Distributive Education was started in Georgia during the 1943-1944 school year with programs in Atlanta, Fulton County, Augusta, and Macon. These four programs had a total of 256 students. During the next two years, Georgia had its first club convention in Macon, organized a State Board of Directors, and produced its first issue of Trade Winds, the state newsletter.
In 1946-47, the National Club, called the Distributive Club, was organized in Memphis, Tennessee, with the assistance of Georgia Distribute Education. Georgia sent one student delegate to this conference. At the second national convention, the name was changed to the Distributive Education Clubs of America, and Georgia won four first places.
Due to the inception of new DECA clubs (now called chapters), Georgia DECA grew by approximately 300 members in the next decade. In 1950, there were 546 members, and in 1960 there were 838 members. Also worthy of mention, during this period of time, Nellie Towns, Rome Distributive Education Club, represented Distributive Education before the U.S. Senate Committee, and the Officers’ Training Conference became an annual event.
Georgia continued to play an active role at the national conventions. From 1950 to 1960, Georgia had seven national officers and eighteen national award winners. At the 1960 National Leadership Conference, the Valdosta club was named the Outstanding Distributive Education Club in the United States.
In 1992, the Distributive Education Clubs of America was changed to DECA, An Association of Marketing Students. This change corresponded to the expanding role of marketing, management, and merchandising in the career sector.
Membership in Georgia DECA has continued to grow. In 2013-2014, there were 138 chapters and 11,540 members. Over 1800 members continually attend and compete at the State Career Development Conference and more than 650 members attend the International Career Development Conference. Georgia is currently the 3rd largest membership state in the National DECA organization.
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