Start a Club at Your School

By Stephanie Lynn, age 23, Massachusetts
SDM Editor-in-Chief

For some of us it's hard to choose which of the hundreds of diverse clubs to join. When I was in high school there were plenty of clubs to join, but not very many of particular interest to me. So I decided to start my own group.

If you have a few supportive friends and faculty, as well as a few other key resources, it can be a relatively simple process to get started. My hope is that this article will encourage you to quit slouching in your desk and get active! Please keep in mind that every school does things differently, but here are some basic tips:

1) Decide what your club will be about. That sounds easy enough, but remember to be inclusive in deciding the topic and name of your club. Whatever you decide, make sure you keep the topic broad like "creative writing". A club that strictly analyzes the works of an unknown writer may not catch a whole lot of interest. Also, remember that it also can't be something offensive, like "I Hate John Smith".

My friends and I decided to start a Christian prayer group when I was a junior, which I continued through my senior year.

2) Find other people who are interested. Your school most likely will not let you start a club if there are only two or three of you interested. Jot down the names of interested students on a piece of paper with some of the days and times they're available to meet. I suggest collecting at least 10 names.

When we started our prayer group, we had a list of at least 12 people to begin. I asked my friends to see if any of their friends would be interested as well to lightly spread the word. This will show school officials that others will attend your meetings, and they will take you seriously.

3) Decide how meetings will be conducted. What are you going to do at each meeting? For example, creative writing exercises, discussions, contests, planning a trip, and so on. Lay out a few basic ideas. You can always brainstorm more when you find other interested students and start having meetings. Always be open to new ideas.

We decided to meet once a week before the start of school. We kept our meetings simple and used the time to find out how everyone's weeks were going, and, of course, pray.

4) Find an adult to supervise or monitor your meetings. At my school that person could be a teacher, faculty member, member of the community, or parent.

We were thankful to have a local youth pastor (who was also the assistant boys' soccer coach) to monitor our meetings.

5) Find a faculty advisor to support your group. Even though you've found an adult to monitor your meetings, you'll most likely also need a faculty advisor. This person never or rarely needs to set foot inside a meeting, but when you meet with your principal, vice-principal, or whomever, they'll definitely ask for one.

One of my friends knew a faculty member who was a Christian. She thought we had a great idea for a club. If he or she believes in your purpose, they'll most likely back you.

6) Ask for permission. At my school, I needed to request permission from my principal. The next year I was referred to the vice-principal. Talk with one of your school secretaries to find out with whom you should set up a meeting. Make sure you take all of the information you've collected to your meeting. It's also good to have a meeting location in mind, as well as the day and time you'd like to use the room. If you don't get a 'yes' on the spot, you may need to set up a second meeting to finalize everything.

This can be rather intimidating for some. I was very shy and quiet when I was a junior, so talking with a principal was a little scary at first. But if you go in there with a great idea and a calm but clear passion you'll make it a little harder for them to say no. Believe me, if I could do this as shy as I was back then, you can do it too!

7) Spread the word! Yay! Once you've gotten permission, then you need to let people know about your awesome new club. Request an announcement that can repeat every week on the day of your meeting. Your announcement doesn't need to be fancy. And feel free to change it up when you have something new and cool to promote. Also, encourage your group members to invite their friends and acquaintances who may be interested.

Our announcement was very simple: "There will be a prayer meeting tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM outside the auditorium. All are welcome to attend." Okay, not so exciting. I'm sure you can do better!!

I believe I've covered the basics pretty well, but each school does things a little bit differently. Before beginning the process of starting a club at your school, I highly suggest talking with a school secretary about what's involved. Be creative and have some fun!

Good luck,
Stephanie Lynn

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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