Here’s advice from TeenMD’s pioneers
- Start early. When kids are in middle school is ideal, moms said, because after that they get over-extended with activities.
- Enlist people who get along. “I think it worked because the kids were good friends anyway, not just the moms, ” Newman says.
- Keep it easygoing. Allow them to put organized events first. “If somebody had a soccer game? They couldn’t go that day. It’s OK,” Mahoney says.
- Keep it informal. No dues and no agenda means no drama, Newman says. The more demands you make, the less fun it will be.
- That said, commit. “It requires a lot of hard work and time, and you have to really want to do this,” Conner Au says.
- Pick a ringleader. Let families choose causes and organize outings in their own way, but designate someone to keep track of and share contact information, and keep the trains running on time.
- Go local. TeenMD prefers grassroots groups over national organizations, which typically have enough name recognition and marketing to get plenty of volunteers.
- Don’t give up. Interest in the group will wax and wane, Mahoney says, but if you keep it fun, people will keep showing up.