It’s Our Turn Now!
Four years ago, my mom and other members of the Cameron PTA executive board began noticing how often their own children would come to help at various events. Then our friends started showing up to help out. We had watched our parents volunteer in the school for years. We thought it was fun to serve cookies and punch or pass out prizes at the Sock Hop. Students becoming members was a new concept in Cameron and the students were interested in the idea. It was then decided to change our title from PTA to a PTSA.
A student membership in the Cameron PTSA is the same price as an individual membership. Any student enrolled in the Cameron Middle School or High School (grades 5th thru 12th) may join. We currently have about 35 members. Students receive membership cards and have the exact same rights as adults. They are encouraged to attend and take part in general meetings. I even serve on the board as Public Relations Chair/Historian.
We have two adult sponsors, Laura Provin and my mom, Susan Rupert. Mom says, “In Cameron, we want to give our student members opportunities to learn about advocacy, develop leadership skills and understand the importance volunteerism and community service.” We have our own student meetings where we use parliamentary procedure and make decisions about various projects; i.e. t-shirt designs and colors. Then we have student representatives that attend the board and general meetings to report about what we are planning. Students have represented Cameron at the National and State convention. We really enjoy attending the student workshops at Leadership Conference in the spring.
Our student members are very active. We volunteer at many of the Cameron PTSA events. We help with the 2nd grade reading fair by being extra “hands” at the various craft stations. At the annual Holiday shop members will help elementary students select items, make their purchase and wrap the gifts. Many of us shopped when we were younger so it’s fun to go help and watch how much thought the students put into their purchasing. We step outside the school environment every spring to learn about the value of community service by volunteering at our area Relay for Life.
Three years we started a Book Bingo for 1st grade students and their families. This event is totally run by students from start to finish. Each student that attends receives a goody bag that includes a brand new book that was donated by a local publishing company. We collect “gently loved” books that students and their siblings receive when they bingo during the evening. This free event serves as a family fun night and promotes reading at home.
If you are not currently a PTSA this might be a great way to increase membership and volunteer base in your unit. Many times we see both the parent and student become members together. If you are a PTSA, involve your student members. Invite them to attend general meetings , serve on committees and volunteer at your events. PTA maybe the only opportunity they get to learn about the value of giving back to their school and community. Encourage student members to share their thoughts and ideas. Show them they are important by listening. What better advocate for children than children? We have firsthand knowledge of what we are faced with each day.
As much as we want to provide information about how to effectively put the “S” into your PTSA, our biggest asset is you. Nothing demonstrates the positive contributions that our students can make to our PTSA unit better than your stories of success. So let’s hear from you!!!! Send us your success stories that we can share with other units. Or perhaps share your stories where a struggle turned into a learning opportunity.
If we can all learn from each others experiences, then we can ALL make our PTSA units more effective than any of us could do alone.
Remember to check back here for information that can increase your PTSA’s student involvement.