As a speech and debate club leader, I love finding out about how different clubs started or how they work. Being a club leader can be challenging at times, but oh so rewarding!! Here is what my friend, Janet McKay, from North Carolina had to say about her club – Logos…
Tell us a little bit about your club.
Sure! Logos NC is about to begin its third year, and we’ve been having a lot of fun. We meet weekly on Wednesdays in Wake Forest, NC, just north of Raleigh, and we currently offer LD, TP, and speech, including apologetics and extemp. We alternate weeks between speech and debate, and we have a leadership team of 5 moms, but everyone pitches in to help.
What prompted you to consider starting an area club?
Well, our first two years we belonged to a large and very well organized club about 45 minutes from home. After that experience, my husband and I were SOLD on speech and debate for our family, but looking into the future, I was seeing that long drive (often over an hour to get home in rush hour traffic) each week for the next ten years… and that was depressing! Also, my kids and I were gaining some wonderful friendships, but everyone was so far away. I wanted us to develop community where WE lived, and I hoped others from our area would be interested.
What were the first steps you took to begin planning and recruiting families?
First, I put out feelers. I thought, “Boy, if we could just get ten kids to do this with us, that would be great!” So around April I sent a message to my local homeschool group asking if anyone was interested, and I briefly described what the activity was. I was shocked at the response! I got dozens of replies in just a couple of days, and I quickly realized that there was a need in our area for something like this (competition without sports!). So then I planned an interest meeting, which was something our previous club had done each year. I sent another message to my homeschool circles announcing a date, time, and place for people to come and learn more about speech and debate. Our former club was SO helpful to me. They gave me their interest meeting materials, including a professional slide show, to help me know what to say. I was also very excited, and I’ve been told that my excitement was contagious! So many people came to that meeting, that I ended up having another one to accommodate those who couldn’t make the first one.
How did you find help to lead the new club?
Since it was clear this would be a larger club than I’d anticipated, I started asking for leadership help from some of my friends who had shown interest. Most had never done speech and debate but were very willing to help me. And God brought me just the right people. In fact, one mom (from another region) heard I was starting a club and had just moved to our area, and she asked if she could help. It was definitely a Godsend to have another experienced Speech and Debate mom in leadership, since almost everyone else was a novice!
What steps did you take to get things up and running?
That’s a fun story. Our first year, we only offered LD and speech (no limited prep) because that’s all my children had done and all I knew anything about! But the first thing we needed was a facility to hold 20 families on a weekly basis, with enough classroom to allow for practicing speeches and debates. As any club leader will tell you, that is tough. Here we had recruited all these people, gotten everyone excited, and had nowhere to meet! Normally, this would have stressed. me. out. But somehow I knew God had a place waiting for us, even though we were hearing a lot of “no”s or exorbitant facility fees. Even my husband was amazed at the peace I had about finding a facility! Well, one of the interested families had a connection with the local seminary (who had already told me no) and called the undergraduate dean. This mom, Eileen, called down fire from heaven and convinced the undergraduate dean to let us use an entire building. For FREE! I still get teary thinking about the day I got that call! Once the location, day, and time were settled, I asked for HELP! My former club, SpeakOut NC, gave me lots of advice and piles of their materials, which helped tremendously!! One of their board members, Sue Gray, even offered to host a speech and debate “boot camp” for us in the summer. I began communicating with all the new members via email, and met with the leadership team to plan a schedule.
What advice would you give to those considering starting a club in their area?
I would say, pray and act. If God is giving you a little nudge, act on it and watch Him work! You don’t have to be an expert at speech and debate (I certainly wasn’t!), and you don’t have to go big – just 3 or 4 families meeting in homes would be a great place to start, especially if you don’t live in a place with gobs of homeschoolers like where I live. Then, find a friend or two to help, and use the resources of those around you. Other club leaders are SO willing to help, because we all see the value in more students being raised up to speak Truth for His kingdom. Use Lasting Impact’s resources (such a wealth of info and inspiration!), and that’s really all you need to get going. It’s like homeschooling – if you can read, you can teach. Learn together with the kids and watch the blessings flow!
You too, could be an inspiration! Share your story with us! Our Lasting Impact! readers would love to hear how your club started or how it works! Do you have a question or questions you would like us to tackle? You are always welcome to contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org Remember, we are here for you- You Got This!