BPA: An organization unlike any other

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By KAITLYN WEINHEIMER

Moore senior Kaitlyn Weinheimer shows off her official BPA uniform as the state communications director last October.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Bogunovich

Business Professionals of America is a student-led organization focusing on leadership, business skills and professionalism. BPA falls under the category of CTSO, or Career and Technical Student Organization, meaning BPA is a vocational organization emphasizing career and technical skills. 

As a freshman in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to participate in or where my passions would lie. I decided to join every club in the school because I thought, “Why not? I am bound to find something I enjoy.”

As a senior in high school, I am still heavily involved in all the clubs my school has to offer. However, BPA is at the top of my favorites list.

As I sat in the convention center for the first time as a freshman, waiting for the State Leadership Conference to begin, I saw the state officer team. I don’t remember any of them in particular, but I do remember their godly presence. It seemed as though the whole convention center got quiet as soon as they stood up on the stage, as though they were supernatural beings. This was the moment I decided I wanted to become one of them.

As a junior, I contemplated for several months whether or not I wanted to take on this seemingly daunting task. However, I decided to take the leap of faith. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I got to the State Leadership Conference, I was required to give two speeches in front of 3,000 people. Along with this, I was expected to campaign, answer random questions from the voting delegates and go to state officer candidate meetings, as well as compete in my own BPA competitions in my spare time. Somehow, I managed to pull it all off: I placed in the top 10 in three events, as well as becoming the 2016-2017 state communications director. 

I did not realize how much time and work it took to be a state officer. I was expected to plan and run the Fall Leadership Conference, the State Leadership Conference and assist with the eight different regional conferences. I was also required to go to a weeklong planning meeting in Bozeman, attend monthly conference calls and attend the winter planning meeting.

We were in charge of going to the capital and requesting grants back from state legislators. We also had to do buddy chapter visits to schools, send out monthly letters to chapter advisors, send out a quarterly newsletter and complete the student certification series, a course on leadership, corporation, BPA and business.

Becoming a state officer takes time, commitment and drive. I’ll admit, at times I thought I would never be able to do all this. However, I absolutely loved every minute of being a state officer. I got to meet hundreds of members from across the state, as well as conquer my fear of speaking in front of thousands.

I realized that state officers weren’t godly at all, but represented something far greater than themselves. I was able to inspire others while representing an organization I love. I met new lifelong friends who I would have never known. I was heartbroken when I took the stage for the final time as the 2016-2017 state communications director for BPA.

I encourage every student to join BPA, or any organization they feel inspired by.

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