Clubs and Their Benefits

Is that extra time spent leading clubs even worth it? Should we fight to keep clubs in the picture at our school? Tune in for our take on this topic!

Topics Discussed

  • How the offerings have evolved over time
  • What the research says
  • Ideas for clubs that you might consider adding at your school


Check out this blog post about clubs in schools to dive deeper on this topic

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Ellie 0:00

Welcome back to the teaching Toolbox Podcast. I am Ellie, and I'm here today with Brittany

Brittany 0:06

Hello everybody.

Ellie 0:08

If you are our age, you might remember taking home ec typing class woodshop and maybe auto mechanics in middle school or high school. And if you're quite a few years younger, you might wish you had had some of that training in school. Like I learned how to build and design a lamp in shop class like making the graphic design for the outside and building the top and bottom and putting the light bulb in the electric cord and everything.

Brittany 0:38

And in auto shop, I learned how to take apart a carburetor, clean it and put it back together so the car would run.

Ellie 0:46

I never learned that. But I did learn how to follow a pattern in sewing class, the sewing part of home EQ, and I made a stuffed animal it was a seal it was white and very cute.

Brittany 0:58

Oh, how adorable. And I burned a lasagna in the cooking portion of homemade class I have never been a cook. Ah, in reality, those classes weren't just about teaching a kid how to bake a cake or be a good spouse or how to change a flat tire and take care of a car. It was a lot more than that they were teaching us to find our place in life. Now that these diverse skill building classes are largely out across the nation, it has become the responsibility of school endorsed clubs to teach these skills and others and help students find their niche in life. Or kids are left to find their spot and they're calling themselves.

Ellie 1:43

And that can be hard when you might be in a lower income situation. And you don't have access to all the fancy tools like digital cameras, the 3d printers, woodworking tools, simulators, specialized cooking tools, ovens and that kind of thing. But now we're seeing that even clubs are being axed, or people are refusing to step up and lead them. From some of our research. We found that in 2020 to 23 school year, only about 43% of schools offered after school academic enrichment. And with over 118,000 schools in the United States only about 50,500 have after school programs. That's what that 43% means. So this is often just one or two hours a day for maybe four or five days a week. So why is it important to have these clubs besides just helping kids find their calling in life, which is a big piece of the puzzle. Clubs also provide a safe outlet for kids after school helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls of life.

Brittany 2:46

A article that I found discusses the harmful relationships between trauma and adversity on youth development. But studies show caring relationships and safe environments can mitigate these neurological effects

Ellie 3:02

Maslow's hierarchy of needs and action right there.

Brittany 3:07

after school programs are linked to positive outcomes, including higher grades, school attendance, and graduation rates. One study by the McDowell group found that participating in after school activities, like clubs for at least two days per week was related to a lower likelihood of alcohol use marijuana use and skipping school. Other research by the National Center for Research on evaluation standards and student testing in June 2007 found that after school programs were associated with a lower likelihood of juvenile crime, which makes sense since juvenile crime peaks between two and 6pm. California's history was publicly funded after school program stretches back three decades, when youth advocates across four major cities being Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego, began pressuring state lawmakers to take action. This organization eventually culminated in a $50 million budget for after school programming in 1997. And within five years, lawmakers had bumped their budget up to $122 million. Wow. Investments and after school learning in California soared thanks to proposition 49. A successful 2002 ballot measure sponsored and largely funded by Arnold Schwarzenegger who later became their governor. Ultimately, that aid coupled with more federal after school funds increased seven times over the number of schools providing publicly subsidized expanded learning in California, serving more than 900 1000 students annually, then in 2021, thanks to COVID Money and an unexpected budget surplus. California lawmakers announced a $5 billion increase to their after school spending. Wow. California spends more on after school care than the other 49 states combined.

Ellie 5:25

Oh my gosh, that's incredible.

Brittany 5:27

It's crazy, but it's working for them.

Ellie 5:31

Research has shown that well run and well organized after school programs contribute to improved school attendance, which is something that a lot of us would like to see. The after school programs provide some extra socialization time, attention from peers in supervised settings, and they can establish a link between effort and results. The after school programs can engage students in challenging activities that help them develop persistence, provide consistent contact with caring adults and increase a sense of belonging at school. Numerous studies of the after school programs indicate lower absence rates for students of all ages.

So if we have convinced you to host or start a club or get involved even in an existing club, what are some clubs you could invest your time in? We have a whole bunch of ideas for you


Brittany 6:23

digital photography club, Art Club, painting, club,

Ellie 6:28

sewing or crochet club, model rocketry

Brittany 6:31


Ellie 6:33

Was that sounds exciting. We could have gardening club,

Brittany 6:37

service clubs.

Ellie 6:39

Were you in any type of service clubs when you were in school?

Brittany 6:43

I was in an honor society club that did service activities.

Ellie 6:48

Yeah, I was in Key Club which did service activities. I remember going to our high school stadium the morning after the football games and walking around with the little things to pick up the trash, pick it up and put it in the bags. And then we would go to McDonald's for breakfast afterwards. Nice. But it was a great way to be you know, you're more involved in the community that way helping to keep your your environment and your community clean. And it was a great time for socialization. So service clubs are great. Yes,

Brittany 7:17

chess club, you can actually compete done around the city, and the kids can compete in tournaments. Mm hmm.

Ellie 7:25

That's great. So any type of game club or just a generic game club. As we mentioned in some previous episode, there are a lot of kids who don't know how to even play board games or card games right now. So that would be a great thing to just gather and teach them

Brittany 7:40

singing club. I hosted a club for a year where kids just got together and sang clean versions of contemporary songs that they didn't get to sing in choir class.

Ellie 7:52

Oh, that's cool. That's fun. He could have a digital design club,

Brittany 7:56

kindness club. I offered this club after we had some issues with bullying. And the kids would come and spend their hour talking about how to prevent bullying. They'd make signs to put up around the school. They would talk about how to prevent bullying. They created and worked on a music video about kindness and empathy. It was a good time.

Ellie 8:20

That sounds awesome. You could have a yearbook club or even a school Newspaper Club.

Brittany 8:26

That might be a school paid position or school class.

Ellie 8:30

I think yearbook club is usually a paid position. Yeah, in our school,

Brittany 8:34

extra curricular sports sports not offered by your school or sports offered, but those which have a higher demand than can be met by the competing teams.

Ellie 8:46

We had a running club at our school for quite a few years. It was especially I think, for our sixth graders because they couldn't participate yet in the seventh and eighth grade sports which were sanctioned, I guess. And so the sixth graders could do the running club and kind of prep for when they could do cross country. Nice. That's the next grade levels. Yeah.

Did you have any particular sports clubs that you were involved in, in your schools, as you know, as a supervisor,

Brittany 9:16

I've done both in in school and an out of school club. We had volleyball, which was very popular and just did not have enough teams for all the girls interested. So we had eight extra teams that met before school. They practiced for a couple of weeks and then began competing with each other before schools. And then we also had a softball team where we just had enough girls to make a squad. I was the assistant coach for a couple of years and then the head coach for a couple years. And we assembled in the spring spent a couple of weeks practicing and then parents would carpool and Take the kids to different schools around town, and they would compete against different schools around town.


That's awesome. Very cool. I want to go be in a club.

Well, there's also a National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, which are national organizations. And they might have stipends, bylaws, policies, procedures, but you'd be working with honor students doing more charity type of work,


theater or drama, it might be a class, but it also might be a club, depending on your school. And


you know, you do have not necessarily as a club, but you do have school plays, perhaps or musicals or things like that. If you don't already have something like that. That's something that you could start and develop for your school. Definitely.

You could have academic clubs like quizbowl mathletes, poetry club, Mathcounts challenge 24 may be a spelling club, leading to a spelling bee, a geography club, leading to a geography bee and all kinds of academic clubs like that. We actually had a math club for a few years, mainly for students who needed more support, but we worked on math skills, and we played a lot of different games and did different things to make math more fun and approachable. Not just something that you had to stay to do. Like a punishment for a fun type of math club type of thing.


I also did a juggling club. We were allowed to start basically any club we wanted if it was appropriate for a $250 stipend for a semester. And so I went with one of my hobbies and pleasures, I learned how to juggle in college, and thought I could teach kids how to juggle using scarves, and then we'd move up to Koosh balls. And I even had juggling pins like bowling pins and who Oh, and stuff, and I only had one kid make it that far, but it was a lot of fun.


Did they did you have a lot of kids that like to learn to juggle


I had about 12 that showed up on a regular basis.


That's fun. I don't know how to juggle.


I can teach you Ellie.


Okay, cool. We'll have our own club.


So basically, just find something that you enjoy and that you're passionate about and then talk to your administrator.


So if you want to help students find their identity, avoid issues with juvenile crime, and help students with participation, attendance and a sense of belonging. Then start a club and have some fun.


If you love this episode, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next week.


Have a great day.

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