ELS: Emerging Leader Summit or Exciting, Limitless, Special?

ELS doesn’t only stand for Emerging Leader Summit, but it also stands for something that perfectly sums up the experience: exciting, limitless, and special. The 2017 ELS took place in the capital with over 200 emerging DECA leaders attending. To capture this incredible event, your state officer team created a vlog (which you can find here: tiny.cc/ELSVLOG) to share with their members.

The conference was packed with different events. The leadership training the state officer team attended provided insight on how to plan and execute a successful workshop (the workshop they attended was cleverly named, “workshop workshop”). Workshops can get a little flat, but the energy Rhett Laubach brought proved the contrary. Not only did he teach that content, lighting, and even room temperature were important elements to creating an engaging workshop, but surprisingly music can prove to be an effective way to instantly seize attention. Rhett didn’t just tell his audience, but he showed them everything he said. With that being said, there were a lot of spontaneous dance breaks. Networking also played a huge part of the ELS experience. The state officer team strengthened many existing bonds and created new ones with many other officers from all over the nation. Besides their time in the workshop room and Walmart, the state officer team was able to explore the many monumental buildings in the capital.

After the conference, the state officer team began their journey on Capitol Hill to advocate for DECA and CTE. They were able to meet with Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden’s staff, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici’s staff, and during their legislative visits they talked about the importance of career technical education and how DECA has influenced them and the thousands of other members in the organization. All of the legislators agreed to the importance of CTE and the influence every CTSO provides to students and believe these organizations can be a factor to a student’s future success. While walking around Capitol Hill, the state officer team unexpectedly ran into the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph F. Dunford. They had the chance to briefly explain to him what DECA was and what they were trying to accomplish on the Hill. This just goes to show that one never knows who they are going to encounter in the capital. To learn more about advocacy for DECA and how you can help, make sure to check out the front page of the Oregon DECA website. This year’s ELS has been an amazing journey filled with “limitless” adventures, and we can’t wait to see you for next year’s 2018 ELS!