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Starting Your Own Club? Must-Knows for the Upcoming School Year

Student Life

How exciting! You are on the first step of founding a school club: researching and learning about the topic itself. Starting one can often be challenging when establishing it and hosting meetings throughout the year. Becoming a potential club founder means you accept the hardships that come with forming your community: sacrificing free time to plan, having low attendance during some meetings, and even occasionally missing lunch. There are many pieces of advice I wish I had known as a brand new club owner last year, so prepare for them to be passed down to you.

1. Find a Subject You Are Passionate About

Of course, a club must always have a subject. It does not matter if the meeting plans or the club name and mission statement change. There is always a level of organization revolving around any topic(s). Identify a cause, movement, or campaign you are passionately willing to represent. Here are a few questions to reflect upon:

  • Where do you draw motivation from?
  • Do you have experience or prior knowledge to educate others on a topic?
  • Are you an active member or an advocate of your movements/cause?
  • Do you have a backup plan to achieve your goals if your club members are not present at times?

If you find yourself able to effectively answer at least three of them, then you are likely to form a strong basis. If not, that’s okay! Answering and attempting to satisfy these inquiries pinpoint your position. Be sure to use this to your advantage.

2. Choose Your Type of Club

There are several different kinds of clubs that you could choose from to classify yours. Typically, the type of club that you are creating (religious, community service, lifestyle, et cetera) corresponds with the action needed to accomplish your goals related to a hobby or cause. For instance, if you wish to connect with students to learn how to crochet, then the crochet club would be purely recreational and crafty. While your crochet club would meet to pursue mastering the craft, community service-based clubs would instead gather at volunteer sites specific to an issue within the community.

Be sure to manage your time and suggest activities that meet the majority of your members’ schedules. Being a student and a club owner requires serious determination and responsibility. In addition, your classmates and peers may prefer to join specific types of clubs over others. These preferences often depend on what clubs have to offer them in return for their participation, effort, and commitment. Keep this in mind when brainstorming any future events or designing flyers.

3. Planning: Vital Information

Frequently, high-achieving students place pressure on themselves without reflecting on possible hardships that interfere with their goals. It is crucial to determine if you have the time commitment and dedication required to run a long-term club. Here is some information to review:

  • Who are your potential recruiters/club officers and club ambassadors?
  • Have you already found potential volunteer sites or opportunities if you are running a community service-based club?
  • When will your meetings occur- during or after school hours?

Perhaps, the most significant of all factors involved in the planning process is forming a backup plan. Members may feel discouraged to participate in your club if it lacks convenient meeting time stamps or recommendations. Therefore, try answering the questions listed above with two separate pairs of responses in case your original plan fails in the future.

4. Applying for a Club

After you have outlined the structure and purpose of your club, you may be required to fill out an application form. The previous sections’ questions were designed to serve as a starting guide for the applications, but since every school district functions differently, its effectiveness is not guaranteed. Plan accordingly!

If possible, attempt to review the club's application a week before its due date. Jot down parts of the form which were unclear or misleading. Answer all questions and steps with concise, detailed language. This step tends to be quicker, easier, and above all, heart-pounding. You can do this!

5. Get Sponsored, Partnered, or Recognized!

If your club is officially approved after its reviewing process, welcome to the fantastic world of being a club leader! You now have the opportunity to make others smile, improve lives, spread awareness, and so much more. Your demonstration of the potential for positive influences will empower your members and spark interest in other clubs.

Chances are you have previously met a club owner at least once in your school experience, whether or not you were consciously aware of it. One of the beauties of communities and friendships is a higher chance of working together. Reach out to club owners with similar passions to offer collaboration. Additionally, researching organizations that encourage youth involvement can help your club achieve objectives and flourish.

The process of establishing a strong community is a tedious, but rewarding one. Best wishes!

Kelly Halliburton
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Kelly Halliburton is a sophomore member of the Creative Writing Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She enjoys writing poetry, volunteering, and reading. As the founder of a community service-based club, Empowerment for the Youth, she aspires to project meaningful ideas in the community.