Can I visit the club before I decide about joining?
Yes, we welcome, and encourage, visitors to the group to “check us out.” You may contact us or arrange for a visit call or text 256-527-2692, or email email@example.com.
If I visit, do I have to speak?
Guests are seated with the members, and are usually given the opportunity to answer an off-the-cuff question during the Impromptu segment of the meeting. Guests have the option to say, "I pass," if they would rather just observe the meeting. Guests do vote after the major segments of the meeting, so should pay close attention to determine who did the best job during each segment (Impromptus, Prepared Speeches, and Evaluations).
What happens at a typical meeting?
Members help set up the meeting room. The meetings begin with a short business session where we acknowledge guests and run through any housekeeping items. Parents are welcome to stay and watch throughout.
The meeting is then turned over to the day’s MC (Master of Ceremonies) who is in charge of introducing segments of the meeting and key participants.
During the first segment of the meeting, called “Impromptus,” members and guests have the opportunity to think on their feet and talk on a topic, off-the-cuff, within a 2-minute time limit. Guests have the option to pass.
Following Impromptus the prepared speeches segment begins, during which the scheduled speakers make their presentations. Most of the speakers are giving specific types of speeches to complete requirements for level promotion.
During the final segment of the meeting, each speaker is evaluated by a fellow club member, following club guidelines for evaluation.
After each segment, club members (and guest students) cast votes for the winner of each segment -- Best Impromptu, Best Speaker, and Best Evaluator. At the end of the meeting, ribbons are awarded to the winners.
If I join, how will I know how to be the MC, or the Word-master, or an Evaluator, etc?
When you join, you will receive a 45-page member handbook that, among other things, describes how to do each role at a meeting. Plus, you will have the opportunity to learn by observing at the meeting. If you have questions, you can always ask the Chairperson (the adult supervisor of the club), or one of the other members.
How much homework/preparation time is involved?
Giving a speech would be the only role at a meeting that requires substantial preparation time. Members are generally scheduled for 4-5 speeches per year, so they are usually a couple of months apart, giving anyone enough time to put together a good speech.
Some of the other roles do require a little preparation, for example, the Word-master chooses a Word of the Day and comes with a definition of it. The Impromptu Master prepares enough questions to ask the group. The Humorist brings some jokes. The Poet Laureate brings a poem. The ideal MC will reach out to speakers for introductory material before the meeting and fill in the MC’s worksheet.
That’s about it. Other than preparing speeches which can be done in small bites, there’s not a lot of homework.
Who teaches me how to write speeches?
Your member handbook has a section devoted to speech-writing. It gives you a worksheet to help you plan your first speech, called the "Getting to Know You" speech. There are suggestions for types of speeches to avoid, and a 5-step process we outline for how to write a great speech. You'll also learn by observing, doing, and being-evaluated. We endeavor to videotape all speeches. These are generally made available to the member on an unlisted page on YouTube.
As part of "completing" the speech, you will view and complete a self-evaluation form. The Chairperson, members Level III-and-above, and current club officers, may also provide a written evaluation to you.
The speeches in Level I do emphasize the development of specific presentation skills. These include using gestures, vocal variety, visual aids, and organization. The member handbook gives specific tips and guidelines for these speech. During Levels I & II, parents may assist you as you craft your speeches.
How long does it take to complete each Level?
Completing each Level in Speakers League (there are four), involves giving seven speeches and doing each role in the club at least once, during that Level. Some of the higher Levels (beyond Level I) have additional requirements. It usually takes 12-18 months per level, to advance, though members that tend to have speeches ready to go, and can substitute in case of a no-show, tend to advance more quickly.
I'll be turning 18 this year. Can I still join?
You may stay in Speech Crafters Speech & Debate Club until you graduate high school, or turn 18, whichever is later. However, members age 18 and above pay $125 per year.
How much does it cost to join?
We are supported by Every Child Has a Story, a 501c3 non profit organization. As such, our programs are provided at NO CHARGE to members age 8-18. If you desire membership after age 18, a fee of $125 is charged each year.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards, PayPal and checks.
How often does the club meet?
Speech Crafters Speech & Debate Club meet weekly starting 1st Wednesday in September of the current school year and continue through May. Our annual Confident Kid's Conference is held on the second Saturday in June.
Should I wait to join in September?
There is no difference in experience joining in September or any other month. It is commonplace for new members to join year-round. Membership goes up and down. The best time to join is when there is an opening in the club.
Do we have to come to every meeting?
No, but it is highly encouraged. However, if your child is scheduled for a role but unable to attend, it is customary to find a replacement.
How do we withdraw from the club?
You may withdraw your child from the club at any time by notifying the club Chairperson. Payments up to that point are non-refundable. Future scheduled payments are immediately halted. If fewer than 10 days before the next meeting.
When we’re ready to join, what should we do?
The quickest way is to click on the "Enroll" tab above.
What happens after my child joins?
Once you have completed our member registration packet, an automated, short series of emails will start to come to you to help your child get ready for the club. A member handbook will be provided at the first meeting, and your child will be added to the club schedule.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call or text us at 619-452-0732, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.