Starting A Club

Have your kids ever pretended to have a book club? What about a kite club? Ours have! When school started last year, they asked me about hosting a club once again and I thought, “Why not?” Art was the only area I really felt we’d all have fun with. You should never try to tackle something you don’t have an intense desire to do, or at least have a strong desire to learn about. And so the Opia Homeschool Art Club was born.

For years, hosting any kind of regular meeting seemed like such a daunting task. I knew I would get little help from other homeschool moms in this area. We’re all so very busy and it’s a rural area so we’re several miles away from each other. I knew I’d have to be OK with taking on the bulk of the responsibilities.

We sat down with our girls and tossed around a few ideas and came up with a fair amount to ask in dues and a safe age range which would allow us to try some of the more advanced media. The part I didn’t ask their help with was the rules and member guidelines. (I’d share mine here but mine were specific to our needs. That will vary by group and the area you live in.) The following list might help if you are considering starting a club.

Things To Consider In Starting A Club

  • Topic of Focus – As I said above, don’t choose a topic you have no interest in. You’re going to be meeting several times each year and discussing this topic every single time. It’s best to be as general as possible to give the members room to be creative.
  • Responsible Party(ies) – Who’s going to be responsible for all the things that a club entails? Reminders, scheduling, newsletter, advisor(s), social media etc. all need to be decided before you start because you may be the only one dealing with all those items. I take care of those things this year because I ended up doing all of it before the year was up last year. Don’t try to tackle more than you can handle!
  • Guidelines/Mission Statement/Rules – You need some kind of written list of rules so the potential members know what’s involved in joining the club and what the boundaries are. It makes club meetings run more smoothly when everyone knows what’s expected of them.
  • Club Officers or Not? – Will your club have officers? If so, you will need an officer handbook outlining what each officer’s job is, what they will be expected to do. The club advisor should be the person holding the officers accountable and pointing them back in the right direction if they are trying to cut corners.
  • Dues – Most clubs have dues but it isn’t necessary in all cases. If your club members bring their own supplies and you trade off snack duty with the other parents, maybe you don’t need to ask for membership dues. Some things you might need dues for: rent a meeting room, snack fund, field trips, visiting demonstrators, supplies for the meetings, club t-shirts, and/or contests/prizes.
  • How will others benefit? – What will the potential members gain from joining your club? My main objective was to provide an environment that was not nerve-wracking in which all the club members would be comfortable in presenting their own demonstrations to the other members. I also wanted to give the members an opportunity to learn the responsibilities of working together as a team and what it meant to be a leader.
  • Conflict Resolution – In any group, there will be a conflict. It may not happen very often, but it will happen. If you aren’t good with conflict resolution, then I recommend taking a class or asking any parents who are good at it to be on hand. I’m not so good at it, but my husband is.
  • Social Media – You’ll need to decide if you want to create pages on a social media website for your group. Before you do, think about the age range of your group and whether or not it will be for the parents of the group, for the members, or for both. I opted out of a facebook page and chose to host a forum on Lefora.com. I chose this site because I already had some experience with it and I knew I’d be able to protect it with a password. I felt it was a safer environment than facebook and it also meant I didn’t have to visit facebook when I didn’t really want to go there.
  • Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – You’re going to find that any plan you create will need some tweaking. Don’t feel like it’s a complete failure if you couldn’t plan for every eventuality! Just make a note and add it into the plan…or take away the problem area from within the plan. Whatever you do, don’t give up after only one year. This is something I’m learning this year.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. These are some of the things I considered before starting the club. Once your list is complete, you can see at a glance which direction you’ll need to go from there.

Our club meets once a month from September through May. We try to ask local artists and artisans to present their art to our members and give them tips and pointers. We offset those demonstrations with club members presenting an art form they find interesting. Last year we had officers. This year I thought it was too much for our very small group. We only have 5 members and while we kept the treasurer’s position, we set the other positions aside for now. I hope we’ll be able to continue with our club but finding a date that works for everyone who’s interested has been difficult. In the end, I had to go with a date that worked for my family since we host most of the meetings at our home.

Starting a club and keeping it going is a big challenge but it’s definitely worth it. Our girls really enjoy meeting with other students and creating art with them. It’s been very good for both of them. TheShi has done a demonstration on watercolor painting. Another of our members did a demonstration on whittling and we’ll have a guest demonstrator coming in next month to talk about video manipulation. Because art is such a vast topic, we could cover anything from music, to film, to building, to writing and any other topic in which the imagination is used to create something meaningful for the enjoyment of others.

Is there a topic of interest to your kids in which they and others could benefit from the introduction of a club? Why not give it a try?

2015-12-16-17-59-01

Work in pencil and pastel by members in our art club in 2015 – photo by Melody Kittles

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