FCCLA takes on community projects to raise funds for national convention

Mike Moore photos
FCCLA members Yesi Hermosillo (center) places a load of dead grass clippings in a bag held by Christina Chavez (far left) while Abby Nunez keeps on raking at Christ Episcopal Church April 26. The group completes projects for area businesses and community members to raise funds for the FCCLA National Leadership Conference. 

Mike Moore mike@glenrockind.com

Dark storm clouds encroached from the west as Glenrock FCCLA students filled their arms with yard equipment and trudged up concrete steps leading to First Episcopal Church.
Their task was to bring the yard of the church back to life following the doldrums of winter. The small yard for the modest church was complete with leaves and heaps of dead grass; plenty for a group of four high school students and their advisor to keep busy with throughout the afternoon.
In traditional fashion, FCCLA picks up a swath of community projects each spring following the state convention to raise funds to pay for travel, meals, registration and lodging associated with attending the National Leadership Conference. This year, the conference will take place in Anaheim, California from June 30 through July 4.
According to FCCLA advisor Candace Stoll, it is up to the students to make the trip a reality.
“We have to raise all the money,” she said. “We are very grateful for the community support in helping us reach our goal of attending National FCCLA.”
The advisor says it’s a “win-win,” as students learn how to work for what they want and it helps numerous businesses and residents within the community and beyond receive a helping hand for their projects.
“The community gets something they need fixed and we have them donate to help us,” Stoll said.
The group heading to nationals this year includes Yesi Hermosillo, Abby Nunez, Christina Chavez and Haylee Heaps. Brysen Collier also advanced to the national convention, but will not attend as he is heading to the Coast Guard following graduation.
Heaps agrees that the service projects throughout the community benefit everyone involved.
“You’re doing stuff that helps out your town and going to nationals,” she said.
Heaps, who is the chapter’s vice president will be assuming the district officer position next year. She also took first place overall in the creed category. This will be her first trip to nationals, where she will assist state officers with their meetings and help judge divisions within the convention.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to go,” she said. “Going this year will help me with leadership experience and meet new people.”
The tradition has caught on around town, as many look forward to receiving the letter each year announcing the return of the student helpers.
“We travel as far as Douglas and Casper,” Stoll said.
This will be Hermosillo’s second trip to nationals, where she will compete in sports nutrition and a category entitled Focus on Children. She was partners with Collier for both divisions, and will have to go it alone on the nation’s big stage.
At state, Hermosillo and Collier took first place in sports nutrition and third place for Focus on Children.
She says fundraising by helping folks rake a yard, paint a fence or whatever else they need is something she is grateful to experience.
“It’s definitely better than being handed (donations),” she said. “Working for it makes a difference.”
Nunez agrees.
“No ones just going to give a donation without seeing us work for it,” she said. “We’ve got to give something back.”
She says heading to nationals is a great experience coming from small-town Wyoming.
“It really gets you out of your comfort zone in growing up in Glenrock,” she said. “It’s big. You get to meet people from all over the states.”
Other fundraising includes a Mary Kay Basket they are raffling off worth $400. Tickets are being sold for $10 apiece, or $20 for 3. A drawing will be held May 10.
To purchase a ticket, you must get in contact with Nunez, Heaps, Chavez or Hermosillo.
Nunez says she’s had success with raffling off similar baskets in the past, and is hopeful this go around will help the team with covering tickets and additional travel expenses.
If all goes well, they might even do a men’s basket for Father’s Day.
Nunez and Chavez advanced to nationals after earning second in Interpersonal Communication at state this year. Considering this is her first year in FCCLA, she’s thrilled to accomplish so much in a short time frame.
“I wish I had done this since freshman year,” Nunez, currently a senior, said. “I think FCCLA is something all students should be in because it brings a lot of opportunities.”
As the group started bagging dead grass half an hour into their project at the church, high winds and consistent rain started hammering down. Despite the weather making the work all the more difficult, they kept working.
“They’ve worked really hard to get to this point,” Stoll said. “They’re continuing to work hard to get to nationals.”
Others placing at state, but do not have national categories to compete include Shyann Lacey’s first place cake decorating finish and Zane Moore’s first-place finish in creed.


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