Advising a club of 50 to 150 members presents both opportunities and challenges. Cristy Warner leads and organizes 102 members, officers and committee chairs in the K-Kids club at Weathersfield Elementary in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.  

Warner has been the faculty advisor of Weathersfield’s K-Kids for eight years. She says students who weren’t elected to Student Council approached her about creating a service club. Warner was a Kiwanian, so chartering a K-Kids club was a perfect solution to the need for an inclusive group where any kid could participate.  

The first challenge, she says, was finding a place for so many members to meet. Few spaces in schools can hold over 100 kids and allow space for activities. Warner broke the club into grade-level groups and started holding a series of meetings on Fridays. Second graders meet during the last recess period. Third-grade members meet during lunch. Fourth and fifth graders meet at another time. Two parents set up club activities — one helping with the second graders and the other with the rest. As an educator, Warner knows students at all grade levels and has her own classroom, where meetings are held.  

Maintaining members’ interest 

Warner’s biggest challenge is keeping the kids engaged — and keeping the noise level down. She has important tips for maintaining members’ interest throughout the meeting:  

  • Have your youth leaders run club meetings.  
  • Run a meeting like Kiwanis does: Create an agenda, recite the pledge, use an icebreaker and then let members stay for service or go to their other activities.  
  • Provide a fun reason to stay for the entire meeting. For example, Warner sometimes has a raffle at the end, with items from a local dollar store.  

Club meetings also have a regular “share your talent” activity where members sign up to talk about or show a talent during meetings. 

Leaders and service projects 

The Weathersfield club provides more leadership opportunities with additional club officer and committee chair positions. The club has two presidents, two treasurers, a vice president, a secretary and a sergeant-at-arms. Committees are formed as needed and coordinators or chairs are appointed.  

The club talks about needs and the service they want to provide and creates a committee to do the work, with some help from Warner. The club’s committees include the Lunch Bunch, Kindness Committee, Trash Patrol, Friday Morning Greet Team and Tutoring Club.  

“This involvement holds members’ interest because they break into groups and work on different things,” Warner says. “It’s also important to work on service at meetings so students who can’t attend off-campus events can still be involved.”  

Members of all grades participate together in off-campus service projects (such as events at an assisted living facility) and parents handle transportation. A partnering Key Club leads the K-Kids during off-campus service, and Kiwanis club members sometimes help. Another cross-grade project, Friday Morning Greet Team, greets people driving onto campus at the school gate. Members work in the club meeting room on projects during their lunch and recess periods throughout the week.  

A few final tips from Warner: Have patience. Ask your Kiwanis club for help. And bring special guests to meetings so members meet someone new. But let your kids greet them at the door and lead them to the meeting — these are important and empowering experiences! 

If you are a new advisor of a large club, Warner is happy to be a resource. You can email her at .