Merit Awards Program

The Merit Award Program (MAP) is an instructional enrichment program for students preparing for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. The program is a competency-based approach to career preparation in the career cluster/pathways identified and is based on individual member achievement accompanied with a recognition program for each member.

MAP activities correspond to the competencies needed in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management occupations. The activities progress in depth and complexity from the bronze level to the silver level and to the gold level. Activities should be planned in relation to one another, to the career field and to the career objective of the member. The DECA advisor should guide the member in the proper selection of activities based on the member’s individual needs and abilities as well as the total instructional program.

All participants must begin at the bronze level. It is imperative that all activities be reviewed and analyzed in the planning stage so that they are all meaningful and relevant to the member’s career interests. MAP should be initiated early in the school year so that members will realize the greater benefits from their involvement. 

Objectives:

  • To broaden the opportunities for DECA member recognition at the local, state, and international level.
  • To provide a means for individual member expression of initiative and creativity.
  • To motivate members to assume responsibility for self-improvement.
  • To explore the opportunities available in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.
  • To develop a greater awareness of the importance of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in the economy.
  • To increase the college and career preparedness of DECA members.

Gold level Merit Awards projects will need to be uploaded to the competition portal by the chapter advisor during the window of February 9-15, 2023.  The upload will need to be in one file that includes only Gold level activities. Complete instructions on how to upload projects will be provided in January.

 

A hard copy of the Bronze, Silver and Gold level activities must be submitted to Michigan DECA to be received by February 15, 2023 in a DECA binder or a plain white or plain blue binder where the spine does not exceed 1 inch. The original project must be mailed to the Michigan DECA office to be received by February 15, 2023. We strongly recommend shipping with a service that offers tracking of packages. Late arrivals will not be judged, so be sure that it arrives by February 15, 2023. We do not received shipments on the weekends, even if you have paid extra for the service.

 

Highlights of the Guidelines

Refer to the guidelines for complete information.

  • All students competing at the State Conference MUST be included on the chapter’s submitted conference registration before you can upload projects.
  • Gold Merit Awards Program students ARE allowed to also compete in a roleplay event that competes on Friday.
  • Only students completing all three levels will compete at the State Conference. Students completing only in the bronze and/or silver levels need to have their names and occupational areas submitted online by the deadline to receive a certificate of participation and will not compete at the State Conference.
  • The DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form (page 59 of the national DECA Guide) certifying the originality of the work must be signed by the advisor and the student before the event is submitted. The DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form must be the first page of each entry. Only those students whose name appears on the DECA Statement of Assurances and Academic Integrity form and have been included on the chapter’s registration will be allowed to compete in the event. The signature(s) must be either physical signatures or digital signatures. Typed names in a font will not be accepted as signatures.
  • All activities must be documented by: (activity cover/title pages should not be used):
    • Bronze level – include a total of 10 activities, 2 pages average = minimum length of 20 pages.
    • Silver level – include a total of 7 activities, 3 pages average = minimum length of 21 pages.
    • Gold level – include a total of 5 activities, 4 pages average = minimum length of 20 pages.
  • A team of volunteer advisors will review the projects online to access penalty points prior to the conference.  Projects with more than 30 penalty points will not be allowed to advance to the next level of competition. Those projects will be returned, and the student will not be allowed to attend the State Conference as a Gold Merit Award Participant. The registration fee will be refunded at the 50% refund rate.
  • Michigan DECA staff will upload all entries to TurnItIn.com to be screened for plagiarism. The entries will be screened by Michigan DECA staff by the end of February. Evidence of plagiarism or cheating shall result in the student being disqualified from competition. No refunds will be given for disqualified dropped students.
  • Michigan DECA will send the entries to judges that have volunteered to evaluate written events online prior to the State Conference.

 

State Conference Presentation Guidelines:

  • Participants will give a 10-minute presentation at the State Career Development Conference, which should cover the five gold level projects. The presentation will be followed by a 5-minute question and answer period.
  • The presentation begins immediately after the introduction of the participants to the judge by the adult assistant.
  • Each participant may bring a copy of the project or note cards pertaining to the project and use as reference during the presentation.
  • Only visual aids that can be easily hand carried to the presentation by the actual participant will be permitted. The participant must set up the visuals without assistance. Wheeled carts, moving straps or similar items may not be used to bring visuals into the area. Set up time is included in the total presentation time. Participants must furnish their own materials and equipment. No electrical power or internet connection will be supplied. Alternate power sources such as small generators are not allowed. Sound may be used, if the volume is kept at a conversational level.
  • Materials appropriate to the situation may be handed to or left with judges in all competitive events. Items of monetary value may be handed to but may not be left with judges. Items such as flyers, brochures, pamphlets, and business cards may be handed to or left with the judge.
  • Video may be shown during the presentation but are not to be included with the project when it is uploaded for competition. Sound may be used if the volume is kept at a conversational level.
  • Participants will not be able to use the hotel or convention center internet for their written event presentations, because that would involve asking someone else to help them with their equipment. (Refer to the presentation guidelines.) They may use an internet aircard or personal hotspot with their computer if the participants have one. But we caution that it could be difficult for participants to receive and maintain a connection due to so many people using cell phones while at the conference. If they lose connection, they will not be given additional time. Our suggestion is for anything that participants might want to reference during the presentation, to save it directly onto the computer.
  • Special consideration during the evaluation will be given for special needs students that are unable to complete the above guidelines. Such a request needs to be communicated by the chapter advisor to the Michigan DECA State Director.
  • Awards will be given to the outstanding projects and will be evaluated using the Outstanding Gold Project Evaluation form, which can be found on Michigan DECA’s website at www.mideca.org
  • Projects receiving less than 75 points will not advance on to the International Conference.

 

International Conference Screening and Competition:

  • For Gold Level Projects competing at the International Career Development Conference, all items on the State Conference guidelines apply, plus these additional points listed below:
  • If a Gold Merit Award Program delegate is elected as an incoming State Officer at the State Conference, they will NOT be allowed to compete in the Gold Merit Award Program at the International Conference.
  • If a Gold Merit Award Program delegate qualifies to attend the International Conference in another competitive event, they will NOT be allowed to compete in Gold Merit Award Program; the International DECA event has priority.
  • Projects will NOT be uploaded for competition that the International Conference. 
  • Two copies of ONLY the five gold level activities are to be turned in at the specified time and location at the International Conference. Each copy needs to be in a separate DECA written event folio [ShopDECA Link], not a binder.
  • Any project that received penalty points at the State Conference, needs to be corrected prior to being submitted at the International Conference.
  • Each project will be re-examined for penalty points at the International Conference, so please correct any penalty points that were awarded during the State Conference.
  • Two advisors will evaluate each project.
  • Participants will give a 10-minute presentation at the International Career Development Conference. The presentation should cover the five gold level projects. The presentation will be followed by a 5-minute question/answer period.
  • Participants must follow the International Conference Dress Code. This includes wearing a DECA blazer when being judged.
  • The top participants will be recognized as an outstanding project at Michigan DECA’s State Recognition Session at the International Career Development Conference.
  • The decision of the judges is final. Students and advisors are not to ask judges for justification of their scores.