The keynote speaker at the Eastern Conference Region Spring Conference came to share with us an opportunity to mentor young women. Susan Gilbey from SI Westminster in California returned to her home town of Montreal to share with our Region the concepts and process to start an S Club for High School Girls or Sigma Societies for College age women.
These charters are different because there is no need to report to SIA nor dues. Instead, it is considered a service project (program focus reports). Events should be funded by the SIA Club as the sponsor and align with the SIA-overview of programs. Some ideas are: Teen-Dating & Violence as a keynote theme, Self Esteem/Self Defense, Career Day workshop with the English & Career Councillors, Leadership skills, and teaching mentorship by connecting to Girl Guides (Brownies or Sparks).
It is critical to build safety and professionalism through mentoring, particularly in parliamentary procedure and committee decorum. Being a member of the club can be tied to their Ontario requirement of 40 hours of service. There are some critical concepts to keep in mind when starting one of these venture clubs:
- Be Flexible with Expectations & Requirements (i.e. faculty advisor)
- Promote Civic Engagement, Activism, Community Involvement & Participation
- Develop Leadership Skills and Compassion
- Adapt to Local, Specific Situation (i.e. inclusion of boys in a charter to introduce them to women/gender issues)
The outcomes for sponsoring clubs, and the benefits for SI in general are:
- Source for Violet Richardson, Women’s Opportunity and Ruby Award nominees
- Increased public visibility and potential source of new members for your club
- Assistance with/increase in programs
- Diversity and fresh ideas
- Promotes volunteerism
For more information about these Venture clubs, contact your club President to get a copy of Susan’s resource guide.