From June 25 to July 1, four members of our WRCC FBLA chapter went to Anaheim, California, to participate in the 2013 National Leadership Conference. The conference consists of business-related competitive events, like Public Speaking, Business Plan, and Sports Marketing, as well as educational workshops designed to make participants better leaders and students.
This was my first National Leadership Conference, and I really didn’t know what to expect. In the end though, it was an amazing experience and I’m very happy I went.
Our trip started on Tuesday, which consisted mostly of flying across the country to California and driving across Los Angeles to our hotel in Anaheim.
Wednesday was a much more exciting day – we spent it at Disneyland. We stayed in the park for about 12 hours, riding Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean and seeing other attractions, such as the 3D extravaganza that is Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson.
We started the next day by walking around the area around our hotel, doing some shopping and getting incredible deals on souvenirs. We couldn’t stay out for too long though, because we had to get back to our hotel rooms in time to change into our fancy business attire and head down to the opening ceremony.
The ceremony took place in a massive convention hall, packed to the brim with close to 10,000 FBLA members, all wearing different types of glowing or flashing accessories.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Judson Laipply, who has been featured on Oprah, Ellen, The Today Show, and much more. You may know him from the viral video “The Evolution of Dance“, which he performed for us after doing some stand-up comedy. Afterwards, one of our chapter members, Theresa Glabach, was featured on stage as a state officer, and one of our advisors, Ms. Cornell, was recognized as the Advisor of the Year in the state of Vermont.
Friday and Saturday consisted mostly of workshops, which were very educational and entertaining. The covered a variety of topics, from inspirational speakers to SAT/ACT prep. We also competed in our events: Introduction to Business, Public Speaking II, Sports Management, and Technology Concepts.
On Sunday, a chauffeur drove us around Los Angeles in a Cadillac Escalade to see the sights. We went through downtown LA, then up to see the iconic Hollywood sign. Next, we drove through Beverly Hills and saw where some celebrities live, then to Rodeo Drive where we ogled at the opulence. We even stopped by an In-N-Out Burger to have an authentic Californian meal.
Later that day we went to the closing ceremony, where Theresa Glabach was again featured on stage as the Who’s-Who recipient for the state of Vermont. We anxiously waited to see if any more of us had won, though unfortunately none of us did.
The next day we piled into the van and drove to the airport, and after a few nearly missed flights, we arrived home at about three in the morning.
The National Leadership Conference was an incredible experience and it was worth every penny to go. I grew a lot as a person and got to meet some incredible people, as well as get a lot closer to the people I went on the trip with. Even though I didn’t win anything, I definitely didn’t go home empty-handed, and if you asked anyone else who went, I’m sure they would agree. We all grew and gained knowledge from this experience, and had tons of fun.