We all have those parents, right? The ones who show up, the ones who you can go to, the ones who come to you if they need something...just those awesome parents that are involved at the Club. This could be one family, or maybe you're lucky enough to have a few! Just take a look at the two beauts in the picture above. Ms. Kelaree and Ms. Andrea are what I call OG parents. These Original Gangstas have been at the Club since its opening in 2015. We have watched their kids grow up, been a part of their lives, and laughed countless times at the expense of each other.
They were a huge part of the inspiration for a Parent Club Council. I am so blessed to have a number of parents, guardians, or families that are superstars! In an effort to improve Family Plus programming and family participation, we decided to start a Parent Club Council. This council is similar to a PTA for a school and many families seemed generally eager to be a part of it. Caveat: I am fully aware, as I am typing, "Parent" might not be the best word for some Clubs...maybe just Club Council or Guardians of the Club, or something cool like that.
Anyhoo, attendance is always difficult as our families have a million and one things happening in their lives, so these simple tips can help your council be as effective as possible:
Quarterly In-Person Meetings
Finding available times to meet as a group is always difficult. Limiting the number of in-person meetings is important. Also, it forces you to be more efficient with your meetings and encourages you to keep communication coming via alternative methods.
GroupMe/Email/Letter Communication & Updates
Several families have access to a cell phone. The GroupMe app will be a vital tool for your council. You can group text, post items, set calendars, and more. Best part, it is free! If families have regular email access, this is also a great method. For families without regular access to these things, simple update letter at the front desk for each council member is a great way to keep parents up to date with needs, events, etc.
Incentives & Recognition
I am not above bribery. I do it all the time. Offer incentives for time committed to the Parent Club Council. These incentives could range to food provided at meetings to small gift card raffles throughout the year. Also, recognize those who go above and beyond. This is not hard and goes a long way. We all like to be recognized for our work! Parents are no different. Feel free to use this award template. The first one is generic and the second is the one we use. I can edit for your Club too, just shoot me a message!
Again, parents are busy.
Make their commitment to your Club as easy as possible. For example, our Parent Club Council meetings are held during our family nights. we keep them short and sweet to allow parents to spend time with their kiddos. We also host them during family nights because we can offer supervision for their kids while we take up some of their time! You could also try to provide dinner at these meetings, or an extra activity for kids to participate in if you are not hosting a family night.
Guess what? Club directors are also busy.
I know, shocking right? Also, I am not fully sure this GIF works here, but it makes me laugh so hard, so get outta my face about it. RIP C. Far! Officers are a great way to help expedite your council. Just like a PTA president, a Parent Club Council president could serve as a liasion and make sure the council gets the information they need! We have decided, for the first year, to only have a president, but you could easily have a president, vp, and secretary, especially if you anticipate the council bringing in money!
Here are some resources for you! Also, please let me know if you have questions or would like me to help you start your own council! MUAH!
Click here for the Sertoma Unit Parent Club Council Handbook
Click here for an editable version of the above handbook (fonts and formatting might be a bit off)