Help (with animal welfare club at school)! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-03-2009, 09:20 PM
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I'm sorry if this isn't the right place for this

but:

I had my first Animal Welfare Club meeting at my high school the thursday before last, and I have to say, I was a little disappointed.

A total of 14 people showed up, which isn't terribly bad, considering the amount of time I had to pass out flyers and get the word out.

However as the meeting progressed and I said everything I had to say, I might as well had been talking to an empty room. NOT ONE PERSON had an input on anything! It was horrible!

I'd ask a question, like, what sort of fundraisers are you all interested in doing? Silence. What direction would you like to see this club go? Silence. Is anyone interested in running for offices? Silence. Expressionless faces. It was really bad because I'm still working on being comfortable with public speaking and it was just horribly awkward for everyone, including myself and the other club leader who didn't really help me too much.

I didn't have any activities planned because I thought people would be talking about ideas and such.

I had everyone introduce themselves, I made vegan cupcakes, I mentioned t-shirts...

I don't know what I did wrong!

I'm not really sure how to make people open up and be comfortable with talking...I don't want people to be turned off from the club because all the meetings are really boring and awkward!

I really need help!! Any suggestions, please? My next meeting is this Thursday!
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#2 Old 11-03-2009, 09:28 PM
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Probably just shy. Plan a few icebreakers to get everyone comfortable. Maybe watch a movie like Earthlings, Food Inc. Come up with some fundraisers of your own (veg*n bake sale) and ask for volunteers. Print out fliers and ask if anyone would help pass them out. As they get more comfortable with you and each other thing will start developing. Work on team building by setting an example and showing them what your vision is.
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#3 Old 11-04-2009, 02:53 AM
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Leaders are rare, and the rest of the group is gonna keep their mouths shut until they are certain that what they have to say is what the rest of the group wants to hear. This may take some time.



Keep at it though, they'll eventually open up :P

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#4 Old 11-04-2009, 05:36 AM
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I think 14 is a good turnout. Hopefully most of the people attended because they were interested in the issue and not just for the cupcakes. Now you know how a teacher feels standing in front of a classroom trying to get people to participate. It isn't easy! You could start your next meeting by discussing different animal groups and related welfare issues: factory farm animals, homeless domesticated animals, animals in science labs, endangered wildlife, etc. To get people talking I would go around the room and have each person talk about what animal welfare issue concerns him or her most. If there is a majority of people with a specific interest, you could concentrate on that. Then spend the next meeting talking about what you want to accomplish and what activities you would like to be involved with; picketting, protesting, leaf-letting, volunteering, fundraising, letter writing, etc. You could go around the room and have each person talk about if they have ever participated in any of those activities and which kind they would prefer. You could also prepare ballots with check-boxes for voting. Do you have a public library in your town? If so, I would go there and ask the librarian to help you find books on the topics of non-profits, volunteering, animal rights/welfare, being a leader, etc. You could get some good ideas in that way, also. Let us know how your next meeting goes!
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#5 Old 11-04-2009, 06:20 AM
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I think they came looking for an organized leadership with a pre-set agenda. I would suggest setting an agenda. It can change later as the other students feel more comfortable with getting involved, but you need to get the ball rolling.



You may want to google it to get some ideas.



Good luck to you.
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#6 Old 11-04-2009, 08:27 AM
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Try these club suggestions from Humane Teen:



http://www.humaneteen.org/?q=node/37

slops, gloops, and gruels.
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#7 Old 11-04-2009, 08:43 AM
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Your turn out was actually really great. People in a new meeting with new people don't tend to say much. Since you're the organizer is falls your shoulders. Since you said animal welfare group I'm not sure what your goals are. Protests? Changing school policies? Letter writing? I would ask each person (like someone said before me) what topic interests them the most. If most people think pet overpopulation is the "Topic" of choice you may be doing that and then spanning off once people are comfortable.



With the experiences of my group, keep this in mind:

1) people will stop coming eventually if they don't feel they are needed. Give them something to do. If Joe hates dog gassing in shelters, tell him to research where this occurs for the next meeting and then people can write a letter. Stuff like that. Keep it easy at first.

2) always ask opinions and don't assume that Betty wouldn't mind using her cell phone number as a contact, etc.

3) voting is huge. When people can't agree, hold a vote. Since its your group, you hold the deciding decision but be sure everyone feels like they got heard.

4) don't cancel a meeting unless its really a last minute emergency

5) Unfortunately, when demonstrating and holding a protest, expect about 1/2 the people to not show up. This part sucks but it always happens.

6) remember everyone is different. Some are good at contact with the public and some aren't. Don't shove Lily out into a media interview if shes going hyperventilate and pass out.

7) thank people and be encouraging.



You'll do fine.
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#8 Old 11-04-2009, 09:36 AM
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Fourteen is a very good turnout for a first meeting. The hard part is getting them to keep coming back. You might want to do some research online or find a book that deals with running effective meetings so you can get some ideas.



Give people different ways to communicate and have input. Very few people feel comfortable speaking in front of a large group. You might try passing out surveys instead. Another effective thing is to spend part of each meeting in small groups. Some will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas in that format.



The layout of the room will also affect participation. If all the chairs as facing the front of the classroom there won't be as much interaction as when the chairs are arranged in a big circle. The first arrangement implies that you are the boss and you want everyone to listen to you. The second makes everyone feel they are of equal status.

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#9 Old 11-04-2009, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post

Fourteen is a very good turnout for a first meeting. The hard part is getting them to keep coming back. You might want to do some research online or find a book that deals with running effective meetings so you can get some ideas.



Give people different ways to communicate and have input. Very few people feel comfortable speaking in front of a large group. You might try passing out surveys instead. Another effective thing is to spend part of each meeting in small groups. Some will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas in that format.



The layout of the room will also affect participation. If all the chairs as facing the front of the classroom there won't be as much interaction as when the chairs are arranged in a big circle. The first arrangement implies that you are the boss and you want everyone to listen to you. The second makes everyone feel they are of equal status.





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#10 Old 11-05-2009, 08:06 PM
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Thank you for all the helpful suggestions!







The club meeting today was overall, IMO, good.

I made vegan pumpkin brownies and had a pile of vegan lollipops and stickers. Everyone got really excited about the food, and I love baking, so I'll probably continue to do that.



I showed Meet Your Meat and discussed the Thanksgiving potluck I planned for the 19th.

Everything was going just fine and dandy until the FFA kids CRASHED my meeting!!
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#11 Old 11-14-2009, 05:43 AM
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LOL, I'll bet that was an ordeal with the FFA. I think a movie would be great. It will jar people around a little bit, depending what movie you decide to show. Good for you. Do not give up. And don't ever forget about the pour little souls getting animal testing done to them!
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#12 Old 11-17-2009, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by measuringcups View Post


I made vegan pumpkin brownies and had a pile of vegan lollipops and stickers. Everyone got really excited about the food, and I love baking, so I'll probably continue to do that.



I showed Meet Your Meat and discussed the Thanksgiving potluck I planned for the 19th.

Everything was going just fine and dandy until the FFA kids CRASHED my meeting!!



Did the FFA crash your meeting on purpose to cause trouble?



Keep the food coming...it's always a hit.
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#13 Old 11-18-2009, 10:05 PM
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I was REALLLLLLY mad at the time, but looking back it was kinda funny (kinda, I still get mad actually xP)

The two Presidents (students) busted in, waited until the movie finished, then proceeded to tell us that their teacher had sent them and they had come to "educate us" and "make sure we were telling the truth". I'm not kidding. Those are there words.

We argued back and forth about what was right and wrong and what-have-you, and I was finally like, look, you guys are being very confrontational and rude, and we don't bust into YOUR meetings for the sole purpose of arguing. I told em to get lost

Then I talked to the principal, who talked to the ENTIRE FFA class about it. lollls, serves em right I think.

ANIMAL WELFARE CLUB FTW !!
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#14 Old 11-18-2009, 10:34 PM
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Official FFA Dress




Males

* Black slacks with black belt

* White collared button-up shirt (tucked in)

* Official FFA tie

* Black dress shoes

* Black socks

* Official FFA jacket, zipped to the top with zipper tucked in



Weird, they're almost the MIB.
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#15 Old 11-22-2009, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by measuringcups View Post

I was REALLLLLLY mad at the time, but looking back it was kinda funny (kinda, I still get mad actually xP)

The two Presidents (students) busted in, waited until the movie finished, then proceeded to tell us that their teacher had sent them and they had come to "educate us" and "make sure we were telling the truth". I'm not kidding. Those are there words.

We argued back and forth about what was right and wrong and what-have-you, and I was finally like, look, you guys are being very confrontational and rude, and we don't bust into YOUR meetings for the sole purpose of arguing. I told em to get lost

Then I talked to the principal, who talked to the ENTIRE FFA class about it. lollls, serves em right I think.

ANIMAL WELFARE CLUB FTW !!



That is unbelievable. You may want to get a teacher sponsor. It may not be the last time someone does something like that. I'm glad the principal got involved.
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#16 Old 11-23-2009, 07:16 AM
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You have to give the people in the club a reason to be there. Everyone has to have a purpose. If they don't then you will see the people in attendance dwindle very quickly.

I congratulate you for starting a club, not an easy thing to do, that is for sure!
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#17 Old 11-23-2009, 11:11 AM
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I agree with Julz. You might want to look into having a teacher as a faculty sponsor of the group. Then you can concentrate on the important things and let them deal with troublemakers who don't belong there.



Even if the FFA kids don't come back, you might have others show up who want to disrupt your meetings. Be careful about getting sucked in to arguments with them. It's important to have an atmosphere where people who want to be there feel safe to express their thoughts and not be ridiculed by outsiders.



If it happens again, I would tell them "This isn't Debate Club. We don't come to these meetings to argue. We're here so we can work together to improve animal welfare. If you're not here to help us, then you have no business being here, and you need to leave. We've reported people to the principal before for crashing our meetings, and we will do it again if you don't leave now."



Measuringcups, you're doing a good job. Keep up the good work!

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#18 Old 12-03-2009, 02:23 PM
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Nice job on the new club. Maybe the FFA crashers are a good thing. It can serve to create unity within your own group, while perhaps creating a stir across the school. Free publicity. You may be able to raise some consciousness in a larger arena if you play it right...not necessarily in the FFA, but among others who hadn't really considered what you are talking about, or don't know you're club exists. If you're club gets really fired up, maybe you could organize a real debate with the FFA...but if the FFA class is being encouraged by the teachers, you might want to find some adults to be your "coach" as well. Good luck.
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