By: Brian Josephson – District III Vice President
Being an Association Officer for DECA can be a life-changing experience. As an officer you have the opportunity to learn leadership from some of the best trainers in the country. You have chance to travel, network, and improve your skills in leadership, initiative, problem seeking, and creativity. And then there is the added bonus of a great experience to add to your college and scholarship applications.
However, I have learned that since running for office, that with the many benefits for the taking of association officers also comes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve, improve and support an organization: an organization that changes hundreds of thousands of emerging adults lives and careers for the better. There is much that goes on “behind-the-scenes” that make DECA great for its members and the association officers have the ability, through hard work, to play a role.
If you are considering running for an association officer position with Oregon it is never too early to start preparing. And I am not talking about campaign slogans, speeches or give-a-ways. I am talking about the character building preparation that will enable you to serve this organization to the best of your ability.
A great place to start is seeking a chapter officer position or advisor assistant in your local chapter. Here are four ways being a chapter officer will help prepare members for association office:
1. A chapter officer knows how to plan events
As a chapter officer, you'll have plenty of exciting events on your hands, and all of those require planning. This can get you accustomed to brainstorming and working with a group to plan awesome activities! This process will show you that there is a lot of little details that you don’t think about. Events will need everything from pencils to a speaker. Organizing it will also help you work within a team and
2. You will learn how to do outreach and community service
A key part of DECA is giving back to the community. A chapter may organize activities from tutor centers to raising money for charities and learning how to start giving back at the local level can be very beneficial to you as an association officer. Community service can be a great way to help people. As well, this is a wonderful opportunity to show people in the community the extraordinary things DECA can do. This can open up wonderful new partnerships, which DECA is all about.
3. Being a chapter officer will teach you how to inspire members. (point #3)
As a chapter officer, you are no longer just a member. You will be looked up to as a figurehead and as a leader. This puts chapter officers in a position that prepares them excellently for association office. In chapter office you will undoubtedly hone your leadership skills like speaking and presenting, but also networking. Additionally, your chapter may hold a skills competition or other event. These work well to sharpen your planning skills that will be absolutely necessary in association office.
4. Communicating with the state association
Chapter officers serve as an important intermediary between the state association and the rest of the chapter. This relationship will help teach you things about your state association. This will help you get your foot in the door to association office. As you navigate your association, you will meet the people that you will potentially work with in office. In addition, in chapter office you get to network with other students and alumni who are eager to hear your ideas. Finally, working with your association will teach you to meet deadlines. If you don't, you could potentially hurt your chapter.
Chapter and association office have been a wonderful experience for me. It gave me the tools that I use every day as part of my association office team. As well, chapter and association office is a blast! The students that you will meet as part of your officer team will become some of your favorite friends. Working together and becoming better leaders will bring you closer than you thought you could be. Please consider running for chapter and association office. If you have any questions, I am available at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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