Documenting the Traditions of Excellence Inside Your DECA Chapter
When I first joined DECA my sophomore year of high school, I was amazed at the opportunities and experiences the organization offered. On the bus ride back from my first international conference in Nashville, a realization hit me. The friends I had just made and the experiences I had that year could not have been possible without the hard work of so many to make DECA what it is today.
Since DECA’s founding in 1946, generations of DECA members and advisors, and so many more have continued to build the organization to what it is today. I got a glimpse of this when I was ending my term as a state officer at our State Career Development Conference. We have a tradition where each officer exchanges each other end of term gifts that contain great personal significance. Andrew Weatherman, DECA’s Executive President, and my state advisor found me a copy of a book I had always wanted but had never seen before. It was the 50th anniversary history book DECA: A Continuing Tradition of Excellence, written by Robert G. Berns, printed in 1996.
The book details the names and faces of so many who have contributed to the organization over the years and that night at state conference it added special significance. Looking at the state’s chapter in that book, I was able to see the accomplishments and history of those whose legacies have made a lasting to impact on DECA members in the crowd that night.
Our organization has been privileged to have countless DECA heroes all across the world and their work is reflected at every conference and In their personal journey of every member. You can help preserve your chapters DECA history this year to document your chapters work and stories for future generations.
Here are just a few ways your chapter can preserve your DECA stories for future generations.
- Building a photo collection by year. Asking chapter members to submit their photos from their year into a shared folder online will help compile all the various photos and perspectives from that year.
- Creating new traditions. Things, like leaving behind a letter with a digital copy to your next chapter president and having a collection over time, work to share important lessons and experiences for future generations.
- Inviting alumni to come back and visit your chapter. This helps to keep your alumni involved by having them tell their stories.
- Hold an annual alumni benefit night to help your chapter fundraise for events such as ICDC.
- Publish a year in review analysis to document work highlights and chapter accomplishments
DECA’s tradition of excellence is one that is expanding each year through the collective work of all of DECA. Each member, advisor (and alum) plays an important role in championing the organization and its ability to impact lives. By documenting the experiences and lessons inside your chapter you leave behind a guide to future DECA members. Through this effort you have the ability to expand on the definition of what Is possible as a member of DECA, leaving a legacy that spans far after you graduate.