA Annual Business plan, your chapters participation in three activities for DECA month can satisfy the “DECA Month” category under the Experienced Leaders section. Likewise, certain activities may also qualify for Chapter Campaigns completion. See the links below for additional details.
Here are my tips for getting started with the planning process for DECA month:
Title: Choosing your Competitive Event
Now that school is back in session and the #SummerofDECA has ended, it is time to start thinking about your DECA goals for this year. When it comes to competition there are over 50 different categories that you could potentially compete in. With so many options, how do you chose the one that will work the best for you? The answer is actually a pretty complex one that will involve a joint effort between you and your advisor. Here are some things to consider and resources to tap when picking the competition category/event that will work best for you:
Title: Social Media Tips for an EPIC year!
This past summer I attended DECA’s 2015 Emerging Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. where I had the opportunity to personally interact with the new Executive Officer team and meet other Chapter and Chartered Association officers. While I was there, DECA’s Communication Manager, Janelle Scudder, presented to members in attendance how they can make social media work for their chapters over the next year. Here are the top five things that I learned from Ms. Scudder about how to make the most out of your Social Media this upcoming year:
Sign-Up to be a Social Media Correspondent - This is the first step to becoming an published author on DECA Direct. On the sDECA Direct website any member, officer or advisor can sign-up to be a Social Media Correspondent. This allows you to post articles and content to the DECA Direct website. DECA highly recommends that all officers sign-up and submit content monthly. This year, for the first time ever, Florida DECA will also be encouraging our members to join the Florida DECA Social Media Correspondent Program. These are members who are nominated by their chapter advisor(s) to help publicize and promote our conference activities at the Florida DECA Emerging Leaders Summit and the Florida DECA Career Development Conference.
Plan your posts - Use the official DECA Content Calendar to help your officer team plan your posts. Don’t forget to add Summer of DECA, DECA month, Career and Technical Education Month and Global Entrepreneurship Week, just to name a few, to your Content Calendar. Also, be sure to communicate with your officer team and know who will be responsible for posting which articles. This will help your officer team to make the largest impact possible!
Keep it Trendy! - Use hashtags, request for your followers to tag others (or like your content) and utilize relevant, trending topics that will grab the readers attention. The internet is a graphic medium, use trending photographs or campaigns to encourage potential readers to click the link to view your content. Remember that having a catchy title is important!
Be Consistent - As a general rule of thumb, social media is most powerful when content is posted at least once a day for four days out of the week. As a part of planning your posts, also plan when your content will be posted. Check for consistency that will maintain your connection and presence in the social media world.
Re-share and Promote DECA’s Posts and Articles - You can drive readers to content you post on DECA Direct, as well as other DECA content, by re-sharing and promoting DECA’s posts on your own social media pages.
Official DECA Content Calendar: http://www.decadirect.org/ELS%20Content%20Calendar(1).pdf
Sign up to be a DECA Social Media Correspondent: http://www.decadirect.org/Social-Media-Corespondent/
Florida DECA Social Media Correspondent: (See attached file - needs approval, let me know if anything needs to be changed or adjusted.)
Social Media Guide: http://www.slideshare.net/jjscudderdeca/content-is-king-creating-a-content-calendar-for-your-deca-chapterassociation?ref=http://www.decadirect.org/June-2015/Keeping-Your-Chapter-Associations-Social-Media-Pages-Fresh-All-Year-Long/
Florida DECA, welcome to Summer 2015! As members around the state are enjoying the down time, your Florida officers are working hard to ensure that this upcoming year will be the most EPIC ever! Today, I want to share with you some tips on preparing to make next year EPIC by achieving a THRIVE level chapter. THRIVE level chapters can earn both recognition and allocations for the International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Chapter advisors and officers, this blog is for you!
Here are my suggestions for achieving a THRIVE level chapter and earning recognition at ICDC:
1. Do your research - Look into the details and specifics of the EPIC Chapter Campaigns on the DECA website (You can find a link/document embedded below). Take notes and think about which activities your chapter may already complete.
2. Use your time wisely - The summer vacation is roughly 10 weeks, depending on your particular school district, and presents an excellent opportunity for your chapter officers to plan ahead. Be sure to have meetings as a team throughout the summer.
3. Set a goal - Take a look at the Chapter Campaign document and figure out which of the activities your chapter wants to work to qualify for.
4. Make a Plan - Some of the campaigns ask that your chapter increases membership and others ask for your chapter to host a Community Service activity, for example. Some are more involved than others so be sure to allow yourself enough time to adequately execute the activity.
5. Watch out for Deadlines - The chapter campaigns have different deadlines. The Membership, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Promotional and Community Service campaigns are all due on December 1st, 2015. The Promotional and Community Service campaigns must be completed from the beginning of your school year through DECA month. Global Entrepreneurship Week activities can only be completed from November 16th-23rd, 2015. The Advocacy campaigns are not due until March 1st, 2015 but must be completed during the month of February. Keep these specific deadlines in mind when you are planning how your chapter will achieve this recognition.
When the deadlines for the Chapter Campaigns near, check the DECA website (deca.org) for details on how to submit your campaign details. Be sure that your campaigns are submitted by the deadlines!
Read more: click here
Florida DECA, it’s time to be EPIC!
The close of the 2015 International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida ushered in a new theme for DECA members worldwide. This new theme, Be Epic, has quickly become a sensation trending on social media while inspiring our members for the year ahead. Florida DECA members, chapter officers and advisors, I have one questions for you; how will you make this year EPIC? Will you seek higher levels of involvement within your community, reach new recognition for your chapters participation in the Florida DECA Annual Business Plan or have more winners on stage at CDC and ICDC? Believe me when I say that all of this and more is possible. The key is learning to make the most of every available opportunity, perhaps the meaning behind the phrase “Be Epic.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary Epic means a heroic story that is usually difficult and impressive. This is your year to mold and create with your actions that very story of today, tomorrow and this year that will one day become the story of years past. Will your story headline read “International Winner” or even “Newly-Elected Florida DECA Chartered Association Officer?” The opportunities are endless. You, and only you, are in control of this year. It is up to you to seize the moment and work to be where you want to be a year from now; so when “Be Epic” is retired and another theme takes it’s place you can look back on your year and realize “I did it all!” No matter where this year takes us, as Florida DECA members, I can guarantee you it is going to Be Epic.
Join the conversation right now on Social Media using #beDECAEpic and share with the world how you plan to make this year Epic.
Chapters: Help us help those in need!
Over the past 4 years, Helping Hands has become a Florida DECA tradition. Each year, chapters look forward to the opportunity to donate to those in need with a competitive, yet friendly twist. Since Helping Hands was originally created in 2011 by Team 54 President Daniela Ray, Florida DECA has collected and donated over 82,000 items to charities across Florida. Now, as Team 58 beings our search for our charities as well as future charities for Team 59, we want to involve our Florida DECA chapters and members in this exciting process. Chapter officers, members and advisors, Florida DECA and Team 58 needs your help! We are looking for chapters to nominate charities from your local areas to be considered as potential Florida DECA Helpings Hands charities. An ideal charity would be one that has the need for and the capability of processing and storing large quantities of a particular item. This item can be many different things ranging from Macaroni and Cheese boxes to socks but, ultimately, should be an item that the charity genuinely needs.
For the 2015-2016 DECA year, we will have two collections, one at the Florida DECA Emerging Leaders Summit in Clearwater and one at the Florida DECA Career Development Conference in Orlando. Chapters who nominate a charity will be asked on the form to, but are not obligated to, help Florida DECA and Team 58 with the logistics of managing the pick-up/delivery or moving of the items. We simply want to know if your chapter is willing to help us in such a manner. We are reviewing every submission and all submissions are greatly appreciated.
Chapters are encouraged to visit the Florida DECA website (http://bit.ly/1IzHwuF) and submit our “Nominate a Charity for Helping Hands” form!
Do you have any questions related to the process of nominating a charity for Helping Hands? Reach out to your Florida DECA president, Wesley Lopez, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org