It’s that time in the year when club leaders are thinking about next year. What do I do now? How can I keep my students engaged next year? Club leaders are seriously super heros! Every year they assess, reassess, plot, plan, promote, etc, etc (That’s a lot… that’s more than one etc)!! Before I start my syllabus for the year, before I send out a promotional email, or organize an open house, I need to ask myself three important questions…
When you are a club leader, every year may be a little bit different. A first year club, is very different than a club that has been around a while and has multiple veteran debaters. Further more, a speech club can look different than a debate club. Perhaps your club offers other classes, as well as Speech and Debate. Maybe your club is just for juniors. Ok- you get it… there are a lot of different types of clubs! Another big difference is the fact that most club leaders, did not realize when they were signing their students up for Speech and Debate, they were signing themselves up for Speech and Debate.
So, I ask you these questions, every year, before you begin, whether it be for the first time or the tenth…
- What are the needs of your students?
- What are you offering?
- Who is coming along with you?
What are the needs of your students?
When I say your, I mean YOUR… your individual child or children’s needs. Many club leaders are parents, and before meeting the needs of everyone in your community, you should look at the needs of your own kids and make that a priority. What do your kids want, what do they want to explore? This does not necessarily mean you are going to be the Teacher, but it will give you are starting ground to what you will need in order to execute a plan. Once you understand your kids needs, you can then find out if they have friends that would be interested. This could be a coffee date with a friend, or something a little more formal like an info meeting. Again, once you assess the the general interest in your home and community you will be able to have an idea of the opportunities you can offer. However, that still doesn’t doesn’t mean it’s all on you!
What are you offering?
So, now that you know what people are interested in, now you need to create a plan! What does the schedule look like? Do you have a facility? Do you start small and meet in a home? This too, is completely adaptable! Every Speech and Debate Club is extremely different! Some meet weekly, others meet every other. Some clubs offer only Speech, some Debate only. Some have junior programs, some Extemp or Apol. Honestly, again because you are the conductor of this train… you get to decide where you are going to go!! Think about that before heading into the next question. Assess what are your needs, and what do you want to offer before heading into who are you inviting along for the ride!
Who is coming along with you?
Depending on your perspective, the more could be merrier or three could be a crowd!? Creating a club and a community can be a lot of fun, but a lot of work. What friends do you want to enlist to help in this endeavor? I have seen awesome relationships come out of clubs. Let’s be honest, I’ve seen students married, friends for life, and roommates. But it’s the club leaders and adult connections that are equally sweet. Make sure you are all on the same page, create goals for your club. Do what works for you. Eventually, your club may grow, you may end up with a board, bi-laws, and structure. However, each year it is good to assess, and remember the three questions you started with!
In the end, leading or starting a club can be a great joy. Lasting Impact! salutes the club leaders for being ever so faithful to the future generations. If you are a club leader, and want to use Lasting Impact! as a resource for your club, we are happy to do Club Partnership Discounts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Many club leaders use our articles, Worksheets, materials, or videos to teach from. We plan on creating a new weekly syllabus this year (using our site, articles, and materials). Lasting Impact! has over 400 articles all about Speech and Debate. We are honored to come alongside you and your students.