High school clubs recruit new members
November 5, 2010
Park City High School’s cafeteria took on the feel of an open-air market on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Throngs of students milled around tables, the sounds of shouts and drums and a lonely kazoo filled the air and treats and candies were handed out in attempts to draw in a crowd. This wasn’t a sales pitch or a new cafeteria design, it was Club Day at Park City High.
More than 20 clubs, all student-run, set up tables in the lunch room in an effort to attract new members. The clubs are each led by a student or group of students working with a faculty supervisor, and offer a variety of activities and hobbies, from the Kids Play International Club to a Musical Appreciation Club. Some clubs are part of larger organizations, such as the Red Cross Club getting ready for its first fundraiser to benefit measles victims or the Interact Club working in association with Park City Rotary Club. Other clubs, however, boast a brand new, student-created option, like the Harry Potter Club devoted to the bestselling books and movies of the same name or the Art Club.
Clubs ranged in activities from physical sports like the Irish Dance or Ultimate (Frisbee), to more intellectual pastimes such as Programming or Debate. Regardless of the field, there was tough competition in the race to collect as many student phone numbers and email addresses as possible in two 29-minute lunches. More than half of the tables offered candy to anyone who wandered by, and others had carefully prepared speeches telling students why this or that club was the club for them. Ultimate Club had a set of drums and a kazoo calling out over the cacophony, while Programming Club had laptops set up demonstrating various programs and games. Music Appreciation Club had their own boom-box blaring.
Community Service based clubs made a strong showing, with 7 of the 25 based on various humanitarian activities. Of these, Key Club has historically been the biggest. Sponsored by Kiwanis International, it is based primarily on fundraising and requires students to donate their time for humanitarian and conservation projects, 50 hours a year for seniors and 30 for younger members. They donate funds to various causes, like the ELIMINATE project with UNICEF to eliminate neonatal and maternal tetanus in Third World countries, or to KC Gorillas, an organization attempting to protect endangered gorilla species in Uganda.
This year boasted a record number of clubs. "It was the most successful Club Day in history," said student body Vice President Isaiah Folau. Folau was largely responsible for organizing and running the event, and felt it went very well. The concern, however, is how long clubs will actually stay running. Of the 31 groups that originally applied, five had already dropped out by Tuesday. Last year, nearly half of the clubs entered did not continue running to the end of the year. "Harry Potter Club, after the movie comes out, I don’t know if they’re going to last after that." Folau said. Clubs are required to meet a set of demands, such as a designated leader and a faculty supervisor. Teacher supervisors have varying degrees of control over the clubs. While some often take little part in regular activities, others play a large role in a clubs organization or success. "Faculty will sometimes go to bat for them, if they need fundraising or something." Folau said.
The student-run organizations also look good on college applications, to varying degrees. According to Folau, starting or being president of a club always looks good, as well as being a member of a well know, national association, but private clubs like Ultimate Club or Film Club might not carry as much weight. Counselor Dara Smith said "Being involved with clubs is a great way to participate in the school community and make some new friends. It allows for some terrific leadership opportunities as well. Colleges do consider the dedication of time and years involved with clubs. "
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Students agreed that Club Day went successfully, both for those running programs and those interested in joining. However, student Skylar Goldman recommended "Club day should be earlier. Most kids are already busy by this time of the year."