This past week I had the opportunity to partake in a student leadership conference as part of my training as a new state Skills USA officer. Geared toward high school alphabet soup organizations (such as FBLA, DECA, FFA) the Skills state officer team was among the smallest groups represented.
With seven officers we had ample opportunity to navigate the challenges of the workshop (such as having the bulk of our day explicitly scheduled). For us this served as a means to become better acquainted and take steps toward working together more effectively as a team. For me though, it provided insight into the inner workings of groups I knew very little about while a high school student.
It seems as though this is one of those things that I missed out on while in high school. As a high schooler I studied a lot, participated in marching band and helped craft our yearbook. But my big resume leadership presence came in the form of being French Club Historian. French Club didn’t have leadership training. We had coups. Freshman year we overthrew our then president and her cabinet because they didn’t do anything. So we staged a coup and then proceeded to enjoy three more years of doing nothing. But it was our nothing. Viva la revolution, right?
But you can’t have a revolution when there’s work to be done. I ran for this office in order to make a difference. Our Skills chapter at Front Range is a black sheep in that we don’t really have formal organization. We just have open shop time where we put our wrenches to work and provide basic maintenance for the administrative staff. Beyond my chapter though I have no idea what other groups do. Auto Tech is a part of Skills, but there’s so much more than that. Culinary arts, welding, precision machining, cosmetology, Emergency Medical Services….you name a service or technical career field and it’s probably represented in Skills as career training.
There’s a national competition too. It’s taking place this week in Kansas City, MO where the first and second place state winners compete to show off their mad skills. All in all there are many more layers to this being an epic team player than I originally anticipated. As reporter for the state of Colorado it’s my goal to increase communication between chapters and get the word out on what everyone is doing all year round rather than just waiting until our state competition in April.
That’s what I gleaned from this leadership conference.
Not how to improve my networking.
Not how to organize my own successful workshop.
But how to get myself in gear and help steer the state team in a productive direction for our one-year assignment together.
Here’s hoping we don’t have to pull the emergency brake prematurely.