Candid Conversation: Alyssa Cracraft, Kentucky Family Career and Community Leaders of America State PresidentPosted on Dec 16, 2020
KFB Candid Conversation presents a discussion about the topical issues related to KFB priorities, the agricultural industry, and rural communities, in a question and answer format.
In this column, Alyssa Cracraft, the Kentucky Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State President discusses her involvement in the organization, benefits of being involved in FCCLA, and the challenges and opportunities she, as a student, has faced in 2020.
Would you share with our readers a little about yourself and how you became involved in FCCLA?
My name is Alyssa Cracraft, and I am currently a senior at Mason County High School in Maysville, Kentucky. I have the honor and privilege of serving as the 2020-2021 President of the Kentucky Association of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. I joined FCCLA as an 8th grader and had the opportunity to attend the Phase O.N.E. (Official Navigating Experience) conference at the University of Kentucky. This experience introduced me to the organization and all that it had to offer. I became more actively involved as a freshman when I took my first Family and Consumer Science class, where my teacher, Mrs. Shannon Roberts, was also the FCCLA advisor. After presenting a speech in my FCS Class, Mrs. Roberts encouraged me to join FCCLA and compete in STAR Events, where I could put my public speaking skills to use. Ever since joining the organization I have been hooked, looking to explore more opportunities that FCCLA has to offer.
Would you tell our readers a little about FCCLA as a state and national Career and Technical Student organization?
The Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) was founded in 1945. It was originally known as FHA, Future Homemakers of America. Kentucky was the first state charter and this occasion (was celebrated) on Charter Day November 23, 2020. Nationally, FCCLA is a student organization that serves more than 175,000 middle and high school students from 50 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Kentucky currently has 5,579 members from 120 affiliated chapters. FCCLA helps members develop real world skills, as our mission is “To promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader, members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.” Kentucky FCCLA has been very active on the national level for the past 75 years. Currently, two Kentucky FCCLA members are serving as national officers. Ms. Hannah Jones from Powell County is serving as the National First Vice President, and Mr. Logan Justice from Fayette County is serving as the National Vice President of Membership. Advisor, Mrs. Shannon Roberts of Mason County is currently serving her second term on the National Board of Directors. This year, National FCCLA inducted 74 members into the Hall of Fame, four of which were from Kentucky. These include Leslie Watkins, a retired teacher from McCracken County, Angela Gott, a retired teacher from Metcalfe County, Kayla Godbey, Family and Consumer Sciences State Supervisor from Boyle County, and Reeca Carver, KY FCCLA State Advisor from Franklin County.
What are some of the benefits you have experienced being involved in the organization?
My experiences since joining FCCLA have benefited me in so many ways. Through competitive events competitions I have strengthened many necessary skills and grown to be a more confident leader, including collaboration, time management, and teambuilding. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to travel and network all over the United States, creating many lifelong friendships with members across the country. By being a state officer, I have benefitted from the Stephen Covey Leadership Training, which works through modules to help strengthen lifelong leadership skills. Overall, because of FCCLA, I feel more prepared to live a successful life after high school.
What are some of your duties as State FCCLA President?
As a state officer for Kentucky FCCLA, officers are required to work together as a team in order to provide the best experiences and opportunities for our members. Specifically, as the President of the Kentucky Association of the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, my main duties are to provide leadership to our 5,579 members and nine fellow state officers. I assist fellow state officers in their duties and provide them with guidance when needed. As President, I preside over all official business meetings and serve as a member of the Kentucky FCCLA Advisory Board. It is my goal as State President to be impartial and serve our organization with enthusiasm.
How has COVID-19 challenged you educationally and as a leader in a state student organization?
Along with many students across the nation, COVID-19 has challenged me both academically and as a leader. Academically, I have had to learn to adapt to a 100% virtual environment, before we were allowed to transition into a hybrid-model for in person instruction. As a leader for Kentucky FCCLA, the State Executive Council and I have been challenged to continue to provide The Ultimate Leadership Experience for our members, despite our inability to gather in person. The uncertainty of COVID-19 has made planning for future events, such as the 2021 State Leadership Conference, extremely difficult. Regardless, we will recognize and celebrate our members for their hard work and dedication, whether that be virtually or not.
Have you experienced opportunities because of the restrictions that have been in place due to the pandemic?
Although challenges have been present due to the restrictions and guidelines of COVID-19, I have experienced many opportunities that I might not have if it weren’t due to the pandemic. For example, on October 27, 2020, the Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio FCCLA Executive councils came together to provide our members with the first virtual Tri-State Officer Development Training. At this one-day virtual conference, members of the tri-state area had the opportunity to listen to a keynote speaker, watch informational RedTalk videos, be trained on the duties of their specific office, and network with members of the executive councils. COVID-19 inspired the leaders of three state associations to think outside the box and provide our members with something new and exciting during the midst of a global pandemic.
What do you tell other students who may be interested in joining FCCLA?
When speaking to students who may be interested in joining FCCLA, I am sure to inform them of all the opportunities that this organization will present to them. From building life-long friendships, traveling across the nation, participating in community service activities, and opportunities to strengthen and build your resume, FCCLA has something for everyone to enjoy and benefit. This organization has the power to change their life, just as it has done for mine. FCCLA is “The Ultimate Leadership Experience”!
In all the time you have been involved, is there one FCCLA experience that stands out in your mind?
The most incredible moment I have experienced throughout my time in FCCLA would most definitely be being named as the State President. Knowing that my hard work, preparation, and dedication to the organization had paid off was amazing. It was exciting to know that I would have the privilege to have a direct impact on our state association by serving the organization and its members. By achieving this, I realized that despite strange or unexpected circumstances I am still able to persevere and accomplish the goals I have set for myself. This experience has given me the confidence to continue to meet the goals I set for myself in the future. I hope that during my time in office, I am able to inspire members to set and accomplish goals for themselves.
As you look toward the future, what advantages do you feel you have because of the time you have spent in FCCLA?
Although I am not completely sure what I would like to do after high school, FCCLA has allowed me to realize that I want to have a career in a field that I can actively be of service to people and help them with their needs. The skills I have gained through my time in FCCLA have made me into a confident student and future employee. My public speaking, interpersonal communication, and networking skills have all been strengthened and therefore will be an advantage to me. Through the relationships I have built and people I have met, FCCLA has provided me with a network of resources that will help me in my career decisions and success for the future.