OASC Newsletter

Ohio Association of Student Councils, January 2017

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The Ohio Association of Student Councils is an organization dedicated to the teaching of leadership skills, organizational skills, and people skills valuable to the members and officers of all student organizations!

Happy New Year!

As we enter into the new year, we often find ourselves creating hopes for the future, as well as reflecting on the past. While we move into 2017, we want to reflect on OASC's history by asking some past OASC executive board members, advisors, executive directors, staff members and delegates to share about their time in the organization. We hope the stories and memories of alumni will resonate with you as you read the words of wisdom they have for students who are lucky enough to be part of the organization today. We hope the magic in 2017 continues to build stories such as the ones shared below for our current delegates, so they too can share their experiences with the world for years to come.

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Sister Janice Ernst (Executive Board Member & Student Council Advisor 1970-1989)

Current City: Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati

How did you first get involved with OASC? My first OASC event was an Advisor's Workshop that a student who had attended Summer Workshop told me I had to attend. I met a wonderful group of advisors, learned lot of good things, and I was hooked. I attended my first summer workshop that year at Ohio Northern University. My staff partner was Bill, a junior from Hillsboro. Many of the kids wanted to know many things about nuns & had their eyes opened from my story. At my first State Conference at Willoughby, I was elected to the Executive Board and the rest is history.

What was your involvement with OASC over the years? In addition to serving on the Executive Board, I stayed involved traveling to Super Saturdays, State Conference, National Conference, and serving on the National Board of Workshop Directors. My greatest joy is all the wonderful people I met along the way from Phil Simon, Ken Kaffenburg, Betty Coulter, John Namey and so many other advisors who have cared about kid across OHIO and the nation.

What was your most recent experience with OASC? On July 15, 2015 I visited summer workshop, at Wright State University, exactly 40 years after I attended my FIRST summer workshop at Ohio Northern. I observed great staff. OASC LIVES ON WITH ALL OF IT'S WONDERFUL SPIRIT. I read "Whobody There" to the entire assembly of Workshops 1, 2 & 3 at Connie's "To the Moon and Back" session. Thank you to all OASC staff and delegates, past and present, who have been supportive over the past 18 months, and thanks for all the wonderful memories. Love and WARM FUZZIES to all.

Teri Straley Shoemaker (OASC Delegate & Staff Member 1970 - 1975)

How did you first get involved in OASC? As cliche as it may sound, student council and OASC changed my life. I was introduced to student council in Jr. High and got my first taste of OASC at the State Conference in Chillicothe, probably sometime around 1970. The fun, friendships and leadership opportunities I experienced at that conference were what I needed, and I knew I had found my niche.

What was your involvement in OASC from that point forward? From there, I was highly involved in student council every year from 7th grade on to high school graduation. I was a staff-o at summer workshops when they were held at Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. During my senior year (1975) Bucyrus High School hosted State Conference,and I was the conference chairperson. It was a life changing experience for me to have that much responsibility, work with other enthusiastic people on the year long preparation, and finally see the fruits of our labor for those wonderful three days in April. Those memories are still strong and what I learned through that experience has stayed with me to this day.

Who are some people who influenced your time in OASC & how has that contributed to where you are today? Phil Simon and Ken Kaffenberg were the organization's state leaders at that time, and one of my favorite staff-os was Kim Montague. There were many other good people who helped me gain confidence in myself and who encouraged me to be a leader to others and with others. I look back at my time with OASC with tremendous fondness and gratitude, and I am so glad that the spirit of learning skills of leadership and cooperation are still the focus for students today. Like the song says, "OASC is the best! It stands out from all the rest!"

John Namey (Executive Director 1984 - 2010, Senior High Coordinator 1989 - 2010)

When did you first get involved with OASC? In 1975, I attended an advisor's workshop in Columbus, Ohio. I went on to become to Executive Director. In 1984 I became the Executive Director of OASC, and then also become the Senior High Coordinator in 1989. I served in both of these roles until 2010.

What is one of your favorite OASC memories? I have so many. I always loved the Presentation Night by both our delegates & staff. You always felt something unique from every workshop council & I always loved to hear how the staff developed their relationships with their councils. When I was a staff member, "Boundary Breaking" was always something I enjoyed and I always loved the "connection" my staff partner and I developed with our council.

What is your favorite OASC Song? Now and Forever

How did OASC impact you and your students? I always hoped delegates left a conference or workshop with a renewed purpose, a belief that he or she could make a difference. I always hoped that they felt how much I loved them and believed in them. What did I gain? I left every OASC program with a reason to continue my teaching career, as the delegates gave me a new energy. I always felt it was an honor to be part of the OASC programs. All the staff and delegates that gave me so many fond memories.

What advise do you have for current students? Live each day well. Never miss a chance to live and love well. YOU can make a difference, BUT only if YOU go out and DO IT. Life is a gift, that is why it is called the present. You are s shining star. Let your light shine, and may your light shine to others, in turn inspiring them to lead and to love well.

Michael Pelton (OASC Delegate 1986 - 1990 & Student Council Advsior 2006 - 2011)

What are some of your favorite memories? OASC taught me to dream big and always believe in myself! To this day I remember my workshop councils, many of the team-building activities, songs, games and "bear cards".

Who are some of the influential people you met through OASC? I remember a very unsure and overwhelmed Connie Miley who attended her first OASC weekend workshop with no clue the impact she would have on me and thousands of student leaders over the years! I remember my first Earl Rheum presentation - over 20 years later I was honored to be the Student Council adviser at Dodge City High School when Mr. Student Council himself took command of our stage during his final presentation circuit - all the same magic and life-lessons as before!

How did OASC impact your life when you were in junior high and high school? I remember counting the days until the next OASC event and the sadness at the end of each event as we headed our own ways - you could never fully explain the emotions, the experience, or the friendships to your friends at home - they would just never really get it! To the TRUE OASCers among us, you get it - you've lived it, you've believed in it and you've been transformed by it.

Do you use any "lessons learned" from OASC in your current work today? When my run with OASC ended, I wanted to continue my summer experiences, so I signed on to work at a summer camp in hopes of continuing the leadership and personal growth skills I learned from my time at Bluffton University & Muskingum University OASC workshops. This year I celebrate my 24th summer of bringing the same skills, games, challenges, and positive maturing, nurturing life lessons to my campers at Camp Towanda in Pennsylvania. This year i also celebrate my 21st year of teaching in Dodge City, KS. Each day I strive to inspire my students, just as my OASC leaders did when I was in junior high and high school. Were it not for the foundations OASC laid in my life, I would not be the teacher, dad, husband, friend, head counselor, person I am today! It has been almost 28 years after my last workshop, and I still keep in touch with some great people and know "a lifetime's not too long to live as friends!"

Josh Fitzgerald (OASC Delegate & Staff Member 1994 - 1999)

How were you involved over the years in OASC? I first attended and OASC event when I was in middle school, and continued to attend and staff middle level events throughout the rest of my high school years.

What is your favorite OASC song? This is the Time by Billy Joel

What is your favorite OASC memory? Summer staff trainings held at Black River Middle School

What impact has OASC had on your life over the years? The biggest difference that OASC made in my life are the people that I met. Many of the same people that I attended and staffed OASC events continue to be important parts of my life. OASC led me to met the most important person in my life, my wife, Julie Luther Fitzgerald. We attended different high schools, but were on Middle Level staff members together. We began dating in March of 1999 and were married in July of 2007. We have two children, Jack and Bennett.

Nicole Kleman (OASC Delegate & Senior High Staff Member 2002 - 2006)

How did you get involved with OASC? Throughout my life I have regretted not receiving my Hogwarts acceptance letter via owlpost. It was not until recently did I discover that I got something better than Harry Potter at the age of 11. I learned the magic of OASC. Harry Potter was able to learn magic with a wand, I was able to learn how to create magic by just being myself. It was because of OASC that I understood who I was, who I am, and who I am meant to become.

What are some lessons you learned through he magic of OASC? Not a day goes by I don't think about how much of an impact those years had on me. The memories I carry with me that are most vivid are the moments throughout my camp experiences where I could look into a friend's eyes and see them looking back at me, knowing that they are accepting me for being my true self. I knew from that moment on I did not need to please anyone else, I did not need to hide my true soul, I could live my life with the passion I had kept hidden until that point. OASC taught me it is ok to be the leader I knew I was.

What are some of your favorite OASC memories? Pool parties, chants, songs, polar bear club, catharsis, Dwayne and Dwaynella, olympics, midnight chats... and so many more; all of these are precious to me. The friends I made touched my heart and have stayed with me ever since. I am so proud to say that my family has ALL attended OASC from beginning and will finish out stronger than before.

Who is someone who has inspired you? While working for Senator Sherrod Brown I was lucky enough to meet with John and Annie Glenn once a month. He has always been my hero and just reminds me of the OASC saying "Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars."

What advice do you have for current students? The magic of OASC does not cease when you get back in your car to leave your last camp. The magic of OASC is alive because we believe and we make a difference everyday.

Adam Windnagel (OASC Delegate & Middle Level Staff Member 2004 - 2009)

What was your first OASC event? I landed in the OASC world in the early morning at Super Saturday, feeling as if I were going to an extra school day. A couple classmates and I sat sleepily in the stands, but John Namey & Connie Miley weren't going to let that last. Next thing I knew I was slapping strangers' thighs singing "Dum Dum Da Da," and then within 20 minutes I was jumping up and down, screaming a fight song (for a student council organization!?!?) at the top of my lungs. I still didn't know what I was getting myself into, but it sure felt right.

What is your favorite OASC memory? Have you ever been duct-taped to a wall? I have.

What are some life lessons you took away from your time at OASC? An undisclosed OASCer whom I look up to tremendously gave me a quote that is with me today: "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't mean to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice." For a long time I believed there was a clear and straight path for me, but recently it has become foggy and winding -- yet much more interestingly fulfilling at the same time. OASC is a place where all are encouraged to find and trumpet their true colors, and I am sure that OASC gave me the courage to stray from the path I was on so that I could pave my own.

If you were talking to a student about why they should come to workshop, what would you say? I once had a delegate write to me at Summer Workshop that she only came to workshop because I told her "THEY HAVE PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST THERE." It's a cheap trick, but everyone likes pancakes...

What advice do you have for graduating students? As you live and grow away from OASC, it doesn't leave you; it becomes a part of yourself that you can go to anytime you are feeling lost, down, happy, nervous, confused -- whatever. Remember its magic and the wonder it brings. Every time I look at the moon, I'm reminded of OASC. I always wonder which OASC'ers are staring at it too somewhere else in the world and contemplating the same thing. To the moon and back.

Neena Kapoor (OASC Delegate & Staff Member 2009-2015)

Where did you graduate from, and where are you today? I graduated in 2015 from William Mason High School, and currently attend Vanderbilt University. I'm majoring in childhood development and pre-medicine.

When was the first time you felt the magic of OASC? When I attended Senior High 1. I had attended Super Saturday and a few other small events in middle school, but the summer after my freshman year I attended Senior High I & was able to build stronger relationships with people in just 5 days together than people I had known my whole life back home. I remember on the last day of workshop I felt so sad to leave these friends that were strangers just a few days before, and that's when I realized I was a part of something truly special.

What is your favorite OASC song? Fill a Heart

Why would you encourage current high school students to attend, or continue attending, OASC events? I think every student should attend an OASC event because many of our events offer important leadership skills and opportunities to build relationships with others who also are passionate leaders or hold the potential to lead. OASC brings students from all over Ohio together and allows them to interact and learn from one another. Students can learn a lot from people with different backgrounds, diversifying their relationships outside of their home and school. As a sophomore in college, I still talk about my OASC experiences, and all the opportunities for mentorship and leadership development that it provided me.

What OASC Means to Me: Miranda Werner, State Representative, Senior, Grove City HS

From my first State Conference, I knew OASC was something special. As a confused freshman, I was looking for my place in my school and my community and OASC let me realize what I can do. Anything. When I looked at the board members at my first State Conference, I knew I wanted to do that someday, and here I am. I could not have done it without all the inspiration all the other OASC events have given me over the years. With the help of OASC, I have found my place, the people who inspire me, and I am forever so thankful. TTMAB.

Recognition is an important part of any program. As an organization we want to recognize and honor the efforts and contributions that are made each year by our member schools and their students and advisors. Currently, the awards listed below are presented at our annual State Conference in April. Be on the lookout over the next few months for additional information and reminders about the application and nomination processes.

Honor Council Award - The oldest award program is the "Honor Council Award." The Honor Council Award was created to help a council measure itself against a set of concepts and materials concerning the function and operation of a successful year and fully functioning Student Council. **NEW** A council will put together a SLIDESHOW OR VIDEO of its year, then they will calculate the number of points that it earns from the application. Certificates are awarded during the Annual State Conference. DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE. For a short example of an Honor Council Slideshow, click here.

All-Ohio Student Council Member Award - While the Honor Council Award recognizes the entire council, the All Ohio award recognizes only individuals. Advisors may submit a certain number of members (depending on the size of the council) for consideration. All Ohio students are honored with a special certificate and an All-Ohio ribbon & medallion.

Five Stars Council Award - Our third award program is the Five Star Council Award. This special award is given to schools who are totally involved in all phases of the OASC program. In order to qualify, a school must send students to summer workshops, Super Saturday, Fall and Winter Retreats and State Conference.

Army of Volunteers Award - Our fourth program is the OASC Army of Volunteers Award. To be honored as such, schools are asked to submit information concerning their service work in their school and community. We honor these schools with special certificates.

Continuous Membership Award - Our fifth award program honors our members. The lifeblood of any organization is the membership. Without the continued support of the member schools, OASC could not exist. Thus, OASC honors those schools that maintain their yearly membership with a Continuous Membership Award. These awards are given at five-year intervals.

Visit the "Awards" page on the OASC website for more information!

Upcoming Events

Advisors! 15 Tips to Reduce Teacher Stress & Burnout

Did you enjoy hearing Kent Julian speak at Super Saturday? Here are 15 common-sense tips from Kent himself to help teachers reduce stress & avoid burnout!

Coming Soon - Look for OASC's NEW website on February 1st!

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iBELIEVE in partnership with the Ohio Association of Student Councils Summer Workshops 2017 - Dates & Locations

Sunday, June 18th, 1pm to Thursday, July 20th, 1pm

Ohio, West Virginia & Kentucky

SAVE THE DATE! Join us during the summer of 2017 for one of EIGHT Senior High Workshops or TWO Middle Level Workshops being offered!

Registration for Summer Workshop will open for both iBELIEVE & OASC students on March 1st. More information will follow in future newsletters with registration details & directions.

- June 18th - 22nd, West Liberty University (West Liberty, WV) - Senior High I, II & III

- June 25th - 29th, West Liberty University (West Liberty, WV) & Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH) - Senior High I, II, III, & Middle Level

- July 9 -13th, Concord University (Athens, West Virginia) & Muskingum University (New Concord, OH) - Senior High I, II, & III

- July 16th - 20th, Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY) - Senior High I ONLY, Muskingum University, (New Concord, OH) - Senior High I, II, & III

- July 23rd - 27th, Wright State University (Fairborn, OH) - Senior High I, II, III & Middle Level

We look forward to seeing you this summer! Once again, summer workshop registration will open on March 1st!