FCCLA Middle School Student GroupOn Friday, September 23, the Kentucky Association of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) gathered at the E. S. Good Barn on the University of Kentucky campus to pilot their new initiative called Phase O.N.E. (Officially Navigating the Experience). The event brought a total of 75 middle school students to campus from East Jessamine Middle, Beaumont Middle, and Mason County Middle Schools.

Through Phase O.N.E., Kentucky FCCLA aims to not only use the event as a recruiting tool to increase membership, but more importantly to make middle school members feel included and valued. Furthermore, Kentucky FCCLA saw the initiative as a way to strengthen young members so that they may progress into effective leaders that improve the overall quality of the state association.

The one-day conference consisted of FCCLA 101 and FCS 101 breakout sessions, Mission Mayhem, a speaker from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Leadership 101, and a recognition session. Throughout the day, the students learned about ways they can get involved in FCCLA, explored Family and Consumer Science pathways and careers, and discovered how leadership is interwoven into the dynamic experience.

University of Kentucky junior Michaela Mineer and Western Kentucky University junior Taylor Stewart both intern for Kentucky FCCLA and are the coordinators of this new initiative. Mineer, a family sciences major at UK shared, “I found a home in FCCLA my freshmen year of high school. Seeing the middle school students’ faces light up as they engaged in activities and learned about the organization made all the hard work more than worth it. Our goal is to plant the seed in the students so that we can not only increase membership in Kentucky, but also spark involvement and growth in ‘The Ultimate Leadership Experience’ sooner.”

UK alumnus Kayla Godbey, Kentucky State Supervisor for Family and Consumer Sciences Education, remarked, “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend a day on campus! Phase O.N.E. was a great event for middle school students from across the Commonwealth. It was exciting to see their enthusiasm in FCCLA and Family and Consumer Sciences Education!”

At the Kentucky FCCLA State Leadership Conference in March 2017, Mineer and Stewart will facilitate more Phase O.N.E. workshops for middle school students. All of the students that have participated in Phase O.N.E. will be recognized on-stage during the conference closing session.

KY FCCLA State Adviser, Reeca Carver stated, “I am confident that the students who participated will become future leaders. Phase O.N.E. laid the foundation for students to find their unlimited possibilities in leadership.”

Bringing the students to a college campus for the conference provide an opportunity to learn about FCCLA while also interacting with university faculty and staff. Wayne Centers, Director of Student Relations in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Nicole Gwishiri, Bath County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences Education both represented UK and interacted with students. The students were able to get a glimpse of the university’s atmosphere and what their future can hold if they choose to become a UK Wildcat.

Terms: FCS