By Sara Tischauser
Preparing for a bright future, students in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) are learning skills that will help them in the years to come.
Katie Grassel, Seymour FBLA advisor, said the Seymour FBLA chapter was chartered on Oct. 27, 1970, and she has been the advisor in Seymour for 23 years.
“In Seymour’s FBLA all our projects and planning revolve around our quest of service, education and progress,” Grassel said.
Grassel said the club does many projects and events in the areas of service, education and progress. For service the Seymour FBLA does various community service projects throughout the year.
One of the service projects the club does is raise money and awareness for March of Dimes. The FBLA passes buckets to collect money for March of Dimes at a volleyball, football and basketball game. The club also hung purple paper around the school as purple is the March of Dimes color. The child development class made posters with information about premature births to bring more awareness about March of Dimes and premature births.
The organization had a teddy bear toss at a basketball game and proceeds from the event went to Community 2000. The Seymour FBLA also does a clothing drive, helps pack Our Kids Bags, rings bells at Don’s and helps with the Run for the Timbers event at Fallen Timbers.
“We try to find local events that our kids can volunteer and get involved in,” Grassel said.
For education events, FBLA students have competitive events they can participate in.
“We have two levels of events in Wisconsin FBLA,” Grassel said. “We have regionals which is held the first Saturday in February. Depending on how well students do at regionals they can go on to compete at state which will be in Green Bay in April. They can advance to nationals at the end of June/early July in San Antonio, Texas.”
Grassel said that students can choose which of the 50 business events they want to compete in. Some of these events include job interview, webpage design and digital video production.
Students concentrate on progress events by learning skills that can help them in the future. Grassel said these events include doing concessions at sporting events where they have to be able to add up the total and make change for customers and going on business tours.
During FBLA week the club planned tours to Wild Blue Technologies and Schneider International.
“We are trying to get students out and about to see different business aspects of what’s going on,” Grassel said.
Students in the FBLA are able to benefit from the many events, activities and trips available to them through the organization. Mercede Heinke, Seymour FBLA chapter president, said she saw the benefits others gained from being in FBLA and decided to join.
“I originally joined FBLA because I saw how it positively impacted my sister’s character and how much fun it was to be a part of a group where everyone is welcoming and ready to go get life,” Heinke said. “I think my best experiences in FBLA were the trips and getting to know the people around me. I have grown closer and gotten to know people that I probably would never have had the pleasure of meeting if I were not a part of FBLA.”
Grassel said the FBLA officer team in Seymour runs all of their meetings and takes responsibility for the club.
“Officers plan and get everything ready, so if they don’t do it, it doesn’t happen,” Grassel said.
These skills of running a meeting and also the business knowledge gained through the organization will hopefully serve students as they move forward in their lives.
“Through FBLA I have learned so many things,” Heinke said. “I have learned to be heard. I have learned that business is a part of everything, and no matter how good you think you are at something you can always do better, or be better. I think most importantly I have learned to appreciate the value of people. Every action, and every moment that people put into their daily lives matters and makes a difference; so it is important to acknowledge and value every thought of every person.”
Seymour FBLA participates in the Chapter Challenge and if they complete the challenge they are recognized at the national level for their participation and success. The Chapter Challenge consists of super sweeps, non-stop November and action awareness. Grassel said Seymour FBLA has already completed super sweeps and non-stop November for this school year. Grassel said the Seymour FBLA has been recognized for their completion of the Chapter Challenge since the challenge started five years ago.
Seymour FBLA has also achieved being a Gold Seal Chapter at the national and state level for at least the last 10 years. Grassel said this recognition is only given to the top 15 percent of chapters in the state. For this recognition the chapter must participate in certain meetings throughout Wisconsin, they must participate in the regional and state conference and must prepare a local chapter annual business report that is done by the local officer team.
Also, the Seymour FBLA has been recognized as an Outstanding Chapter, a national recognition, for at least the last five years. Grassel said the officer team meets in August and plans out how to make sure the chapter will meet the criteria for these national recognitions.
FBLA is a career and technical student organization that allows students to learn about the business world and better themselves through experiences gained in the organization.
“I think FBLA is a great organization and opportunity that everyone should take advantage of even if they don’t think they will be in business,” Heinke said. “I think that FBLA is a great place to find out who you are and just how much you can accomplish. It is a feel good organization and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Grassel said she hopes the FBLA students gain knowledge that will help them in their futures.
“One of the best things about career and technical student organizations, like FBLA and FFA, that we have in Seymour is the opportunity for students to step up and be in charge of their leadership and being able to move forward with what they are learning in class to what is actually happening in the work place,” Grassel said. “Career and technical student organizations are the facet that allows students to take their learning and see it actually happening in the work place and gives them a legs up so they know what we are talking about in class is really there. This shows them firsthand what is going on.”