Running for an office in FCCLA is a very big responsibility. You must write a speech first and then present your speech in front of a group of voting delegates. For many people this is very nerve-racking. A study has shown that public speaking is the number one fear in America. There is a dinner held the first night at the State Leadership Conference for all state and national candidates, as well as the outgoing state executive council. Invited to this meeting are any parents, friends, or special guests of the current state council as well as the state and national candidates.
I was fortunate enough to attend this meeting and I was able to meet with two moms that attended this special dinner. The first parent I met was Mrs. Palmer. Rachel Palmer is her daughter and she is currently serving on the state executive council as the Vice President of Public Relations. Mrs. Palmer told me that Rachel has grown as a person and that she is very proud of her daughter. She said that FCCLA has made Rachel the person that she is today and that she would consider Rachel a good influence to others. She said that she loves to come and watch Rachel perform and speak on stage. She said that FCCLA has such a positive influence on young teens and said that Rachel has improved her public speaking skills tremendously.
The second parent that I was able to interview was Mrs. Kara Rankles. Her daughter is running as a national candidate. She said that the state officers always do a wonderful job with speaking at the meetings and in front of hundreds of people. She also talked about the Japanese Exchange Program that her daughter was able to participate in last year. The Japanese Exchange Program is an opportunity where an FCCLA member gets to travel on an all expense paid trip to Japan for four to six weeks as an exchange student. Participants live with a Japanese host family and experience all the things that their culture has to offer. Mrs. Rankles said that her daughter's leadership skills have improved due to FCCLA. Her daughter has held workshops on this program so that she can tell others about her great experiences in hopes that others will get involved. Mrs. Rankles also said that she enjoys attending the conferences so that she can see her daughter in action.
Parents of FCCLA members do not always get recognized because they are behind the scenes most of the time, but they play a big role in the students you see on stage in their red jackets. It was nice to be able to hear from someone that was not in FCCLA in school. Everyone always gives our organization such good feedback. FCCLA holds so many amazing opportunities and the parents of the members that I talked to tonight are taking every opportunity that they can get.
Contributed by Samantha Pierce, 2013 Media Team Member