BY JULIA WINTON
Print A&E Editor
Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is a program that allows students to develop entrepreneurial skills through a variety of business classes. November is internationally recognized as DECA Month, during which all chapters, members and chartered associations come together to support, promote and celebrate DECA and its impact on students and the community. Junior and Director of the Bay’s Executive Council Gabriel Barros said DECA Month raises awareness for what the program is all about and he said it is an incredible opportunity to celebrate all of the Bay’s DECA achievements.
“DECA Month is when our chapter makes its best effort to show its members what DECA is all about,” Barros said. “It always drives our team to be [at its] best.”
Normally, DECA Month features members and officers advocating for DECA and participating in events to illustrate DECA’s spirit and the importance of educating the student body about it; however, COVID-19 has forced the event into a strictly online environment. DECA advisor Lauren Babitz said although she would have liked to partake in DECA Month in person, everyone has done an admirable job in not letting the imposed changes prohibit them from participating in and commemorating it.
“Every obstacle is an opportunity to be creative and implement a cool, new solution – the greatest businesses have been built by entrepreneurs who recognized a problem and wanted to fix it,” Babitz said. “I think [the Bay’s] DECA officers have experienced this first hand, and it has been incredible to see them still creating impactful programming during this time.”
To guarantee that DECA Month ran smoothly, Barros said this year’s DECA Month required a great deal of planning because of all the exceptions and changes imposed by the online format. He said although the process of planning such a largely known event was difficult at times, seeing all the DECA officers’ hard work come together to create an astonishingly cohesive event was definitely worth the struggle.
“DECA Month is planned to start August and we put a lot of care into every one of our projects,” Barros said. “Ultimately, we plan DECA Month with our members in mind, and we hope they can benefit from every project we execute. [DECA Month] is exhausting, but nothing tops the feeling of accomplishing something you’ve worked hard for.”
Senior and Director of the Bay’s Executive Council Andreina Rodriguez said the club has had to adapt the events and activities that usually occur during DECA Month to be enjoyable in an online format. She said it is extremely hard to pick a favorite from all of the amazing activities including hosting virtual conferences, releasing new and exciting content each week of the month, engaging in virtual activities and socials for students both in and out of class and using social media to provide even more opportunities for engagement for members and followers.
“My favorite part of DECA Month would have to be the Global Entrepreneurship Week, because it connects DECA to the actual business world,” Rodriguez said. “Last year, members were able to attend an entrepreneurial workshop where they got to know experienced and successful local entrepreneurs, like the founder of Yonutz.”
Babitz said all of her officers’ hard work and determination has not gone unnoticed. She said she loves seeing all DECA members, new and veterans, celebrate and cherish DECA Month.
“I’m always proud of our students, especially our leaders, participating in DECA Month because it enables them to create a greater impact on our chapter and on the members around them,” Babitz said. “Our leaders and our ‘veteran’ DECA members use DECA Month as an opportunity to pass down their experiences to the new members, and the success of our chapter after almost 20 years is a testament to the shared experiences of members from one generation to the next.”
Rodriguez said DECA Month is one of the most impactful events held by the Bay’s chapter because it illustrates its members’ unique experiences. She said it allows members to understand the value of their role in the DECA community.
“DECA Month is the perfect opportunity to show [our] love and appreciation for DECA and our hard-working advisors,” Rodriguez said. “With a chapter as big as ours, it can be difficult and intimidating to become more involved, but DECA Month is that time of the year where returning members [come] together and [help] new members feel like they are a part of [the] DECA family.”