Business and pleasure are not two things that often go together. Luckily for me, I was able to enjoy both last weekend at the FBLA New Hampshire State Conference. FBLA, or Future Business Leaders of America, holds regional, state, and national competitions around the country. After leaving the Academy early Thursday morning, the PEA Business Club was taken via buses to a hotel in Manchester where the FBLA conference was being held. We checked in, put our bags in our respective rooms, and filed into the opening ceremonies as a group. We were thirty among approximately three hundred students in all. During opening ceremonies, we were introduced to our FBLA state leaders and we listened to a presentation on leadership and what leadership means in every aspect of our lives.
After lunch, there were workshops on leadership, caucuses for next year’s state leaders, and competitive events. My teammate and I arrived early to our competitive event, where we were handed a case study and given twenty minutes with which to review it and come up with a business plan. Our particular case study dealt with a small business and its plan of succession. We were given seven minutes to speak (my teammate and I left all of 3 seconds on the clock!) and then there was time set aside for the judges to ask questions about our business plan. Other competitive events included tests on topics ranging from economics to business math, impromptu speaking competitions, prepared speeches, and entrepreneurship product presentations. We all enjoyed the events of the day, which culminated in a game night and dance.
The next morning, a few of us went for a swim in the hotel’s pool before preparing for the last workshop. The morning swim was a fun way to start the day and a nice change from our school schedules. After breakfast, the attendees were divided into groups and attended workshops on different charity organizations. My workshop was hosted by a woman who works with the New Hampshire chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She spoke about how schools and businesses can get involved in changing the lives of so many children deserving of a vacation from the problems they face every day. It was so moving to hear her share some of the stories of children who had received wishes. In the final meeting of the conference, with everyone in attendance, the woman from Make-A-Wish Foundation and representatives from other charity organizations received donations gathered by FBLA chapters across the state.
The FBLA conference gave our Business Club a wonderful opportunity to learn about leadership, to test ourselves on what we had studied, and to meet other future leaders from communities near our own. Exeter had a very successful conference – many of our club members medaled and made the cut for the national competition this summer. We look forward to this summer’s results and to returning to our state competition next year!