by Brinley Janes, 12

On Oct. 2 and 3, Ms. Swopes took four of our DECA officers to the State Fall Leadership Conference in Branson, Mo. Seth Christie, 12, Hannah Carpenter, 12, Alyssa Irvin, 12, and Juris Leroux, 11, were in attendance. The purpose of the conference was to elect our district’s vice presidents for the year, as well as learn a little bit more about an array of DECA subjects.

The night before the conference though, the DECA officers in attendance went to Dolly Parton’s Stampede to enjoy a show while also learning some things about marketing. Upon arrival, the students had a speaker that spoke to them about the operations of the venue and the effects Covid – 19 has had on the tourism industry in Branson as a whole.

Once the speaker finished, DECA members put aside their learning for Dolly’s famous dinner and show. During the show, senior officer Alyssa Irvin was singled out by one of the show’s famous characters Skeeter for her clean dinner plate. “She did not appreciate it, but she did get her picture taken with him afterward though, so it was a really memorable experience,” said Ms. Swopes.

Right after that unforgettable show, Ms. Swopes gathered her DECA officers and headed to the conference center for their opening session. Here speakers talked about what would happen the following day and DECA members had their election session. El Dorado Springs DECA is a part of district 10, and so our officers met up with the whole of that district to elect their vice president. The students chose from two candidates, one from East Newton, and the other from Monet. Each gave their candidate speeches then voting delegates voted on which candidate they wanted to lead their district.

The next day our DECA team had a keynote speaker that did a motivational speech having to do with social media and one’s personal image. The rest of the day, the students went to individual breakout sessions. These sessions were about a variety of topics ranging from how to compete in DECA for the year, learning about Bass Pro’s operations, and talking about sports and entertainment marketing.

As the trip came to a close Ms. Swopes reflected on how smoothly everything ran. She said, “I thought it went really well. I was working in sessions while the officers were in other sessions, but everything ran pretty smooth and I think the kids had a good time.”