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Subject: Help setting up a school club rss

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Ryan Full
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I have been running a very casual school game club for about four years now. I did no advertising and let it grow via word of mouth. We met after school once a week.

Recently I moved from a middle school to a high school and am wanting to advertise the club as well as get things formalized a little more. I think it would be good to have a President and Vice-President to help control the cleanup, maintenance, and the greeting of new people and getting them involved.

The problem is, I have never done anything in a formal club fashion, so I turn to you good folks here. How do you think it should be handled? Elections? Appointing the Pres and VP? Requirements for the positions? Responsibilities?

Going from Middle School to HS has been an adjustment. :lol:
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Christian Killoran
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In general, I think having club officers who can be responsible for the functions you mention is an excellent idea. In fact, holding elections for club officers may be mandatory for your club to be in compliance with school activities policy. The Activities Director at your school should be able to advise you on those kinds of requirements.

In any case, it sounds like you will be unfamiliar with the individual kids' leadership / responsibility / promotional abilities at the beginning of this school year. You could announce that officers will be elected in the near future and see who is interested, then let candidates know what you expect from the eventual winners.
I've always thought it would be cool to select officers based on the results of some kind of game tournament, but have never actually done this. Of course, good players are not necessarily good leaders...but if you have no other way at a new school to select officers it might be worth a try!

Other functions club officers can perform is to gather and maintain a contact list, arrange for refreshments (at my school the P.O. paperwork for pizza delivery is too complicated for me, but the kids handle it well), and organize special events like tournaments, metagames, etc.

Good luck and post how things develop!
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Calavera Despierta
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miyu wrote:
The problem is, I have never done anything in a formal club fashion, so I turn to you good folks here. How do you think it should be handled? Elections? Appointing the Pres and VP? Requirements for the positions? Responsibilities?


I will say straight off that the big difference between Middle and High School clubs is that in a High School club the kids can (and should) do all of the work. ALL of it. And to a degree, they like doing it - they like being given adult-like responsibilities - collecting the pizza money and calling for delivery, keeping the games organized, etc. So I would say, once you have enough new members, let the more outgoing kids nominate themselves as club officers, and then have a club officers meeting - explain your expectations, and encourage them to be the ones in charge of the club. I would say that the upper-classmen need to be President and Treasurer (since those are the two positions that will carry the most responsibility.)

The other nice thing about a high school club is that they can do things like fund raising for a club set of games, and community service--there is a great charity I've gotten my kids involved with called Child's Play in which video games are provided to terminally ill kids in hospitals undergoing treatment as a way of keeping them happy and getting their minds off things.

Lastly, I think you'll find that the type and quality of games will improve. Diplomacy and Battlestar Galactica are among the top two games in my club, and games like Pillars of the Earth and Chicago Express have even gotten positive reactions.

Best of luck this school year!
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John Bobek
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There isn't much to add. Just have fun with it and enjoy!
 
 
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Ryan Full
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Great recommendations!

I will look into the specific policies that might put requirements on the club. To be honest, in the past no attention was ever paid to anything done with my club by the administration so I wasn't even aware there might be policies.

My original concern over the election was not wanting to see the classic high school "popularity contest" take place within the club. I have a few kids who have been coming since I started sponsoring it in middle school and they graduated up to the high school when I moved up as well. I would hate to see a group of upperclassmen kind of take over.

But I can see how some upperclassmen leaders might be able to inspire and act as positive role models to the other students.

So far we have done nothing like collecting dues, collecting money for pizza or anything like that. We have been meeting for an hour a week after school. The idea of having food and tournaments though is intriguing. Perhaps I will have one week a month where the club will run a little longer. Something for me to think about.

Do you guys have "game club rules" posted somewhere to address issues like good sportsmanship, behavior, taking care of the games etc.? Do you go over these rules with all newcomers (or have the President do so)?

Child's Play is a great charity! I'm actually part of an adult video game group (8-Bit Brigade) and for the past few years we have done raffles, trivia contests etc. to raise money for Child's Play. Good to see someone else involved in helping out that group!

edit: I forgot to mention my concern/problem from previous years. So far the club has really been somewhat cliqueish. I have a group that played at the middle school and their friends who come in and play the various Eurogames I have. Then I have some new students who come in and play Yu-Gi-Oh. I don't have an issue with this but I have had to get on to the board game clique for making unkind comments about the Yu-Gi-Oh group.

I recognize cliques are part of the high school mentality but it just boils my blood to hear any kind of comments making fun of someone else in what should be a safe environment for everyone to geek out and play some games. I am hoping having a President whose primary responsibility will be to get everyone involved and make everyone feel welcome will address that some. At the very least it will force a student or two to "cross the lines" and be involved with both groups.

Or am I just being naïve?
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Jeff Szekely
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What has worked in our school's club "The Arena" is a hierarchy system based on the system used in the Roman Empire. Players gain points by winning or placing highly in games and these points accumulate throughout their tenure in the club. This creates a game within a game where kids will employ different strategies and work together to knock off higher ranking players sometimes even self sacrificing themselves for "the greater good". It's cool to watch.

The one with the most points at the end of the year is named Ceasar and is the student leader of the club and is responsible for the day to day runnings of the group. Upper level players (I don't have my info infront of me but I believe they're called the Consuls) assist the Ceasar in these duties. Myself and the other teachers who help run the club (we recently merged with our Chess Club - Acquire style) are refered to as The gods - note the small g. We have the final say as to anything concerning the club including rule desputes which can also be resolved by the Ceasar. As the club progesses, I'm expecting to find that players who are seniors will be the most likely heirs to the throne leading to high turn over rates at the top and therefore greater competition for the position of Ceasar.

We collect dues at the beginning of the year. Everyone gets three weeks of free game play before dues are . . . well, due. These cover the cost of prizes that we have for tournament games (gift certificates), and the cost of new games (mostly they belong to the gods, or student members of the club). Our club is for both middle school and high school students (in our small district they're in the same building, and good number of the teachers teach a little of each). Middle school students pay a lower dues rate than High School kids, they idea being that the kids that come up from the middle school having played for two years are going to be willing to pay the higher dues fee when in High School. This creates extra revenue for the club and leads to more games, and bigger prizes.


If you'd like, I'll send you the literature and scoring sheets etc. to steal ideas from. Just message me with your email address and I'll send the files right along, and check out our facebook page "The Arena: Reading High School Contingent".

cheers,
Jeff Szekely
god of Evil
The Arena - Reading High School
 
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Ryan Full
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Thanks for sending the info. I have been very impressed with the organization and the meta-game going on.

How do you decide points for cooperative games? For instance I will have students playing Pandemic. How could points be given for a win or loss there?

Do you give points for any 2 player games (like chess, go, or some of the various CCGs)?

thanks!

 
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Jeff Szekely
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For Co-Op games (we only have one so far), if the group wins they all get 40 points if they loose, they get no points. Two player games are largely short term. For Axis and Allies we do first and second point scoring for the long term game, but points are only awarded to the winner of the short term games. In order for a game (other than AA) to count as a long term game it must have three players at least. This way we don't have hour long sessions of history of the world where players can build points super fast and not play with anyone but each other. We don't have any CCGs in the club for the reason that it soon can become the kid who has the most money to go get cards is almost always the winner. I have however, been looking into adding a tournament deck of Magic: The Gathering. any feedback on that would be sweet too.

I hope I answered your questions, I've been getting my classrooms up and running for the year and I'm a little fried.

Cheers!
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Ryan Full
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That was an excellent help.

When I was at the middle school level I actually forbade any CCGs because it bothered me that students would essentially be encouraged to spend more of their family income on the "arms race" of a CCG. To make up for that I had games like Blue Moon that gave that CCG feel without having that issue of buying tons of boosters.

My high school club was a little different though. I had some kids show up who play CCGs and really don't have a good safe place to do so. They had no interest in other games and they came with all their own cards. I really debated the issue for a week or two but ultimately decided to allow it because these young adults wanted to play with their friends and due to the cliquish nature of high school they were being treated poorly for gaming at lunch etc. My club provided a safe spot where they could geek out and know an adult was there to make sure nobody bothered them about it.

I understand about the classroom stuff though. Things here are crazy as well!

Our first club meeting though will be next week. Most likely this year they will elect a president and vice-president and then this school year we will track points and have a Caesar in 2010.

I'll be busy though. I'm also going to sponsor a chess club to meet on a different day of the week after school. I am a glutton for punishment. :lol:
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