Why Your Chapter Should Start an Outreach Program Today
Won Bin Lee | Dougherty Valley DECA
Competition training and workshops have always been a big part of high school DECA, but you may be forgetting about another huge opportunity your chapter could seize – middle school outreach programs.
Last year, Dougherty Valley DECA established its first middle school outreach program, the Business Occupation Oriented Student Training (BOOST) Program, and since then, it has grown to be one of the most successful outreach programs in California DECA. Not only has the program fostered a greater interest for DECA and business-related careers at the middle school level, it has allowed DVHS DECA to respond to a community need, increase chapter membership, and provide valuable competition and leadership training for involved members.
Prior to the program’s creation, it was determined that over 41% of local youth had interest in pursuing a career in business, but many interested students were facing difficulties finding business education opportunities, especially at the middle school level. To help address this problem, Dougherty Valley DECA established BOOST, aiming to help middle school-age students learn about professionalism, communication skills, and the basic principles of business and entrepreneurship.
The subsequent 15 weeks saw a huge improvement in BOOST students’ communication skills, understanding of business principles, and other career-readiness skills. Over 80% of these students indicated that they were highly interested in joining DECA in high school; moving forward to this year, DVHS DECA’s freshman membership grew by over 200%, largely thanks to the BOOST students.
But not only that, the high school instructors and organizers involved in the planning and execution of the program indicated that they benefited immensely as well. Many reported that creating and teaching a business curriculum helped strengthen their competitive readiness, and even more reported that being active in an execution of a project helped them develop leadership and management skills.
Overall, it is evident that outreach programs not only help the middle school students, but also the high school chapter and its members. Before this DECA year draws to an end, consider planning a middle school outreach program for the coming year! Contact local middle schools, recruit instructors from your chapter, and develop a curriculum that focuses on the core DECA clusters – Marketing, Management, Finance, and Hospitality. At the end of this work, you may find out that after all, starting an outreach program was one of the best decisions your chapter has made!
This article was written by Dougherty Valley DECA Vice President of Marketing, Won Bin Lee. You can follow Dougherty Valley DECA on Twitter @DVHSDECA.