The young professionals were out in high gear this weekend at the Montana Business Professionals of America (BPA) State Leadership Conference here in Billings. Students from BPA chapters across Montana showed off their professional skills in writing, accounting, and management. I was a part of the judging process, something I'd never done before, but my experience with BPA is actually rooted deeply here in Montana.

What is BPA, and what does it entail?

Business Professionals of America is an organization whose main goal is to, "foster an understanding of the functions of labor, entrepreneurial, and management organizations in the American free enterprise system." They do that through competition in topics such as finance, business administration, management information systems, digital communication and design, management and marketing, and health administration.

"Many former students tell me that BPA was the most valuable activity that they participated in while in high school," said Molly Barta, Business Teacher, and BPA Advisor at Skyview High School. "It gave them the professional 'soft skills' necessary to succeed in their chosen profession."

Students who perform well during the State Conference are invited to compete at the National Leadership Conference, which takes place this year in Dallas, TX.

How do I know so much?

Credit: Skyview BPA Facebook Page, Used with Permission
Credit: Skyview BPA Facebook Page, Used with Permission

Well, because I'm a former BPA National champion! The highlight of my time in high school is almost always going to be BPA events. I participated in Word Processing events, as boring as that sounds. However, it was incredibly fun, and I learned so much through my classes and BPA itself.

Credit: Skyview BPA Facebook Page, Used with Permission
Credit: Skyview BPA Facebook Page, Used with Permission
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It was amazing to see all the students who were there competing, and so much fun to be a judge. Good luck to all the students in Montana who are moving on to the National Leadership Conference. It's a fun time, and I hope you enjoy it.

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