By Madison Hahnen

My first experience at DECA CLA was 100% a positive one. The memories created will definitely be unforgettable, and the bond created within our chapter will be unbreakable. My experiences that I had while I was in New York City, between touring Madison Square Garden and hearing a presentation from the CEO of M&M productions, will help me over my next 3 and half years here at Bryant, and will allow me to use skills I learned in the real world after I graduate.

The tour of Madison Square Garden was a childhood dream come true of mine. Ever since I was little, I have had a passion for learning everything I could about sports, and to be able to see the exclusive parts of one of the sports world’s most iconic arenas is something that I am forever grateful for. It was incredible to see all the hard work that is put in day in and day out to make the garden the best that it can be. We got to hear in detail about some of the garden’s most historical events, and see actual pieces of the event right in front of our eyes, including the shoe that Knick’s basketball player Willis Reed wore in his championship game comeback from injury. My favorite part of Madison Square Garden was the interactive Garden 366, a touch screen display that allowed you to select a certain date, and it would show you what happened in the arena on that day. I want to thank everyone in Madison Square Garden who welcomed us with open arms and showed us everything the historic arena had to offer.

Besides the business side of things, the most amazing experience of CLA in my opinion was the bond that I got to create with my fellow chapter members. Whether we were out to dinner, exploring the sights of NYC, or just hanging out in someone’s hotel room, we were always laughing along with one another and we all become a really close family over the span of just the three short days we were there. I spoke to some of my fellow chapter members about their experience, and this is what they had to say;

Katie Ball- “CLA this year was definitely one for the books. It was a pleasure being able to plan, execute and reflect on such an amazing weekend with the best Bryant students. From being able to network with DECA members and partners, to exploring the sights of NYC, CLA this year was one weekend I will not forget. I wish to carry what I learned during this experience to competition in Anaheim!”

Katie Connelly- “I loved CLA because it provides me the chance to learn from other DECA students and chapters. I get to fully immerse myself and helps prepare me for both regionals and nationals. Plus who doesn’t love all of the bonding that happens within their own chapter??”

Jared McDonald- “DECA CLA was an awesome experience. I made some great contacts and had a lot of fun doing it.”

Ryan McDonough- “CLA was a great way to meet people from DECA at Bryant as well as from other schools. It was also a great way to practice presenting and collaborating with other group members. Overall, I had a great experience.”

DECA CLA 2016 will live with us forever and we will always be able to carry with us the memories created, and I can’t wait to see what CLA 2017 has in store.