Youth-oriented clubs are a great way to engage children in creative, enriching activities. Regular, prolonged participation will help the kids build teamwork, interpersonal and time management skills. Specialized clubs may even influence life-long hobbies or career choices in many of them. The work required for starting a club for children is well worth the benefit of positively affecting their lives for years to come.
Decide what the nature of the club will be. This task may complete itself if many children have expressed the desire for a particular type, such as theater, sports, chess or dance. Determine how often club meetings will be held so you can plan accordingly.
Secure a meeting place for the club. If you are an educator, inquire about the usage of school facilities with the administration as these will be the most safe, convenient places for caregivers to bring their children to. Community centers, churches and private residences (with the owner's permission) are also viable options.
Create membership documents to distribute to each potential club member for future reference. These include membership agreements, schedules, permission slips, medical release and emergency contact forms. The latter two are especially crucial since you will be working with minor children.
Plan daily club activities and long-term excursions. Although this will depend on the type of club you start, it is wise to devise activities for each meeting at least three to four weeks in advance. This way you will have back-up options in case of outside influences such as inclement weather, personal illness or fluctuating membership numbers.
Hold the club's first meeting. Facilitate introductions and ice breaker games, and provide the children with information regarding what they can expect from the club as well as the rules and responsibilities they must honor as a member. All of the required paperwork should be handed in from each child by this time, but make sure you have indeed received these documents.
- If you expect large membership numbers (8+), enlist the help of a qualified adult or teenager for planning and running the club.
- Acquire all necessary materials and equipment for the club during step 3. You may be able to borrow or receive many of these things from willing school departments and non-profit organizations.
- Don't start a club for children if you don't have the time necessary to run it.
- Don't allow consistently uncooperative children to test your patience. Membership is a privilege; parents should know that their child's participation is dependent upon good behavior.
- Meeting place
- Release forms
- image from http://www.canterbury.nsw.gov.au