Starting a Club

Start a Young Maker club!

You may first want to see if there are any nearby clubs that you’d like to join. Check out the Affiliated Clubs page, and feel free to attend the 2014 information sessions to meet others and learn more about the program.

Recruit Young Makers

Young Makers can be found in neighborhoods, family friends, afterschool programs, school classes, scout troops, church groups, even groups of parents and co-workers. These are similarly great places to seek out mentors, whether adults or high school teenagers, who are interested in helping, encouraging, and supporting the development of the projects.

Young Makers clubs tend to be approximately 6-12 youth, though the most important thing is to pick a size that is most comfortable for you. Some clubs are “mega” clubs that bring together numerous groups in one space. It’s easiest to start small, then add more participants depending on energy and interest.

Recruit mentors

Mentors are adults or high school teens from the community who help Young Makers make, create, and iterate. Mentors may be parents, guardians, teachers and educators, and professionals from any field (art, carpentry, accounting, programming, design, writing, biology, etc.) who are excited to volunteer and help out in new ways. Mentors may help members find a project vision if they don’t already have one, and/or work to help realize that vision by working with one project or one group or floating between multiple projects and groups, lending their guidance and expertise in whichever form or fashion. Collectively, Young Makers and mentors foster a collaborative culture of creativity, innovation and experimentation.

Mentors will provide different perspectives, approaches, and levels of experience or expertise. Mentors should be curious, have a sense of curiosity and wonder, be able to support and encourage youth, consider project/supply/time management, and overall, enjoying making with Young Makers! Mentors are critical in providing both moral and technical support.

Mentors can have extensive skills in one area, or general skills in lots of areas, or simply be a motivator for youth. Clubs and regions may be able to share mentors, as well as work together to match Young Makers with local experts as they progress in their projects. Consider friends, co-workers, and neighbors too!

Find a space

While makerspaces, workshops, and fabrication facilities are nice-to-have’s, it’s more realistic that Young Makers will meet and work in a garage or similar informal space. Even classrooms are great gathering places.

If you have access to a shop, garage, a neighborhood space, or an empty classroom, you’re ready to start. Connect with your community to share tools, borrow equipment, donate materials, and help purchase supplies. Hand tools are solid place to start, such as screwdrivers, hammers, and saws. Other simple tools that engage with different materials are always helpful, such as a sewing machine and soldering irons. Basic power tools, like power drills, are also useful.

A suggested tool list with different tiers of beginning and advanced tools is in the works. Coming soon!

Brainstorm projects

Looks to resources like this website, Instructables, Make Magazine, and many others to generate project ideas. Young Makers may already have ideas in mind, or they may need encouragement or help to start their dreaming.

See additional suggestions on how to find a project vision.

Meet regularly

The key to Young Makers club is a sense of community, trust, and collaboration. Meet regularly; share ideas, inspiration, and struggles; and convene with other local clubs at monthly meetings. These are great opportunities to share progress, processes, and successes. Young Makers will gain not only hard, technical skills but also soft skills such as perseverance and curiosity.

Document work

It’s encouraged for Young Makers, as well as mentors, club managers, and all participants, to document all your work.  Make notes, take photos and videos, and post them to share! These can all be compiled into a portfolio.

Once clubs register and become a member of Young Makers, a unique webpage will also be made available on the Young Makers domain. Have your participants help to populate the webpage, creating logos and designs, choosing a name and identity, and writing blog posts.

A much more thorough and complete guide to getting a club up and running is available in the Maker Club Playbook.

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