Finding Adult Support At Your School For Your Student/Youth-led Club
Although youth-led clubs are the model that will bring the most success to your efforts, in most cases your club/team will also need some level of consistent adult support at their school. Adult advisors help to ensure your ability as youth leaders to successfully navigate your school’s process and requirements for starting up a club, and help you access the resources necessary for your club’s success.
Most clubs will benefit from having a permanent adult advisor. This can be a teacher, school counselor, administrator, or any other school staff person. In some cases, a parent volunteer can fill this role if there is also someone at the school willing to be an official liaison for your group. To find an adult advisor, you might start by talking to a teacher, counselor, or administrator you think would be willing to advise, or who can offer guidance in getting started. Even if they cannot be your club’s advisor, they can help you deal with any “red tape” in setting up your club, and potentially help you to identify and recruit a permanent advisor.
Recruiting Other Students To Your Club
The long-term success of your club depends on recruiting enough youth members to allow the club to take on and successfully complete its identified projects and other activities. A good way to start recruitment is old fashioned word of mouth. Reaching out to your friends, and asking them to share information about your new club with their other friends can help you identify at least a small core membership to build on. Find out if/when your school has a “club fair”, and sign up for a table—PSS staff can provide you with flyers, posters, and presentation materials to help promote the program.
Another way to jumpstart recruitment is to hold an orientation/recruitment meeting. In an effort to increase attendance at the meeting, it is a good idea to promote it through your school’s morning announcements. You might also utilize your school’s newspaper, or online zine. It is a good idea to explore other ways to get the word out that are specific to your school.
Developing Your Club’s “Mission Statement”
One important tool in recruiting is being able to easily answer the questions “why are we starting this club? What will we be doing?”. Before holding a general recruitment meeting it is a good idea for your core members to come up with one or two sentences (no more than one paragraph) that describes why you all think your club is important and what you want to accomplish in with the club.
Deciding On A Structure For Your Club
Once you hold a recruitment meeting, your newly formed group will need to decide together how your club will operate. When and how often will you meet? How will your club make decisions (by majority vote, consensus)? What kind of leadership structure will your club have?
Celebrating Your Successes And Learning From Your Challenges
It is important to take time to celebrate even your small successes (new members, a successful event) as your new club is growing and developing. When your club encounters challenges or an activity is not as successful as you’d hoped it would be, it is important not to get discouraged. Make sure your members take time to talk about what worked well and what didn’t for any activity of your club, and record this information for future reference. This will help you learn how you want to adjust your planning and organizing efforts in the future. At the end of each year, it is important to recognize the efforts of everyone who helped your club in any way (members, adult allies, community partners, etc.) and make a plan for how you hope to grow in the next year.