This research project was conducted by Micah Melling, CentralRegion Vice President for 2011-2012.Missouri DECAMissouri DECA is a state affiliate of the international DECA organization. DECA prepares emergingleaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, management, hospitality, and finance in highschools around the globe. DECA is one of 10 Career and Technical Student Organizations recognized bythe U.S. Department of Education. Missouri DECA is the sixth largest state association of DECA withmore than 9,100 members.HistoryThe history of Missouri DECA can be traced all the way back to 1944 when a small group of localchapters met for state meetings. In 1948, Missouri DECA was issued a charter from National DECA tobecome an official affiliate. However, until 1960, there were fewer than 12 active chapters.Separate from Missouri DECA were the Cooperative Occupational Education (COE) Clubs of Missouri.Throughout the 40s and 50s, the Missouri COE Clubs held a much higher membership than MissouriDECA.In 1961, the Missouri Department of Secondary Education (DESE) hired Lester B. Kesterson to serve asthe State Advisor of both the Missouri Association of DECA and the Missouri COE Clubs. The DESEagreed that the two groups could function more effectively as one organization. The two organizationsofficially merged in 1961 when they held a joint state conference.At the time of the merge, Missouri DECA’s membership was listed at 600. By 1982, Missouri DECA hadreached 5,000 members. Today, Missouri DECA provides service to more than 9,000 members and has alist of distinguished alumni who continually make contributions to the organization.Missouri DECA TodayToday, Missouri DECA boasts over 9,100 members in more than 180 chapters throughout the state,ranking the association 6th in national membership. Missouri DECA is not only a leader in membership,but in many other areas. In 2009-2010, the organization raised $87,000 for the Muscular DystrophyAssociation. In 2011, sixteen students took “Top 10” honors at DECA’s International CareerDevelopment Conference in Orlando, Florida. Both figures demonstrate the versatility and strength ofMissouri DECA.ConferencesEvery October, the organization holds a Fall Leadership Conference at the Lodge of Four Seasons in LakeOzark, Missouri. State Officers are elected at this conference and members participate in leadershipdevelopment activities. Approximately 750 students and advisors attend this conference each year.
The State Career Development Conference is held each March in the same location as the FallLeadership Conference. Each year, this conference features a dynamic opening session, anunforgettable hypnotist show, and an exciting awards session. Additionally, over $10,000 inscholarships are awarded at this conference annually. In 2011, 1,659 students and advisors attendedthe State Conference.LeadershipMissouri DECA is led by a 16-member State Action Team. The team is comprised of a President, VicePresident, Secretary, and 12 District Vice Presidents. The State Action Team develops and carries out aPlan of Activities that benefits the entire association. The team also provides leadership at the StateCareer Development Conference.The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) administers the stateassociation and employs a state advisor to oversee the DECA program.OnlineMissouri DECA’s website is http://dese.mo.gov/divcareered/deca.htm. The state organization also has apresence on Facebook (Missouri DECA Official) and Twitter (@MODECA1). National DECA’s website ishttp://www.deca.org/.