Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Raising the Bar is exactly what FCCLA members did at the 2011 National Cluster meeting in Minneapolis! On Friday November 11th we held a Minnesota Summit at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis. There members from around the state participated in various activities. They were able to listen to a speaker from the Tubman foundation about healthy dating relationships, region officers met with their team and had the opportunity to listen to Trooper Kevin Adrian about distracted driving, and they also heard Rick Anderson speak about Cyber Safety! We wrapped up the day before heading over to the opening session of National Cluster Meeting.
As leaders we put our survival skills to the test and joined in on the workshops, competitive events, guest speakers, and many more opportunities! This year’s meeting had multiple focuses on competitions, skill demonstration events, workshops and networking opportunities! The National Officers that led the Minneapolis Cluster Meeting were: Kaylen Larson, Hannah Wright, Kelcie Sturgeon, Jessica Pope, and Jessie Pratt! There were more than 1,000 kids in attendance from many different states! FACS Knowledge Bowl also took place at each Cluster meeting this fall.
During our opening session we had the opportunity to hear motivational speaker Gerald Jones. He brought us to the root of leadership and inspired us to make the most out of our responsibilities as an effective leader! On Saturday there were so many opportunities to attend sessions and workshops about the new STAR Events, service projects, youth networking etc.
One of my favorite parts of Cluster was the closing session and speaker! John Beede otherwise known as “The Climber Guy,” amazed us with his powerful success lesions and adventure stories. His energy, humor, and message brought us all to a new level of personal achievement! I along with many others were sad to see Cluster come to an end. It was an awesome weekend full of fun, leadership, and opportunities! I had a blast meeting new people and being a part of “The Ultimate Leadership Experience!” Minnesota was very fortunate to host one of this year’s Cluster meetings and it truly was a success, thank you to everyone that attended or helped in any way!
By: Amy Wolff- State Treasurer

NOYS Youth Summit

Sarah Edwards was reading a text message when her car crossed the centerline of a two-lane road and ran into the rear wheels of a loaded logging truck. She died instantly. Angelina Bandino was walking along a road when an 18-year-old driver struck and killed her because he was typing a text message. Caleb Sorohan was texting a friend as his car veered into the opposite lane and hit a truck head-on.
Four of the Minnesota State Officers traveled to our nation’s capitol for a “teens against distracted driving” youth summit called NOYS (National Organization for Youth Safety.) At this 3 day retreat we experienced a car simulator, listened to wonderful panelist speakers, and came together with other student teams and peer mentors (which included Kaylen Larson, our national president,) to find innovative ways to raise awareness of the “X the Text” campaign.
Most teenagers think they’re pretty good at texting while driving because some don’t even need to look at the keys while they type, but what about reading the responding text message from your friend? If dared to do so by a friend, would you drive down the highway with your eyes closed for a few seconds? Typing or receiving a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, and that’s all it takes. To demonstrate this, NOYS participants got to experience the dangers of this in a car simulator. You wear goggles with a screen on them that shows a road that you must drive on. You must also text a message to someone on your phone while staying in your lane, without going off the road, running red lights, hitting a pedestrian, etc. I was asked by the computer to drive into a gas station while I text. I made it to the gas station, but went off the roads several times. It is very realistic to a texting while driving scenario.
Panelist speakers came from all over the United States to share with us statistics, such as, texting while driving impairs your driving ability more than driving while intoxicated. A person driving drunk is still trying to focus on the road whereas if you are texting, you aren’t looking at all. We heard about new laws and/or campaigns to end texting and driving or knew ideas to raise awareness from our speakers, but most importantly, we heard the personal stories from some of them. Wil Craige’s story was featured in “The Last Text” YouTube video. He was declared dead on the scene three times, but pulled through and spoke at the summit. He has come a long way since his accident, and he is one of the sweetest guys anyone could ever meet. He went through tons of physical therapy, and grieved the loss of his friend who had been driving that night, as well as the loss of his ability to have a job, play a sport, or basically, do things on his own. He tells his story to help end car accidents where texting is involved.
During our time at the summit, the four Minnesota officers created a plan to raise awareness in our state. We hope everyone will get involved and be as excited about this campaign as we are. Coming up in November, we will have a patrol officer speak at the “Minnesota Day” during cluster. In March, those attending Legislative Shadow Day will be apart in helping raise awareness at the state capitol. We would like chapters to use their imaginations in February during FCCLA week and do something at your school to help spread the “X the Text” campaign. Everyone should also be looking forward to State Conference where there will be a whole day’s worth of workshops on distracted driving because ALL texting and driving car accidents are preventable.