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Doug Creamer: Future leaders

Doug Creamer

            I went to the annual State DECA competition again last weekend. I took some great students, who performed well in their individual competitive events. There were over three thousand students at the conference. I wish you could see these high school students all dressed up and acting like young adults. It would make you proud.

            For a number of years I have been working with the state officer election process. I love working with the state officer candidates and the screening and nominating committee. There are three steps the candidates must go through in the election process. First, we give them a test on basic DECA knowledge. There are some tough questions on the test; it requires knowing names of state and national officers.

            Before the test, I talk with the students about the process and share my own personal and animated story about running a state officer many years ago. She worked hard on her campaign and she gave an outstanding speech. She was up against a young man who also had an excellent campaign. In the end, the young man won. I found out years later that it was extremely close.

            After the test comes the screening and nominating committee. There is a group of about eight to ten students who interview the candidates with some very good questions. After the interview they discuss how they felt about the candidate and then determine if they believe the candidate should be allowed to progress to the entire state as an official candidate.

            Then the candidates are expected to stand in front of the entire conference of people and answer a couple of questions. High schoolers are a tough audience. The questions are broad, and if the candidate is quick they can capture the moment and make that all-important connection with the voting delegates. After that, it is all up to the voting delegates. Each part: the test results, the interview score, and the percent of the voting delegates, help determine who the next state officers will be for DECA.

            When I finished working with my committee this year I told them how proud I was of them. They were fair in their evaluation of the candidates, kind in explaining why some were not progressing to the next level and professional throughout the entire process. I told them that between their actions and those of the candidates it gave me hope in our future. I believe these young people will grow up to become strong leaders in many different organizations.

            With all the negative things we read about in various parts of our society, I still believe the future is bright and hopeful. There are some great things happening in our public schools, and various student groups provide great evidence of that hope. You can also see it in the sports teams and the dedication of the coaches, who pour hours of time and energy into the students’ lives.

            I believe in a good future. I know there are plenty of bad things and people in the world, but I just continue to believe the good will outweigh the bad. In fact, I believe the good will overcome and defeat the bad. I believe right will beat wrong. I believe that the power of encouragement and being a good example can help keep kids on the right track.

            Jesus calls us to be a light in the darkness. Every school, workplace, and group needs Christians to be a light in the darkness. Many people live lost in darkness, but we have the light that can give them hope. We have the power of our testimony that brings light into their darkness. So don’t complain when you find yourself in a dark place, maybe God sent you there to be the light and hope they need. You have the gift inside you; it’s your choice to share it.

            I want to encourage you to let your light shine and be a good example for others. We can choose to see the darkness in others and never offer them the hope of deliverance. But I am hoping you will see the potential that I believe exists in every human to change, to allow the light into their soul. I believe light always dispels darkness. I believe hope trumps fear, doubt, and failure. I believe it always comes down to our choice; will we let our lights shine in the darkness? Will we see the good and believe in the best of others? Are we willing to give away a little piece of our hope, our light, to help another find the way?

Contact Doug at  doug@dougcreamer.com

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