By Sara Tischauser
The Shiocton Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) has been providing leadership and career opportunities for students since the organization was reactivated.
“We [Shiocton FBLA] were reactivated in the 2012-13 school year with the help of the Seymour chapter,” said Jessica Miller, Shiocton FBLA advisor.
Since its reactivation the Shiocton FBLA has worked hard to be an active group and their hard work has already paid off.
“We received the Outstanding Chapter Award last year and are working toward that again this year,” Miller said.
Being in FBLA gives students many opportunities that they may not normally have.
“Depending on how much students take advantage of the opportunities we offer, they gain knowledge and experience in leadership, networking, communication and teamwork,” Miller said. “As far as competition is concerned, with over 70 competitive events to choose from that cover 10 different career clusters, there is something for everyone.”
Having the opportunity to compete against other FBLA members from across the state is one of the reasons one Shiocton chapter officer joined FBLA.
“I joined FBLA for a multitude of reasons,” said Colton Westby, Shiocton FBLA reporter. “To start, FBLA allows you to choose your passion and chase it by competing against others that have the same passion as you. For example, I love writing and journalism. FBLA allows me to take a journalism test and see how I compare to others taking the same test. With hard work and effort, I can win awards for doing what I love to do.”
Caitlyn Pingel, Shiocton FBLA secretary, said she also likes participating in the FBLA competitions.
“I love going to FBLA regionals each year,” Pingel said. “My first year I got fourth place in E-business and this year I got third place in Word Processing and am going to state. FBLA regionals are so fun that I [wish] I [would] have joined FBLA earlier.”
Westby said aside from the competition aspect the second reason he joined FBLA was for the leadership opportunities.
“This is my first year in FBLA, however, I have learned many things over this short period of time,” said Abbie Hanks, Shiocton FBLA treasurer. “I have gained leadership skills and have gone far out of my comfort zone. Usually, I am very shy and don’t like to socialize with strangers. Nonetheless, when I attended the National Fall Leadership Conference in Chicago this past year, I soon learned that new skills, especially with socializing, will benefit me in my future lifetime.”
Pingel agreed that FBLA has helped her step out of her comfort zone and this will help her in the future.
“Throughout high school, I noticed that I wasn’t very good at speaking in front of groups, even of the small size,” Pingel said. “I wanted to improve because speaking is a needed life skill, so I joined FBLA.”
FBLA offers many opportunities and students can gain valuable knowledge about the business world through the organization.
“I joined FBLA because I was curious to learn what it was about and stayed in it because I really enjoyed the opportunities I was given to learn more about the business world,” said Rachel Maki, Shiocton FBLA vice president. “In FBLA, I’ve learned to network, budget, and some of the tips to survive the real world.”
Pingel agreed that FBLA has provided her many skills she will use in her future.
“I learned many life skills by being in FBLA,” Pingel said. “I became more of a leader and learned how basic business is actually simple.”
Westby said that FBLA is about a lot more than learning about business.
“FBLA is not all about the business aspect but also improving and supporting the school/community you represent,” Westby said. “The Shiocton FBLA team hosts a variety of school events, such as the running of the concession’s stand at some home games, raising money through fundraising, and raising awareness of the environment through ‘Go Green’ activities.”
Miller said she hopes her students take advantage of the many opportunities available to them through FBLA.
“By taking advantage of leadership conference experiences and local events, students gain opportunities, knowledge, and access to college and career preparation, scholarships, academic competitions, career exploration, networking and travel,” Miller said.
Being able to meet new people and networking has been a great experience for members.
“Overall, I joined FBLA because I love meeting new people and trying new things, even if I don’t really know what I’m getting into,” Hanks said. “I have loved meeting new people from different schools and even different states. I highly recommend this fantastic organization for great opportunities and to explore your leadership potential.”
As an advisor, Miller said she is glad to be able to help students gain from their FBLA experience.
“Being the FBLA advisor is very full-filling for me,” Miller said. “I love having a part in being able to provide opportunities for students to learn and grow that aren’t necessarily possible in the classroom. I am thankful to work in a school district/community that sees the value in career and technical education and student organizations.”