Prepare yourself for trial & error – even your best ideas can flop!
It can take a little while to figure out the pulse of your group – what they are interested in, what they want from Girl Talk, and what their comfort level is. So, with that in mind keep things light and fun in the beginning so that you, as Advisors and Leaders, can build your confidence with success along the way. Use lots of go-arounds as ice breakers so that everyone gets a chance to talk and feel included right from the start. Try not to go too deep too fast – get-to-know-you questions are great in the early stages!
And, when you do try to dive into bigger topics, go-around discussions are also great things to bust out when the other activities you might have planned aren’t going well. Maybe you try to do a meeting about body image and the girls just aren’t mentally there…have some questions ready as a back-up plan! “What is something you love about yourself?” “If you could go anywhere in the world and money was not an issue, where would you go?” “What is your favorite holiday tradition?”
Here’s the real truth: last-minute meeting planning looks last-minute. You have decided that Girl Talk is an important thing for your community, so respect all those middle school girls (and yourselves) enough to plan your meetings well. There are SO MANY amazing resources available through the Leader Login, that everything you need is right there and really will not take long to review and prepare for. Try to get together (in person, or at least in person via online chat) with your co-leaders for 10-15 minutes in the days leading up to your meeting to talk through who will do what, who will bring what, and any other details you need to take care of. You have a much better chance of attracting and retaining middle school girls to your chapter if you make it worth it to them by planning well.
Remember, even if only one girl comes, you’re making a difference. Can you imagine how hard it would be to walk into a room of high school girls by yourself? That girl needs you! So, don’t get discouraged if it takes time to catch on!
And, if no one shows up…
When confronted with that yucky feeling that no one is coming, move on! Use that time to work with your co-leaders on ideas for the future – how to promote meetings better, what topics might be more enticing, and how your Advisor can help you. Seriously, don’t get discouraged and keep this in mind:
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And finally, here are some ideas to consider trying as you promote and start your new Chapter!
· Plan something really fun for your first meeting and ADVERTISE that you’ll be doing it. Fun ideas include: cupcake decorating, spa day to paint nails, yoga day, friendship bracelets, etc.
· FOOD! Food will keep them coming back J
· Whether you’re on the same campus or not, do something to draw attention to your new club like have an information booth at lunch, visit homerooms to give an in-person invitation to every girl, or create a catchy video and see if the middle school will play it during morning announcements.
· Find out what the girls that come to your first meeting want to get out of Girl Talk. They might be too nervous to say it out loud, so give everyone some Post-It notes and invite them to write their ideas down and add it to a poster – see photo below!
- Use journals! Either provide notebooks or ask the girls to have a “Girl Talk notebook.” You can sit around decorating them at a meeting and then give the girls journal prompts to answer. You can use this to do a go-around discussion if girls are comfortable sharing…sometimes it is easier to talk if you’ve had time to think and write first!
The keys to having a successful Chapter are having perseverance, patience, and planning. With these three tools, your Chapter will be awesome!