Start a Club at Your School
By Stephanie Lynn, age 23, Massachusetts
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!