Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Year, New Group!

I had a great talk recently with Michelle who is starting a new group. She has experience not only as a great Mom but also as a DRE. This experience has given her a good background to start a group and during our conversation I was reminded of some of the basic facts of 'group dynamics'. You will want to keep some of them in mind as this new year of meetings (Little Flowers, Blue Knights, Honor Guard or Little Women) begins.So while planning all manner of activities, crafts, outings and service projects, don't forget to keep safety of the group in mind. Wether you are meeting in a home, church facility or other space make sure to remember some basic facts:
-Consider creating an Emergency Contact Form or General Permission form no matter where you are meeting. While it is probably required if you are at a church/school location it also makes sense for a home meeting. Make sure you know each girl's name, full address and contact information. Have the home and cell #'s for both Mom and Dad. Even if a parent is attending the meetings, having the other's # will be helpful in case of an accident and the need arises to get a hold of them. Consider also having an additional emergency contact #. This might need to used if a parent isn't at the meeting and isn't answering their phone. -Make sure to know everyone's allergies - both food and otherwise - children and adults. This makes it easier when planning snacks (peanut allergies) or games (latex allergies - no balloons!). -Have a basic first aid kit ready at every meeting. Consider creating your own in a shoe box or purchase one ready-packed. Perhaps you have a parent/nurse or doctor who can be asked to do this for the group.
-If you are using a church facility, investigate what forms they may require for insurance purposes. Don't be afraid to ask and then be ready to comply. It makes a pastor's job easier when groups are ready to follow any diocesan requirements and this would include us. -Decide what method to use for contacting the group for meetings changes or cancellations. A good old-fashioned phone tree, internet group or e-mails - it doesn't matter - just make sure that everyone knows what method is being used and then commit to using it and checking it. Nothing is worse than thinking e-mails will be sent out and then discovering that someone doesn't have one!
Consider passing this task off to some of the older kids in the group. They might even decide to create a monthly newsletter (as Michelle's daughter is doing) to keep everyone up to date on what has taken place and what is being planned.In addition, please remember that no matter where you are meeting, be sure to include clean-up time into your meeting schedule. Every member should take an active part in making sure the meeting location is left as clean (or better!) than when they arrived. A sure way to keep a pastor or a parent happy is to regard the meeting place as 'special' and making sure it looks and remains that way!Finally, have a great year! Remember to let others (and us) know what is working and what isn't. We're all eager to learn from each others successes and failures! Be assured of our prayers!

1 comment:

Sharon-shutterbug said...

I'm sure you'll be glad to know that Michelle did an absolutely fabulous job last week for our first meeting. She is obviously filling a big need in our parish, as we have an unbelievable 75 girls signed up to be Little Flowers! You can be sure that, in addition to helping out however I can, I'll also be praying hard that she receive special graces and perseverance as she leads such a large group. :)