Saturday, November 29, 2014

Building Leaders...Building Memories

Post by Sarah Roeder: Sarah has been teaching Business classes for fifteen years, the last eight years at Bettendorf High School. Sarah also serves as adviser to FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahroeder68

When I first joined the BHS team, I knew nothing about Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  Of course being the newbie, I jumped in with both feet guided by Kristy Cleppe (@kriscleppe) and Jen Like (@JenniferrLike) not sure what to expect.  With only about 15 members our first few years, little did I know what an impact FBLA was making on our students.  Throughout the years, our chapter has grown to at times over 57 members, and the structure has changed for organizational purposes, but the basic premise of leadership, involvement and making memories has remained the same.

When kids (or adults) ask, “What is FBLA and what do you do?” it is hard to describe all that FBLA encompasses.  If you ask the members, the describe it as “one big family”, “work and fun”, “we compete and eat donuts.”  But for me, FBLA is a place where all students can excel and learn not only about business and leadership, but also find a purpose and a place to belong.

The early 5:30 a.m. mornings to pop breakfast casseroles in the oven before the kids get here for their meeting, standing in line at Schnuck’s to get three dozen donuts for the Thursday morning meetings, sleepless nights while chaperoning one of our many trips, it’s easy to get run down and at times feel unappreciated.  That’s usually when I hear the kids say “wow did you make this” or “thanks Nana Roeder”, reminding me why I do it.  When former students stay in touch after years of moving on, and talk about how much FBLA did to bring them out of their shell, build their network, and let them be part of something big, it reaffirms why I (and all of us) do it; for the kids and to create great high school memories.

We as advisers spend countless extra hours helping prep for state, holding events and chaperoning, but it really isn't about us.  It’s about the look on our member’s face when their name is called to the stage for the competitions, the excitement in their eyes when they finally experience the opening or closing sessions-- with all the lights, music, and over 7000 other students that share the same passion and goals as they do.   To see these young men and women dressed in professional dress: suits with ties, blazers and pants.  They look and feel like a million dollars, and exude confidence, ready to take on the business world.

We have been blessed to have former members come back and share with our current members, volunteer at the state competitions and visit classrooms, sharing their experiences and all that FBLA has taught them or the doors it has opened through a passion to learn, lead and explore.  FBLA is about leadership, but more importantly, building lasting memories.

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