How Did You THRIVE in Anaheim?

When I landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, it wasn’t long before I saw the masses of high school students grouped together wearing bright-colored shirts embossed with the logo we all know and love, chanting or waving their DECA diamond in the air. This kind of energy can light up any room and is what makes this organization so unique.

I was finally in Anaheim to begin the campaign I had been planning for months. A mix of thoughts and emotions began to hit me at that point. I knew the amount of hard work it would take to run the best campaign without any regrets would take everything I had, but I was ready for the challenge.

The next morning was the “big day,” when all of the candidates would have the opportunity to meet each other and learn the next steps in the campaigning process. Some of us had never met before, but it felt as though we all had known each other for years thanks to networking through social media. Although there were 20 candidates in the room, there was a sense of unity amongst us all–nobody was there just to beat everyone else.

We all endured the next two intense days of caucusing, giving speeches and working at our booths while meeting hundreds of new people. By the time Friday night came around, my campaign manager and I shared a sigh of relief after completing our last caucus. We knew that everything from that point on was in the hands of the voting delegates.

The next day was the even bigger “big day.” It was time for the voting delegates to assemble and cast their votes for the candidates they felt would best serve DECA. Once all of the candidates had been introduced and escorted out of the room, we all gathered together for a big group hug and started chanting various well-known DECA sayings. That sense of unity was more evident this time. We were all friends, not competitors.

After what seemed to be the longest seven hours of my entire life, I was finally there at the Grand Awards Session of DECA’s 67th Annual International Career Development Conference. I saw the masses of people moving to their seats, covered in flashing pins and spirit items, and was instantly reminded of why I was there. I love DECA. I wanted to help give back to the organization that had given so much to me. I wasn’t there just to win a title and go up on stage. I told myself I would not be disappointed if I didn’t win. I was grateful for having the opportunity to even communicate my ideas with my fellow DECA members. Running for national office was something I would look back on and have no regrets.

Once the current National Officers had finished their farewell speeches, we all knew it was time. Our hearts skipped plenty of beats, many paced nervously, and I just sat there with my head buried in my hands. Then it happened.

“Your 2013-2014 Western Region Vice President is Trevor Dickerson from Arizona!”

Everything I had left in me exploded at that point. I jumped out of my seat, threw my hands up and yelled louder than I ever have before. Dozens of people surrounded me as I rushed to the stage with more excitement than I had ever experienced in my life. Once I was up on stage, I was completely overwhelmed by excitement and joy. My legs were shaking underneath me and I couldn’t hold back my smile. It was unlike any feeling in this world. There I was, standing on stage with the four people who I will proudly call my team.

ICDC this year was an unbelievable experience. It was everything I could have ever imagined and more. I progressed toward a goal despite the circumstances at this year’s ICDC and pushed myself further than I thought possible. What does that mean? I THRIVED in Anaheim. The question is, did you?

Follow Trevor on Twitter @decatrevor

Categories: Conference Highlights, DECA News, Reviews