Building Strong Student Organizations:day2

Once we got our organizations up and running with different officers momentum began to build. We constant organizational meetings on some days and none on others. All too often as advisors we heard the phrase “I have…so can I….” Or “I can’t attend the meeting because….”

We tried many variations of scheduling meetings. First we started with simply writing it in a calendar and trying to “avoid” others. Given that most advisors are type A people, this was not impactful. Most struggled to see beyond their own groups.

Then we worked to split our activity period in half. One group met first, another second. Only 2 groups per day. While groups were well intentioned, we found that often the first went over and then a similar group of kids ran from one meetings to another with the second having little time.

After three years of struggling with this we came to where we are now, a scheduled calendar. The schedule is set at the start of the year. If you don’t need a meeting, you delete it si the day is open.

There are two sides to this change. A) You get your time, each month, to do what you need to do B) Some groups need to meet more often because they were so busy or had events just at certain times of year. The latter made the calendar tough but also emphasized its importance.

More importantly it made us, as staff, communicate. For example the weeks before homecoming student council is busy. However, deep in January, there isn’t much to do. If another meeting was needed sending an email and simply asking often worked.

The true test came the day that multiple organizations scheduled on the same day. The group initially designated that day kept it, the others were told they needed to reschedule the meeting.

Initially I thought this is good, kids don’t have more than one meetings. However, the schedule is publically available. It has given parents the opportunity to discuss organizations with their students and encourage them to attend. It has helped kids schedule work.

Honestly-it is one of the biggest reasons I see for the great growth in our student groups. Kids know what is going on, when, and how often. In some ways-it just makes sense!