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  • 5 steps to developing a meaningful service project

    The best way to engage students in service is to make it personal and allow them to lead the way. The beginning of the school year is a great time to empower Builders Club members to take a deep look around the school and the community, and investigate how the club can make a big impact. Here are 5 steps for developing a meaningful and impactful service project:

    1. Conduct interviews. Encourage members to use this service project interview guide to help determine who in their school and/or community could benefit from a service project.
    2. Research and explore. After the interviews, help members begin researching and exploring some of the topics discussed in the interviews for themselves and document their findings.
    3. Presentations. After the research and idea-gathering, ask members to form groups—each of which should present one or two findings that could lead to a service project.
    4. Brainstorm solutions. After each group has presented, the club should brainstorm possible solutions. (For great club discussions, encourage members to use accountable talk.) Next, the club could take a vote on which service project the club should plan and execute.
    5. Start planning. When the club has voted and decided on a service project, it’s time to start putting it all together. 

    As an advisor, you can help guide the members through these five steps by asking them great questions along the way. Challenge them to reflect on how their decisions and the project will be impactful. Members will feel empowered and connected to their service—because they’re putting their leadership skills into practice.

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  • The Service Leadership Model

    The primary educational objective of Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs, including Builders Club, is to prepare students to be the most engaged members of their current and future communities. We do this by giving young people the experience of service leadership. Service leadership is the powerful force that occurs once people discover their heart to serve, answer their call to lead, and exercise the courage to engage. It’s the premier level of social contribution.

    Heart to serve

    Here’s one of the best things about Builders Club: when students see service as a new, exciting way of life. The service club experience can help young people accept their ability to make a difference, enhance their passions and convictions, and develop their ability to empathize with those in need.

    How can an advisor support the discovery of a heart to serve?

    • Ensure that service remains front and center in the club’s purpose. 
    • Facilitate conversation before and after service projects in order to help students express emotions and insights. 
    • Pay attention to members who identify a passion and help them find resources to explore that passion. 
    • Introduce the club to community charities and cause-related organizations that they might not have discovered on their own. 
    • Make sure the club’s choices for projects and service initiatives are student-led.
    Call to lead
    Every person has leadership potential. Builders Club helps a young person answer that call—and become someone who steps forward when standing still might have been the easier choice. In fact, the service club experience at a young age can help students accept their own leadership identity, learn to be an others-centered leader, and develop their ability to move an idea into action.

    How can an advisor help members answer the call to lead? 
    • Provide training to elected leaders on the technical aspects of the job, and on the “soft” skills of listening, recognizing and empowering. 
    • Praise and recognize members who lead with humility and/or display others-centered leadership. 
    • Pay attention and show appreciation to members who contribute more than before. 
    • Talk about leaders and leadership in terms of something all members have the capacity for, and not just the officers. 
    • Make sure the club’s operations and decisions are student-led.
    Courage to engage
    With Builders Club, members begin to live a life of collaboration rather than isolation. More than ever before, young people need to develop effective face-to-face interaction. The service club experience at a young age can help students see collaboration as the key to success, learn to build coalitions that address community needs, and build strong connections through conversation.

    How can an advisor help spark the courage to engage? 
    • Engage members in recruiting peers, whether through a single service project or with invitations to join the club. 
    • Encourage club officers to include fellowship time at every meeting, using “icebreaker” activities to promote interaction. 
    • Set aside time for educating members on core skills, such as proper introductions, active listening and social interactions. 
    • Pay attention and show appreciation to members who exhibit well developed social skills. 
    • Provide opportunities for club members to interact with adult leaders and parents. 

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  • Sneak a peek at the member kits

    Each year, Builders Clubs receive a membership kit with resources and materials designed to help club members and advisors succeed. This year you can expect to find all of the following (and more) amazing resources and materials in the membership kit:

    • Member handbooks. Encourage students to refer to their handbook regularly. It includes a calendar for planning events during the year, and it’s handy for sharing information with parents.
    • Member cards and pins. Club officers should ensure members receive one of each so they can show their Builders Club pride. The officers should designate a day each week (preferably the club meeting day) for members to wear their pins at school. 
    • Officer and advisor pins. In addition to the member pin, each advisor and officer should receive a pin to reflect his or her title. Honor new officers at a club officer installation using the suggested ceremonial outline on page 34 of the advisor guide.
    • Calendar poster. The club officers can help members stay on track throughout the school year by hanging this poster in the club meeting room and keeping it updated with meeting dates and service projects. 
    • Officer guides. Each guide is unique to the responsibilities of each club officer position. However, all the guides have the same basic structure—with job descriptions, tools to help plan or prepare, resources and helpful websites, and checklists of responsibilities.
    • Table tents. Ask each club officer to use them during club meetings. To keep the items in good shape, consider laminating them, or collect them after every meeting. Additional table tents are available for download. (For officers: For other members:
    • Peer recognition stickers. Use the stickers to increase positive, thoughtful acts in the school and community. Members give stickers to peers they “catch” doing acts of kindness.
    • Advisor guide. Created for both the faculty advisor and the Kiwanis advisor, this guide is filled with information and tips for supporting a Builders Club. You can also download a digital copy or purchase additional printed copies in the meeting items/literature section.

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  • Icebreaker: Club introductions

    At one of the year’s first club meetings, members could introduce themselves to each other with this fun activity: 

    • The club officers hand out a table tent to each club member. 
    • Officers instruct club members to write their first name in large letters on the table tent. 
    • Officers ask members to decorate their table tent by drawing pictures that describe themselves. For example, a drawing of books could mean that the person likes to read. 
    • Each member takes a turn standing up to share and explain the drawing.

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  • Member kits to arrive in September!

    Exciting news! To better serve our Builders Clubs, the 2016–17 membership kits will be mailed to all active clubs in September. To help ensure that the youth club receives its kit with enough materials, reach out to the sponsoring Kiwanis club secretary and have them complete the following steps by August 31:

    1. Round up info. The sponsoring Kiwanis club secretary needs to get the number of Builders Club members for the 2016–17 year and the address to which the kit should be mailed

    2. (Kiwanis club secretary) Log into KiwanisOne. On the secretary dashboard, under Sponsorships, select the “pencil” icon located next to each Builders Club that your club sponsors.

    3. Update the club info. Confirm or update the membership count. 

    4. Update the mailing address. Verify or update the mailing address    to which the membership kit should be shipped. 

    The sponsoring Kiwanis club will be asked to pay the renewal fee for the Builders Club in October. The invoice for the club will appear under the Finance tab at the top of the Secretary dashboard at the beginning of the Kiwanis fiscal year. 

    Membership kits include membership pins, cards, advisor guides and much more! Please coordinate with the sponsoring Kiwanis club secretary to complete these steps by August 31 so the Builders Club have the resources to start their year of fun, fellowship and service!

    Important notes:

    *If the faculty advisor information needs to be updated, send a detailed email to If the Kiwanis advisor information needs to be updated, make this change on the front page of the Secretary dashboard under Sponsorships.

    **If a K-Kids or Builders Club will not be active in 2016–17, email at your earliest convenience so that a membership kit is not mailed in September. 

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