What To Do After Your DECA Journey Ends
(Hint: It Doesn’t Have to End)
Last spring, I watched as my chapter’s new officer team was announced and sworn in to be next year’s leaders. A feeling of pride rushed over me knowing that the chapter had just completed another successful year and was left in good hands. At the same time, I felt a sense of desolation passing on the torch and knowing that my 4-year journey had run its course. Even though I have the great honor of serving as a Collegiate DECA Executive Officer this year, the “Has Been Officer” feeling was not absent. Just for a second, I had forgotten that there are so many more opportunities to come. So, whether you’re a graduating high school DECA member or a Collegiate DECA member, remember that there are always ways to stay in touch and be involved. Here are five tips on how you can stay involved:
1. Join DECA as an Alumni or Professional Member
There are so many reasons to be involved with the organization after you graduate. You can support your chapter in their participation in DECA’s chapter campaigns. You have the opportunity to network with other business professional members of the chapter. You may even have access to a group of amazing professionals who have skills to offer and may be looking for jobs in the future. Of course, the most important part is staying involved and keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings of your chapter or association’s events!
2. Be a Mentor
Regardless of the duration of your DECA involvement, you’re still graduating with a lot of DECA memories and experience under your belt. Somewhere out there is a member who wants to learn all that you’ve been through and what they can do to make the most of their time as a part of this organization. You can also work with your chapter or association to discuss how you can help mentor new members or officers to prepare them for the upcoming year.
3. Offer Your Expertise
If you’re a graduating officer, share what you’ve learned to your successor. Being an officer is tough, but knowing that there’s someone there who has experienced it all makes the transition a bit easier. Write a letter to your successor with what you have learned, what your hopes for the chapter or association are in the next couple of years, and words of encouragement. If you’re a member, consider sharing your experience as a member with the new officer team in an email or a letter to bring in a new perspective for them.
4. Volunteer as a Judge
Does your chapter host competition preparation events that require volunteer judges? Does your association conference need extra judges? Applying your real-world expertise after graduating is always a great option. Check with your local chapter and association to see if they need any judges or help running their conference. Volunteers are always appreciated and most likely needed!
Remember all of those fundraisers you participated in to help raise funds for your chapter or ICDC? Think about how easy you’ll make members’ lives by participating on the other side! Make some time to get lunch at the restaurant when the proceeds go to your DECA chapter. Or if at all possible, give a monetary donation when you’re able. No matter how small or large your donation, your kind contribution will be greatly appreciated and go towards a worthy DECA cause!
Congratulations on all you have achieved so far! Remember that the end doesn’t always have to be the end. DECA gives you so much in so many ways and it will continue to do so, you just have to put in the effort.
Follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram @cdecavpmichelle.