Top Five Secrets of Effective Large Clubs
by Katie Ki
- Leverage the power of the small group. Large clubs run most smoothly when almost everything is done in small group format: from check in, to snack, to games, to check out. Even during the 10-15 minute large group lesson, kids sit with their SGL. That leaves 85% of the club time to be done in small groups. This helps to foster caring relationships and manage behavior. It also allows the club to meet in multiple spaces in the school, which means it can grow larger than any one space can accommodate.
- Raise the fun factor! Make your club more fun for kids and leaders. The more your kids and volunteers enjoy being there, the more likely they will want to stay, and the easier it will be to draw in new people. Use ideas from the CKC curriculum or ask your coach for suggestions on raising the fun factor at your club.
- Make kids want to behave. It’s easy for a club of 50+ kids to feel somewhat chaotic. One key to making a larger club run smoothly is to implement an easy-to-use behavior reinforcement system that every leader can use at any time. The ticket system is our favorite. It’s crucial that all leaders stick with it each week to make it effective! Also, kids need to know the consequences for repeated disrespect, and leaders need to enforce those consequences when necessary. A surefire way to see a decline in attendance is to allow bad behaviors to continue and spoil the fun for others.
- Lead as a team. Everyone on the team shares responsibilities and fills roles. A club in which the team leader does it all is not built to be large, nor is it likely to be a long term success. Check out the The CKC Dream Team list for ideas on how to build your team for maximum impact.
- Make it feel small. I once heard a SGL say, “I don’t want any kids in my group to leave without at least three hugs.” While you may not be a hugger, large clubs only work when groups are small enough for each kid to feel they belong and that they are truly heard and known by their SGL. That is only accomplished when groups are consistent and small.