I’ve Seen The Future and It Thinks I’m Old

I’ve got more than a few grey hairs in my beard and that combined with my aching knees lets me know I’m not the kid that could eat half a lemon sponge cake at 2am and drop ten pounds by morning anymore. Yet after judging high school students in the recent statewide event for DECA  at the Flamingo this past week I’m starting to realize I may be closer to the end than the beggining.

First, let me say kudos to those young whipper snappers who sat across from me and answered those high heat questions I threw their way.  These youngsters were out to impress with great ideas and knowledge backed answers.  If you’re not familiar with the DECA program or their national competition, these high schoolers were faced with different scenarios and business cases in which they only had 10 minutes to prepare thought out responses to challenging business situations.

In my morning judging station I played the role of a hiring manager for an elderly resident complex seeking to employ a marketing intern from the pool or worthy candidates to target and acquire potential residents.  Each DECA competitor had to convince me they were the right person for the job while also covering specific criteria they were being judged on.  Besides referring to the elderly residents as OLD every other sentence, I was quite impressed with the training, and business savvy these youngsters displayed.

In my afternoon session I played a retail manager pondering instituting a new lay-away program (I thought lay-away went out with the 8 track) at my national retail outlets. I looked to the DECA participants to provide me a detailed analysis that covered ROI, buyer behavior, employee training, store policies and more.  In this role playing exercise the students only had 30 minutes to prepare.  Once again I was impressed with their presentations.

I might not be young anymore but I think I’ve found the fountain of youth.  Working with these young students and seeing the bright light of future potential for them and this country damn near had me doing cart wheels in the Flamingo parking deck.  I’ve signed up to judge another high school business competition in March with FCCLA and I plan on giving back as much as I can to these students in the months to come.  Who knows, I might be able to turn some of my grey hairs black again.


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