This is an article from YANGster Wrap Volume 7 published by the Young Autocare Network Group.

The article is written by Sophia Coll, Vice President of Universial Air Conditioner, Inc.

The Next Step Program is an application based scholarship organized by the Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) and funded by YANG and the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA). This scholarship allows young people in the industry to attend Leadership Days free of cost. It is an invaluable opportunity to gain first-hand experience of how the various committees in the Auto Care Association function, and to understand what industry-related issues its leaders find most important. In addition to financial support, the Next Step program offers many other means of support to its participants throughout the weekend’s events.

As a “Next Stepper,” I was welcomed to all committee meetings and was even asked for comments and feedback by committee members during several of the open sessions. I was invited to participate in the YANG board meetings, during which we engaged in forum-style discussions about issues such as internships, recruitment and even a focus group on branding with GMMB, the organization tasked with updating the image of the auto care industry. These initial discussions were not only valuable because of the content, but it also provided an instant network and sense of community amongst the “Next Steppers” that pervaded throughout the following days.

This community feeling was re-enforced by the programming added for Next Steppers throughout Leadership Days, such as a YANG Dinner and Orientation Breakfast with guest speakers. These events allowed us to network internally, as well as prepare and ask questions about the upcoming committee events and how they worked. I would recommend applying to the Next Step Program to any young person interested in becoming more involved in our industry. It is the perfect way to learn about the various committees of the Auto Care Association and, as Bobby Segal aptly explained in our Orientation Breakfast, to create relationships with the people that will be running their companies one day, so that we can pick up the phone and know the person on the other line.

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