Running a Club (while also having a life) By: Rikki Eskelund

Rikki Eskelund participated in Speech and Debate for six years as a competitor. Yet after she graduated, while going to college, and working, still found time to run a Speech and Debate Club!! There is a huge need for clubs in all areas. If a working, college student can do it- so can you! Here are Rikki’s tips for running a club, while still having a life…

“I would love to but unfortunately I’m just too busy.”

How many times have you heard that excuse? How many times has that been your excuse?

Running (or even just coaching) a club is no easy task. It takes time, commitment and a whole lot of organization. But it is probably one of the most rewarding things you can invest your time in. Below are a few tips for balancing a speech and/or debate club and personal activities.

Tip 1: Pre-planning

My mom always told me that summer was the best time to write speeches. While I don’t think I ever actually accomplished that, it was a good piece of advice. In the same way summer is the best time for getting your club organized, planned and ready to roll for the next semester. Set aside a few afternoons, treat yourself to some delicious coffee and crank out a game plan! You will thank yourself for it once you get started with the school year. You could always just use Lasting Impact’s pre-done syllabus using Vol. 1.;)

Tip 2: Be Honest

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that honesty is the best policy and that applies to this situation as well! Don’t make excuses, but be honest with your club about what you have going on. They are humans and they will understand. Last year I was running a Team Policy club while also in my Junior year of college and working 30-35 hours a week. Being honest about my other commitments from the very start made everyone more understanding when midterms and finals came along.

Tip 3: Don’t Run Alone

More than likely there are people in your club who are more than willing to help, they just don’t know what to do. Remember that you don’t have to do everything! Have people volunteer to teach a lesson or prepare a devotion. These are simple ways to involve members of your club and reduce the stress on yourself. If you know you have a busy week coming up see if someone can lead the club for you. This is another area where that pre-planning is very useful when you get into the year 😉

Tip 4: Roll With The Punches

My extreme type A personality operates most days on a fairly strict schedule. I like to know exactly when and where things are happening. But running a club taught me that it’s more important to be present and involved than to have everything planned out. Some weeks you might have 20 kids show up and the next week there might only be 2. Having a prepared lesson might make you more confident as a leader, but never be too prideful to switch up the plan. There were several nights where the students I coached would rather do practice debates instead of listening to a lesson. In the end you just have to be able to adapt!

The most important thing for you to know as a club leader is that you totally got this! Whether it’s your first year or tenth year running a club- be open to the possibilities and experiences that are ahead of you. Always be willing to reach out to others – I know Heather and Kristi (aka Mom and Momma Neu) are always there to answer any questions or just give you the encouragement that you need. I wish you all the best of luck with your club endeavors!

Would you believe Lasting Impact! loves to form partnerships with Speech and Debate Clubs? Yes! You can use our site as a club resource! Think about it!!! Your club members will have access to 200 hundred articles, videos, notified of online workshops, and so much more. This can help you from reinventing the wheel. By bringing your club families to Lasting Impact!, we can you give you a package deal. Contact us to learn more and if you have any questions! Also, remember, Lasting Impact! will allow club leaders to use their articles to teach with (you may want to get a hard copy of Vol. 1 or Vol. 2).

Rikki Eskelund is one the Coaches for Lasting Impact! and although she has competed in almost every event and is a Duo Champion, she prefers to coach Platforms and Interps. She believes she can help you with creative blocking to make those Interps pop! Her experience is a huge asset. Schedule a coaching session with Rikki today!