How many of your students joined FCCLA because they read a great article on their favorite program in Teen Times? How many joined because they saw their friends having fun?
Probably, several of you said yes to the first question. There are a lot of students who find out about FCCLA on their own, but I bet more students that say they belong to FCCLA to “have fun and get out of school.”
Obviously we want students to get more out of FCCLA than a day out of class (and they will whether they realize it or not!). Recently I was reminded that not all purchases are rational and when looking for return on investment, maybe things are simpler than we think.
At the national headquarters we want to make sure that Teen Times, The Adviser, National Cluster Meetings and National Leadership Conferences are packed with good information, breakout sessions, and other learning opportunities. After all, as adults we recognize that these opportunities make great fodder for college admission essays and provide valuable work experience. There are some students that recognize this too, but the majority of students want to belong to a group. While it may not seem rational, it is the return they are looking for.
Being part of a community is the most important ROI we can provide and as it turns out, we are giving back to ourselves. While students are getting the fun and friends they signed up for, advisers can also gain ground. All our national opportunities are wonderful, but the most learning happens at the local level. Students are more engaged if they are learning about FCCLA in class with their peers. They raise more money if they work in teams. We all know community service is more fun if it can be done with the community.
FCCLA chapters become families and they provide a sense of community to those looking to belong. Winning a gold medal is an amazing accomplishment, but it feels so much better to do it together.
As you prepare to recruit for the year, feel free to share your questions and favorite tips in the comments section.