“A leader is someone who doesn’t just take charge by themselves and push over everyone else who doesn’t like their ideas. A true leader is someone who can let others help them take charge and let everyone participate in the events that are going on,” -Carley Moore
It’s been a successful year for the students who led SkillsUSA Indiana during the 2014-2015 school year, with accomplishments no other state officers from the Hoosier state have experienced yet. President Carley Moore, Secretary Olivia Huffman, Parliamentarian Jacob Weber, and Reporter Emily Stephenson will hand over their positions to the next group of state officers at the State Leadership and Skills Conference tomorrow.
“These four who followed through with all the ups and downs are truly the most awesome group of young people I’ve ever worked with,” said Lisa Firestone, SkillsUSA Indiana’s State Officer Advisor. “So much of what SkillsUSA stands for and empowers into each member has become part of these officers.”
All four of the state officers attended the 2014 Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) in Washington, D.C. and made history for SkillsUSA Indiana. Moore, Huffman, Weber, and Stephenson were the first officers from Indiana to ever go. Before and during the trip, they completed various requirements to earn their SkillsUSA National Statesman Award and were the first team at WLTI to complete all requirements. These officers, plus Firestone, Baker, and SkillsUSA Indiana President Eric Cooper, met with the legislative aides of Senator Joe Donnelly, Senator Dan Coats, and Representative Jackie Walorksi on Capitol Hill to support the renewal of funding for career and technical education in the United States.
“WLTI was truly a week of humbling myself, especially seeing certain monuments and memorials. The congressional visits were almost surreal. I have never felt more proud to represent a cause in my entire life,” said Stephenson.
The 2014 National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, MO, was also an eye-opening experience. This was the first trip that the officers went on together. They helped put together the opening and closing dinners for participating members from Indiana. At the delegate sessions, they represented and voted on behalf of SkillsUSA Indiana.
“I loved nationals because it was so cool to be able to see everyone from all over the U.S. come together and be one team! It was amazing to be able to see everyone compete in what they are passionate about and put everything they have into it,” said Moore.
Huffman was also a huge fan of the national conference: “I loved being able to walk around all of the competitions and really be able to see all of the trade areas that SkillsUSA helps and how all of the students are passionate about their future careers.”
Being a state officer for SkillsUSA is has been a privilege and life-changing experience for these officers. From wearing the red blazer proudly to hosting events for large groups of people, these officers have been dedicated.
“Before I was a part of my SkillsUSA team I had low self-esteem and was very shy when it came to interacting with people,” said Weber. “I’ve never been a part of something huge before and I wish all schools would include this organization into their corporations.”
Said Huffman, “I just want to say thank you to my fellow teammates Emily, Carley, and Jacob for working as hard as you guys did. Thank you for staying as a team and thank you for helping make this year a successful one.”
The officers and some members of the SkillsUSA Indiana Board of Directors will travel to Indianapolis, IN, today to start setting up the conference. On Friday and Saturday, events included are an Opening and Closing Ceremony, leadership sessions for students and advisors, various student skills competitions, and more.
Kelley Baker, the Director of SkillsUSA Indiana, was a huge influence on the plans for this year’s state conference. Said Baker, “With so many changes this year and making strides to improve every year [I hope] that we are stepping in the right direction. That everyone involved and participating has an experience they won’t forget.”
Firestone, who has also put time and energy into the preparation, has positive expectations for this conference: “…I just have a vision of where I would like to see SkillsUSA Indiana moving towards and this is one BIG step that I am sure (and hope) will put us on our way.”
Each current officer has advice for the candidates who are selected to be on the 2015-2016 state officer team.
Jacob: “…follow through with your work and the goals SkillsUSA offers. Being apart of this can either be really fun or really hard depending on the effort you give.”
Olivia: “My advice is to really submerge yourself into what SkillsUSA is and to learn as much as you can everyday but remember to have fun!”
Carley: “Make jokes out of the difficult times and brush it off when you fall down. You will ALWAYS have your other officers to pick you right back up and motivate you to try again!”
Emily: “Embrace every opportunity SkillsUSA gives you. Some things may seem unimportant or too difficult in the moment, but there is no doubt that your effort will pay off later.”
The SkillsUSA Indiana State Leadership and Skills Conference is April 10-11 at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds. Come out and see all that our students have to offer, including the Teamworks contest that is sponsored by a huge supporter of the conference- Lowe’s! We hope to see you there!
Note from the author:
Over the past year, I had the privilege to experience many exciting things as a state officer. Nationals and WLTI absolutely blew me away. I didn’t think there would be such a huge number of students who were as passionate about SkillsUSA and their trade area as myself. This organization has given me new-found confidence. I never imagined myself being inside the Senate and House buildings in our nation’s capitol, yet there I was in September sitting across the table from real congressional leaders. I also never imagined speaking well in front of large crowds, portraying myself in a professional way, flying by myself, meeting people from states and U.S. territories I have not even been to…The list goes on. I want to give a huge thanks to my fellow state officers, Kelley Baker, Lisa Firestone, and Eric Cooper. I couldn’t have asked for better people to share these experiences with. Another thank you goes out to all who have read my previous articles and these words right now. This is my final blog article. Writing has always been a love and talent of mine, so it is a great feeling to have so many people enjoy my work. I am a proud SkillsUSA member.
SkillsUSA Indiana Reporter Emily Stephenson