After nearly two decades as FCCLA State Advisor, Patty Micheli is ending a career punctuated with successes and challenges, but proud of the organization and what it’s meant to students and educators. We asked her to step back in time to recall the early days and look forward to the next era.
Thank you Patti, for your time and commitment to Wyoming youth and educators.
Patti began her career in FCCLA during the transition from the Future Homemakers of America to Family career and Community Leaders of America.
As a brand new advisor, she was uncertain of roles and responsibilities, and just where she fit in. “It was an overwhelming undertaking, and I didn’t have much knowledge of what a state FCCLA advisor did. I’d worked very hard to be prepared, but had no idea (of what to expect). Those advisers were ready to chew me up and spit me out!”
The first fall conference was in Jackson where the main business was accepting the name change from FHA to FCCLA. Micheli recalls unforeseen circumstances led to an early end of the event, but things soon improved. “We’ve come along way since then,” she laughs.” “Over the nineteen years, I have had many highlights,. Every year I feel, has been the best, but then the next year is even better.”
Challenges and Changes
Closing FACS programs across the state presented one of her greatest challenges. Teachers didn’t fully realize the impact they can have on students through FCCLA. “I strongly believe that FACS programs are needed more today than ever because students are not learning basic skills of finances, nutrition. relationships or basic life skills in the home,” she says.
Another frustration was the disadvantage to students for national recognition due to Wyoming’s one delegate status. “It was impossible for outstanding students to be elected to a national office because Wyoming had only one voting delegate based on population. Micheli passionately lobbied for change, ultimately persuading the national office to change the election process to one state, one vote. The last two years, Wyoming has had a national presence. “I voiced my opinion over and over to any and everyone that would listen that this really put our students at a disadvantage. This has been an exciting change for Wyoming. Having deserving candidates elected as a National officer has been one of my greatest experiences.”
Watching watching members grow from year to year has been especially gratifying for Micheli, like the shy seventh grader receiving outstanding national scholarships as a senior because she learned to do interviews; the keynote speaker spending time after the session to privately talk with students about their personal problems; succeeding and working with amazing advisers that are committed to making a difference. “I love working with these advisers and their outstanding students. They have been an inspiration to me.”
“FCCLA is the only student organization with a focus on families. We help our students recognize the need to balance careers with community service and family responsibilities,” she remarks.
Micheli notes that while the national organization does a great job of identifying issues and challenges facing young people today, the state was a leader in anti-bullying in schools. “We received a $10,000 grant and did a three day national FCCLA STOP the violence training for all of our members.”
She’s confident FCCLA will continue to grow and prosper, and most importantly, help students feel a sense of belonging and learn to function as contributing individuals.
“My hope is that as these committed advisers retire, new advisers will gain that same commitment and FCCLA will keep growing and growing and influencing lives for the better. I will greatly miss FCCLA, and I will always be passionate about it. I know it will just keep getting better and better. I’m excited for the future of our state organization.”