How to start a school club

STEP 1: Dream up your club

The first thing a student will need to start a school club, is the idea and purpose for the club.

“I’ve done poetry in ELP since sophomore year,” founder of the poetry club senior Andrew Mills said. “I wanted others who might not have that chance to get it in a productive environment, a club seemed the best way to do that.”

Mills started the poetry club earlier this year.

STEP 2: Find support for the group

In order to start a group the student will need to find other people interested in attending and participating in this group.

Ways to get people on board with your club is by spreading the word by asking friends, emailing people, and posting flyers.

STEP 3: Find a staff sponsor

When choosing a staff sponsor it’s good to choose a teacher or staff member you feel comfortable with and have a relationship with. Also it’s good to choose a teacher that may already have an interest in the club.

“Mr. Walker has helped me with my poetry in the past so I asked him if he would,” Mills said.

STEP 4: Fill out the forms

When a student wants to make a school club they should do is get the forms from the main office.

During the form process the student will write the clubs “constitution” meaning they will write down all the basic rules and goals of the club. The student will have to return these forms to the main office and set up an appointment with principal Brent Riessen.

“They gave me an example of a past proposal and constitution with the paperwork,” Mills said. “That kind of gave me an outline to work off. I spent about two days writing it and about a day editing after Mr. Riessen gave me feedback.”

STEP 5: First Appointment

“When talking to Mr. Riessen you have to explain why you’d like to make your activity a club instead of just a group of friends getting together for the activity,” Mills said.

Riessen will talk about the constitution, succession of the club and review any concerns he has for the club. “Part of what I look at with clubs is it’s potential at long term sustainability,” Riessen said. “You have to have a plan of succession, so when seniors graduate, who’s going to step into those roles.”

Riessen will be looking for why a student would want to be a club versus a group of people who get together outside of school.

“Its really not my job to dismiss them,” Riessen said. “If people want to do it and there’s a faculty sponsor I don’t necessarily say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ to anything other than if it was something that was sponsoring something illegal or violates someone’s rights.”

STEP 6: Get the school board on board

Once the student edits any problems Riessen may have with the constitution or paperwork he or she will have to resubmit the forms to the main office. If Riessen approves of the school club he will ask that the club be put on the agenda for the next school board meeting, where the student will have to make an appearance and explain why they should allow the student to have the club, and answer any questions they may have.

The school board will approve or dismiss the club at the next school board meeting which takes place in two to four weeks after the first reading.

“It wasn’t too bad, they’re pretty nice but you have to know your stuff for their questions,” Mills said.

Once the school board votes to approve the club, the students can start meeting for the club at their scheduled time.

Why some clubs don’t get approved

Some reasons clubs don’t get approved is for sustainability, cost and liability.

A few years ago there was a group of kids who tried to get a BMX bike club formed at the school. Their request was denied because the school could not cover the liability if someone was to get hurt.

Another club that got denied at school was a rock climbing club. This got denied because students can’t rock climb at school. It’s simply a group of kids getting together to go rock climbing and they don’t need the school to back it up.

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