BEA BPA members try their hand at parli-pro | News, Sports, Jobs

Blue Earth Area’s Parliamentary Procedure Team is pictured above. Seniors Cameron Hassing, Haley Kalis and Mya Steinhauer are pictured, left to right, front row. Freshmen Ava Peterson, Carol Schrader, Amelia Greff and Reed Sturtz are pictured, left to right, in the back row. They are coached by BEA High School teacher Holly Vogltance.

The old saying goes, “Never mix business with pleasure.

Well, the Blue Earth Area (BEA) Business Professionals of America (BPA) team has thrown that adage to the wind.

Not only did BEA BPA seize the opportunities to learn more about the business world; they have a lot of fun doing it. And, their attitude seems to have served them well.

Last May, six BEA BPA students celebrated a triumphant journey to the National BPA Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Four of these six students celebrated their top 10 at the conference in their respective events. Calvin Farrow finished in fourth place in fundamental accounting; Kyla Roiger took fifth place in the fundamental spreadsheets; and Lilah Farrow got ninth place in Legal Office Proceedings.

Meanwhile, current BEA senior Haley Kalis achieved an impressive first-place finish in the health insurance and medical billing category.

Now a new school year has started and BEA BPA is already hard at work preparing for a new series of leadership conferences – the first of which, BPA Regions, is scheduled for January.

Successful students will advance to BPA State in March and BPA Nationals the following spring.

BEA BPA Advisor Holly Vogltance shares that 38 students joined the team this year, “Our highest number yet.”

Seven of these students chose to compete this year in a team event: parliamentary procedure.

Parliamentary Procedure, or parli-pro, one of many BPA events that students can choose to attend, allows students to study the rules, ethics, and accepted customs that govern the conduct of meetings.

“Parliamentary procedure is a formally organized meeting; pass motions, Kalis summarizes. “In a big picture, it keeps (the meeting) in check.”

“You have to remember who says what, and when”, adds Cameron Hassing, another member of the BEA BPA who participated in the national championships last year. “Its very important.”

Hassing and Kalis, both seniors, compete alongside parli-pro team members Mya Steinhauer, also a senior, and freshmen Ava Peterson, Amelia Greff, Carol Schrader and Reed Sturtz.

Although BEA has had a parliamentary procedure team for the past five years, Vogltance notes that each member of this year’s team is attending the event for the first time.

Vogltance is happy to have a great crop of freshmen for the event this year; she hopes they will continue to compete on BEA’s parli-pro team for years to come.

“It gives me some hope for the future” said Vogltance. “The more they practice, the better off they will be.”

And practice, the team does.

In competition, parliamentary procedure teams are asked to prepare three separate meeting agendas based on hypothetical meeting scenarios. After 15 minutes of preparation, the team is tested by a judge on their understanding of the rules of parliamentary procedure thanks to their ability to professionally conduct the hypothetical meeting scenario assigned to them.

Each team member is also assigned a specific role in the hypothetical meeting, such as chair, vice-chair, or secretary.

The whole performance requires a lot of memorization. Team members should know the Opening and Closing Ceremonies by heart. They also need to know how to conduct specific procedures and how to pass a motion.

In addition, the team must work quickly in competition.

“You work under pressure” Hassing explains. “You only have those 15 minutes to prepare different scripts.”

As part of the training for the BEA parli-pro team, Vogltance called on registered professional parliamentarians Miriam G. Simmons and Lucy Johnson.

“We met them on Zoom a few times,” Hassing calls back. “They gave us good resources. We also put together a list of questions we had, and they answered them very well.

The parliamentarians also recommended a book to the team: “The Rules of the Order of Robert”,a guide to parliamentary procedure used by many professional associations, fraternal organizations and local governments.

The BEA parli-pro team speaks the book “very useful”in their studies.

Team members meet during the lunch hour to train for upcoming BPA conferences.

“They are active”observes Vogltance. “That’s why this lunch hour is conducive to meetings.”

The students seem more than happy to spend their lunch hour studying parliamentary procedure.

Steinhauer says that of the many team events offered by BPA, parli-pro was the one that intrigued him the most.

“For BPA, you can do two individual events and one team event. It was the team event that I found the most interesting.said Steinhauer.

Hassing, meanwhile, says: “I wanted to join parli-pro because it’s something different. Moreover, I can be part of a team.

Schrader adds,“It’s probably a good life skill; something good to know.

His team members agree.

Steinhauer observes that practicing parliamentary procedure is a great way for students to develop public speaking skills.

“And build trust”Kalis adds, noting that both skills are useful in real-life scenarios, such as job interviews.

Hassing, in fact, regrets not joining BEA’s parli-pro team sooner.

“I wish I had done this my first year, so I could grow with it”,he admits.

Nevertheless, Hassing seems happy to have several years of general BPA experience reserved, as has Kalis.

“Everyone should join BPA,”Kalis said with a smile.

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