Local teens lead district conference meeting in Shelby last week

Shelby FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) members are back row left to right: Tanner Raph, Ben Raph, Robin Skryja and Alicia Baney; second row from top: Sarah Cross, Pauline Huang, Derek Jacobson, Brice Grotbo and Jorey Garsjo; third row from top: Aly O'Brien, Lauren LeSueur, Cheyenne Stirling, Emily Christiaens, Alyssa Edwards and Jayde Flesch and front row from left: Annalisa Shaffer, Larissa Long and Dea Biancarelli. Photo by Sharol O'Brien

More than 200 high school students from Choteau, CJI, Conrad, Cut Bank, Dutton-Brady, Fairfield, Power, Shelby, Sunburst and Valier gathered at Shelby High School for the 2008 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) District Conference. The theme of the conference was "superHEROS unite with FCCLA."

The conference was led by current district officers Misha Kearns, Sunburst (president); Kyle Watterud, Sunburst (vice president); Nolan Vick, Power (secretary); Kylee Schlepp, Conrad (recreation leader); and Robertta Kronenbusch, Conrad (parliamentarian). Highlights of the day included a three-hour leadership workshop led by Shannon Stober from the Montana Conservation Corps, and Sarah Sadowski, program director of Jobs For Montana's Graduates Foundation AmeriCorps. The workshop encouraged members to become stronger leaders by improving their communication skills through a variety of interactive activities in both large and small group settings.

Twenty-five members took the Knowledge Quest, testing their knowledge of facts about FCCLA and family consumer sciences. The four students with the highest scores will represent District 1 in the State Knowledge Quest during the State FCCLA Conference next March in Billings. This team will consist of Sydney Philipps, Conrad; Allison Bye, Sunburst; Emily Christiaens, Shelby and Jenny Silvernale, Conrad. Alternates are Roquel Diksen, Valier and Becca Larson, Fairfield.

During this conference, new district officers were also elected. The new officers are as follows: President Kyle Watterud, Sunburst; Vice President Nolan Vick of Power; Secretary Samantha Boumans, Valier; Recreation Leader Jenny Silvernale, Conrad; and Parliamentarian Veronica Gillund, Sunburst. Of these new officers, the president will represent the district as a member of the FCCLA 2009-2010 State Executive Council.

Each year, Montana FCCLA chooses a statewide community outreach project to raise money and awareness for important causes. This year's outreach project is the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign. Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns. A large paperclip represents the size of a premature baby's foot. Each time a donation is made to a chapter, a large paperclip will be added to the previous donor's paperclip, thus starting a chain. At the state conference, all the districts will join the paperclip chains together to show how many donations were made to March of Dimes through Montana FCCLA. At the district meeting, Kearns quizzed members on facts from the March of Dimes and challenged chapters to conduct both fundraising and awareness programs in their own communities.

FCCLA is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences Education. FCCLA has more than 220,000 members and nearly 7,000 chapters from the 50 state associations and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The organization has involved more than 10 million youth since its founding in 1945. FCCLA is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members. It is the only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus. Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers and communities.

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