Anime Ascendant

An anime club help site that offers advice and support


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COVID-19: Can Anime Clubs Survive?

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COVID-19: Can Anime Clubs Survive? + Alternatives to Meeting in Person

With the coronavirus epidemic, also known as COVID-19, canceling building openings and gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus, do anime clubs have a chance to survive?

Yes, they can. To take a step in the direction of the times when anime and manga fans made friends online–“OMG, so retro,” may be your thought process–then, yes, anime clubs can survive by going back to the internet.

Ways to keep a club going without meeting in person:

The essence of running events online isn’t different from running events for in-person events. 

  • Book a venue or space. Book a space online. If it’s a Google Hangout or YouTube Live, make sure you have a Google account and create a Hangout or YouTube Live event (literally search how to do these). If it’s a Skype, Facetime, or conference call event, make sure you have an account with the respective apps or get a conference call number and code. If it’s a webinar or Netflix Party app event, make sure you have an account on that platform or app.
  • Make sure the event title, date, location, and time(s) are correct and booked. This isn’t different from in-person events. Just make sure the event title is short.
  • Create physical flyers, posters, and marketing materials. Create digital flyers, posters, and marketing materials. You can make a digital flyer that can go on Instagram or social media through Canva.com.
  • Distribute physical marketing materials. Send digital marketing materials on social media and through email. Also post these on your websites if you can.
  • Follow up with people who are in the club by phone, email, and texts. This isn’t much different from in-person events since cold marketing or sending out marketing materials don’t work the most to get folks to events. It’s more important at this time to follow up with possible attendees.
  • Order supplies and food for the event. Make sure your computer or phone is set up for the online event. This means making sure your laptop has a camera, its microphone and speakers work, and any clamps, tripods, headphones, and gear are nearby.

The important part about being a club is being connected.

That means reaching out to the club leadership and members to check in. If a friend is nearby, call them, text them, connect with them and make sure the COVID zombie apocalypse hasn’t taken them.

Have some ideas? Write it below!


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How Do I Keep My Anime Club From Falling Apart?

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How Do I Keep My Anime Club From Falling Apart?

I’m trying to make my club better. We’re halfway through the year and our club is basically tearing apart. It was going well at the beginning of the year but now it’s getting boring (and people are leaving).

Besides, “What do I do?”, the real question here is, “How do I keep my club from falling apart halfway through the year?”

Why It Happens

Usually when that happens, it’s because there isn’t structure (consistent and interesting screenings or officer presence) or there aren’t any new ideas coming through the regular meetings (same thing every week in and out).
One other thing: usually when a group falls apart, it may be because there is someone or something that is really negative. People don’t want to feel any negativity since they’re using your group as an escape from it. Pinpoint that negative piece and take it out, even if it is an officer, because that negativity will drive members away for at least 2 or 3 years.

What to Do

After the Officer Meeting: Once you’ve figured out what’s making your group so boring, negative, or complacent and you’ve talked it over with your officers, send out an email saying that things have changed and why. Apologize for the hiccup and show how you’re changing–and how they can become active members to make your anime club the best club at your school. An example of this type of communication is Domino’s, who used study groups to make new and better pizzas, and sent out flyers and emails apologizing and saying how they’ve changed. Now Domino’s is on the same playing field as Pizza Hut and Little Caesar’s.
Activities: Change how a meeting is run like putting a loyal member in charge of a regular meeting or do mini activities like scavenger hunts, guest speakers, and parties. Check out “Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Japanese School Festivals” and “The Ultimate Anime Club Meeting Ideas and Activities List“.
Marketing: The way to get people to return is to also look at your marketing. Are you guys putting up flyers and talking to friends? Are you emailing folks about your meetings and events? I would sit down with your president and the other officers and see how you can get people interested in the club and/or anime again.
If you don’t think these will work or it’s too late for them to work, still do them and come up with a game plan for next year to prevent this from happening. Planning ahead will fix many hiccups along the way.
Hope this helps!
Do you have some other ideas for solving this problem? Leave a comment!


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Activities for Shy Members

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Activities for Shy Members

Imagine looking at room of 10 or 20 excited club members who are painfully shy to get up and do Interview Bingo for a game. What do you do? How do you move to a different activity without losing face?

Here are a few activities to get shy yet adamant club members into activities.

1. Give or Take

On the board, create a 4×4 or 5×5 grid. Number each box.

Club members will be teams. Make sure to group each team by number (ex. Team 1, Team 2, etc.).

Each team will number off their teammates. #1 teammates will stand up. Ask a question anime related. Whichever team raises their hand fastest and gets the correct answer will have a chance to pick a number on the grid.

2. Hungry Monkey (adaption to Hungry Santa above)

Make teams of 4 or more and give them a team number. Write 1-6 on the board, or if you plan on using this game more times, make flashcards. Next to the odd numbers (1,3,5), draw pictures of monkeys. Next to the even numbers (2,4,6), draw bananas. On the side, number off by how many teams there are (ex. 5 teams means numbering 1 to 5). Give each team 5 points.

Each team will number off their teammates. #1 teammates will stand up. Ask a question anime related. Whichever team raises their hand fastest and gets the correct answer will have a chance to give points to a team or take points for themselves. Once that’s decided, the team rolls a die. If the die lands on an odd number (1,3,5), it means minus points. If the die lands on an even number (2,4,6), it means plus points.

If a team rolls a one (1), it means minus all that picked team’s points.

If a team rolls a six (6), it means either plus 6 points, a prize, or roll again for plus points–it’s up to you.

The team with the most points wins.

3. Karuta

Make many cards with Japan-related pictures (kimono, chopsticks, rice, sushi, sashimi). Put the members in small groups. Each group will get a set of the cards and they will spread them out evenly on the tables. The caller (whomever is calling out the Japanese words) will say the words in Japanese. The members must hit the correct picture card to get a point. The member with the most picture cards is the winner.

4. Pass the Present

Wrap a small present with 6 to 10 layers of wrapping paper or newspaper. Play a Japanese song as the members pass the present around. When the music stops, the member holding the present must answer a question before unwrapping a layer. The game ends when someone finally unwraps the last layer and claims the present.

5. Shiritori

One person says or writes a title or word from an anime, manga, Japanese video game, song, or movie. The next person will say or write a word starting with the last letter from the first person. For example, if Person A says “Dragon Ball”, Person B will say a word starting with L (Love Hina, Legal Drug, Loveless).

Do you have any activities or games for shy club members? Leave a comment!


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Back2School Back2Anime: The First 3 Meetings

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Figuring out how you’re going to start your anime club is part of the fun as an officer–but not when you’re scrabbling for ideas. The first 3 meetings are the most important meetings of the each semester. It’ll let your members know whether or not they want to join or disappear.

Here is an outline for your first 3 meetings to guide you:

Meeting One: The Introductions

-Ice Breaker: Get to know the members and let them get to know you.

Try Anime Bingo as an ice breaker: Anime Bingo 4×4 (docx) (for smaller clubs) and Anime Bingo 5×5 (docx) (for bigger clubs)

-Officer Introduction: Each officer introduces themselves.

-Club Introductions: Talk about what the club does, member dues, and how they can help make the club better

-Activity: Play a game that will have information about the officers and what the club does.

-Member Survey or Feedback Cards: Have each member finish a survey or feedback card.

 

Meeting Two: The Re-Introductions

-Ice Breaker: Get to know the members and let them get to know you.

Use this ice breaker to review or reintroduce the club information from the first meeting.

-Introduce what the club will do

-Activity

-Feedback or Suggestion Cards: Have each member finish a feedback or suggestion card on what the club should do next meeting.

 

Meeting Three: The Sell

-Ice Breaker: Get to know the members and let them get to know you.

Use this ice breaker to review or reintroduce the club information from the first meeting.

-Introduce what the club will do

-Activity or Special Guest

-Announcements or Open calls for committee members: Use this time to announce upcoming meetings, fundraisers, conventions, or events. Also be sure to include members in sub-committees and groups for special projects.

-Feedback or Suggestion Cards: Have each member finish a feedback or suggestion card on what the club should do next meeting.

If you need more ideas, please go to The Ultimate Anime Club Meeting Ideas and Activities List. If there is something specific you’re looking for and can’t find it, comment below or contact us.


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How to Get Businesses to Donate to Your Club or Event

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How to Get Businesses to Donate to Your Club or Event

Looking for a business to donate to your club or event? Here’s a letter for you to take or send to businesses you want to donate to your club or event.

  1. Please fill in and review the information in the letter (see below for template). Make sure to un-bold all of the <bold areas> with your current information.
  2. Make a list of all the restaurants and stores in the area (see below for template). If you are looking for specific things (ex. science stuff, geek gear, cooking supplies), try to target specific businesses. If you’re looking for art or craft supplies, put your local Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, and Dick Blick on the list.
  3.  Once you’ve completed the letter, make several copies, and put each one into envelopes addressed to each restaurant or store.
  4. Go to the restaurants and stores on your list. It’s always better to go in person if you can. It’s better for you and another officer to visit these places together. When you go to the restaurants and stores, ask for the manager, tell the manager about the event (do NOT say party), and give them the letter. If the manager or owner is not present at that time, tell the waiter/clerk to give it to them. It’s best if you and whoever is going with you knows most of the details of the event in case the managers ask you questions. Also, it’s good to know exactly what you’re going to do for their business if they sponsor you.
  5. Follow up before the form submission deadline (you’ll decide that).

Please keep in mind that being organized and having all of your event details sorted out. If you don’t have the date, time, venue, and expected number of attendees, you most likely won’t get donations. It’s a give-and-take world, and you have to know how to play it.

Do not send this letter 2 weeks before your event. It’s better to send it 4 weeks before your event so that if the business has to mail back the form, it’ll reach you in time.

If you want to step up your game, you can also put a self-addressed envelope in the letter as well. On top of that, if you’ve sent out the letters to businesses and you haven’t heard back after 2 weeks, give the manager a call or send a thank-you card to them as a reminder. Maybe the letter got stuck underneath a pile of snail mail (which is why it’s better to hand the manager a letter).

Letter_to_Vendors – Excel (.docx) format

List of Vendors Template – Excel (.xlsx) format

Need a hand? You can contact me through email or find me on Skype at jeridel[dot]banks. Please make sure to indicate that you found me through Anime Ascendant, or I’ll decline any requests and emails.


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Anime Club Game Idea: Sugoroku (Japanese Backgammon)

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Anime Club Game Idea: Sugoroku (Japanese Backgammon)

A fun way to get to know your members is to play a Japanese game called Sugoroku. We also included the Japanese version of rock-scissors-paper, janken, so your anime club members don’t scramble around looking for their dice.

What is Sugoroku?

Sugoroku, which translates to “child’s dice game” or “Japanese backgammon”, is a game similar to American board games. Players usually throw dice and move around a board. Because we’re short on dice, we are using janken or rock-scissors-paper to decide who gets to move to the next boxes.

How to Play Sugoroku

❶ Play janken, or rock-paper-scissors.  Winner will be A. Loser will be B.

❷ A (Winner) will ask B (Loser) the question.

❸ B (Loser) will answer the question and sign their name on A’s paper.

❹ A (Winner) can move to the next box/question. Sorry, B, try again!

Worksheet

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There are 2 formats available for this game.

Sugoroku – PDF

Sugoroku – DOCX

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Japanese School Festivals

School festivals are central to all manga and anime centering around Japanese schools as well as Japanese society.

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Everyone participates in the school festivals, even the foreign English teachers like myself. Last year, I was faced with the school festival, and though I wanted to do something as typical as a cafe, rules kept the maid outfits at bay. “There are only two places where food can be made, and they’ve already been claimed,” a teacher told me with a sympathetic smile. “You’ll have to come up with some other idea for the English Club.”

Great. I guess my anime dreams of doing a maid cafe couldn’t come true. Ideas, I thought, I need ideas. Of course, my students couldn’t come up with anything. You’ll find that unless you offer Japanese kids ideas, you won’t come up with anything concrete.

For those of you in the same situation or you want to do a fundraiser, here’s a list of ideas you can do with a small club (3 to 5 members) or more.

1. Cake Walk (Musical Chairs + Raffle): Use Daiso vinyl tape and make footprints or circles on the floor into one big circle. Put numbers in each circle. Participants will stand on the circles, and when the music starts, they will walk to each circle. When the music stops, a number will be called. The participant on the called number will win a cake or a prize. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk_(carnival_game) . (A similar game in Japan is called Fruits Basket.)

2. Costume Booth (Halloween Japanese traditional wear or costume + Photography): Get a lot of costumes and props. Designate someone who will print pictures and put them in cellophane holders. Participants will pick what costumes they want and the theme of their photograph.

3. Skit: Pick a Western Japanese-origin plays or skit such as Momotarou (“Peach Boy”), Tsuru no on-gaeshi (“The Crane Wife”), Issun-boushi (“The One-Inch Boy”), or Kobutori jiisan (“The Old Man with a Lump”). Adjust the script, pick the actors, and perform the skit on stage.

4. Names in Cursive Japanese: For more artistic people, participants will get their names written in pretty cursive. If you’re into graffiti, do names in graffiti.

5. Dance: Do a traditional dance from a different country (i.e. Philippine’s tinikling or binasuan or Mexico’s folklorico) a Japanese prefecture such as eisa (Okinawa) or the Lantern Dance (Kanagawa).

6. Western Eastern bazaar: Get lots of new knickknacks (stickers, posters, bilingual books, toys, stuffed animals, bracelets, snacks, etc.). Set up a booth or room with the items all tagged with prices. Get a register or cash box and put someone responsible for it.

7. English wanage (Ring Toss): Make rings and stands out of cardboard and tape. (I would use Daiso colored tape to make the rings and stands more interesting, seeing that cardboard is pretty ugly.) Use vinyl tape as a distance marker. Give participants the rings and prizes after they’ve gotten the rings on the stands successfully. For an English Japanese-involved ring toss, put pictures on the stands. Show the participants an English Japanese word. They will throw the ring onto the matching picture of the English Japanese word.

8. Basket Toss: Make balls out of tape and set up cardboard boxes. For an English Japanese-involved basket toss, put pictures on the boxes. Tell the participant an English Japanese word, and they will throw the ball into the matching picture. You can also do this with teachers’ pictures and tell the participants a teacher’s profile (where they’re from, the subject they teach, the homeroom they’re in charge of).

9. Western Anime Cafe: Pick any theme for your cafe. Get refreshments (cupcakes, brownies, muffins, breads), drinks, utensils, table clothes, napkins, and props that fit the theme. Set up nice tables and have the club members be waiters (make shifts!). Customers will come and order food and drinks from an all-English Japanese menu. The waiters will take the orders in English Japanese as best as they can. For the non-food option, still set up the cafe the same way but make a separate table with different candies, knickknacks, and lots of gift wrapping materials (ribbons, wrapping paper, tape, scissors, cellophane bags, hole punches, and stickers). Customers will look at a menu of themes and make a gift for their friends, parents, or lovers. The waiters will only clean up after the customers and offer suggestions to them.

10. Movie: Make a movie with the club before the school festival (summer vacation is the best time to do this if your festival is later on in the year). Sit down with the club, write the script, schedule times to film, practice all the scenes, film, edit, and add Japanese subtitles.

11. English Japanese Scavenger Hunt: Give attendees a scavenger hunt paper with tasks such as “Find three married teachers” (3人の結婚したの教師を探してください). If they complete the task, they get a stamp on their paper. They can show their stamps at one location (if you have no room, use a kiosk or table-top cart) and get prizes. If you’re looking for examples of this kind of activity, it has been done at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Okinawa for their annual festivals (おきなわ国際協力・交流フェスティバル[English][Japanese] ).

If you’re having trouble coming up with school festival ideas for your anime club, just think of a fundraiser or carnival event and try that.


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Fundraising Ideas from a Charity

Looking for some more fundraising ideas? Need some volunteering help? The Water Project, a non-profit organization that gives clean water projects to communities in sub-Saharan Africa, has a list of fundraising ideas for you and your club. Some of the fundraisers include 2-week water challenges, water races, and water parties as ideas that can help your club and give to the charity.

For ideas, please go to http://thewaterproject.org/resources/fundraisingideas_2012.pdf (a PDF).


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The Ultimate Anime Club Meeting Ideas and Activities List

“So…what’re we doing today?” The quizzical stares, the deer-in-the-headlight eyes, always haunt me at some of the meetings I held my first few attempts at creating a cool club meeting. (If you’re looking for ideas that aren’t in person, see the post “COVID-19: Can Anime Clubs Survive?“)

To avoid disastrous moments of awkward silence and “let’s get out of here” whispers, here are a few ideas you and your officers can do:

Icebreakers

Birthday Race – Make two teams. Within a time limit, the members must make a line sorted by birth dates. The team to make the line first is the winner.

Meishi or Business Card Game – Make pairs. Each pair will get a 3 cards. They’ll write their names on the cards. On the back of each card are stamps. Each stamp is worth different points. The members don’t know how much each stamp is worth until the end of the activity. Members will first introduce their friends (“This is Amy”). One person from each pair will janken or play Rock-Paper-Scissor. The winners will take one of the losers’ cards. Members who lose all of their cards must sit down. Once most of the class has sat down, the activity should end. Show the members the points per stamp. The pair with the most points wins.

Pass the Present – Wrap a small present with 6 to 10 layers of wrapping paper or newspaper. Play a Japanese song as the members pass the present around. When the music stops, the member holding the present must answer a question before unwrapping a layer. The game ends when someone finally unwraps the last layer and claims the present.

Suguroku – Give each member a worksheet. The members will play janken or Rock-Paper-Scissor with each other. The winner will become A. The loser will become B. The loser must answer the winner’s question and sign in the appropriate box. Now the winner can go forward by one box.

Truth or Lie – Members will say or write 3 things about themselves. Only 1 of the 3 statements will be a lie. The other members will guess which is a lie.

Parlor Games

Fruits Basket – The members will sit in a big circle. One chair will be removed, so one person will stand in the middle of the circle. The member in the center of the circle will say a statement about themselves (“I am sixteen years old”). If any of the sitting members can say the same thing about themselves (“I’m sixteen years old too”), they will change seats. When the moderator of the game says “Fruits Basket”, everyone will change seats.

The Hot Seat / Taboo – Members will split into teams. Each team will pick a new “hot seat” person. The “hot seat” person will sit in a chair facing their team. The “hot seat” person can’t see the board. The team will pick a category (ex: Japanese Food, Shoujo Anime). There are 10 words in each category (Shoujo Anime might have High School Debut, Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat, Honey x Clover, Otomen, Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex, Peach Girl, NANA, Sailor Moon). The team can’t say any of the words in the category. They can only give hints to the word. Give them a time limit. If the “hot seat” person can say the words on the board within the time limit, they get one point per word.

 Karuta– Make many cards with Japan-related pictures (kimono, chopsticks, rice, sushi, sashimi). Put the members in small groups. Each group will get a set of the cards and they will spread them out evenly on the tables. The caller (whomever is calling out the Japanese words) will say the words in Japanese. The members must hit the correct picture card to get a point. The member with the most picture cards is the winner.

Ninja – This game has the same rules as Red Light, Green Light.

Shiritori – One person says or writes a title or word from an anime, manga, Japanese video game, song, or movie. The next person will say or write a word starting with the last letter from the first person. For example, if Person A says “Dragon Ball”, Person B will say a word starting with L (Love Hina, Legal Drug, Loveless).

Activities

Cosplay contest.

Decorate paper fans.

Do a manga or anime swap.

Do a manzai, or stand-up comedy, day.

Do Japanese calligraphy. Get some Japanese calligraphy brushes, inks, and papers and learn to write basic kanji (calligraphy) or your names.

Do Japanese story-telling, or rakugo. You can watch a video, bring in a rakugo artist, or you can do it yourselves (think of it as funny campfire tales).

Have a haiku contest or haiku reading day.

Knit or crochet stuffed animals or mascots (also known as amigurumi).

Learn the borrowed Japanese words used in English.

Learn the dance steps to popular songs from artists like Vocaloid, AKB48, and ARASHI.

Look up popular Japanese fashions from Harajuku, Tokyo, and Shinjuku.

Make buttons with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make felt animals or mascots.

Make hanging paper koi.

Make keychains with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make paper lanterns.

Make T-shirts of favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make your Japanese name. Find the meaning of your name in Japanese or make up your own Japanese name. Remember, the kanji, or Chinese characters, are important to the meaning of your Japanese name.

Origami cranes are great for cheering up any depressive souls. Japanese people usually make origami cranes when someone’s in the hospital. Did you know 1,000 cranes equals a wish?

Play go.

Play Inaka Basketball.

Play Othello/Reversi.

Play Sengoku. This is an old conquest game played in Japan. You will need a map of Japan with the prefectures clearly defined and a lot of magnets in three different colors. Put the members into teams of three. Each team will pick a Japanese unifier (Nobunaga, Toyotomi, or Tokugawa) and a color as their team name and “armies”. Pick a prefecture. One person from each team will stand up. The moderator will ask an anime- or Japan-related question. The first person to raise their hand and get the answer right wins the prefecture. The team who “conquers” the most prefectures is the game winner.

Play Shingo, or the Japanese chess.

Scavenger Hunt – Make a list of things to find using Japanese words.

Visit the Japanese Consulate in your area.

Movies/Videos

Watch an anime or Japanese movie. Before watching the video, please get the anime company’s screening permission.

Make an anime radio show or podcast.

Make an anime music video.

Guess that Anime Opener/Closer. Members will make teams. They will choose a category (ex: Shoujo Anime, Shounen Anime). The moderator will play an opening or closing song from an anime. Members will guess what anime it’s from.

 

Add your ideas in the comments below!


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Summertime! What should my club be doing?

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It’s summer! Whoohoo!

Summer’s fun time, no-homework time, non-stop-movie-marathon time–I get it. I was there. I’m still there. But you know what summer time is for club officers and advisors? A good time to plan.

“Eeeeeeh?”

While everyone’s getting burnt on the beach, you and your pals can get a head start on this year’s club activities. I’m not saying you have to crawl out of bed at 8 AM and go to an officer meeting. I’m talking about planning stuff out before everyone comes back, sits in their chairs, and asks you, “What’re we doing today?”

It’s a good idea to plan now so that during the school year you and your club officers won’t be running around, scared that the food you ordered last minute won’t come in time, or the papers you didn’t get a month ago couldn’t sign themselves, or the guest you booked at the thirteenth hour suddenly bailed on you because you couldn’t pay them in  advance. Hey, it happens, but those types of things can be avoided by planning.

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This is what I recommend before bringing your ideas to all your officers:

1. Write down all the events and meeting ideas you want to do.

2. Make a yearly calendar with holidays and your school’s schedule. You can download a yearly calendar from Vertex42.

3. Make a yearly budget or budget each meeting. You can do this with your advisor and/or treasurer. If you don’t know what a budget looks like, you can download Anime Ascendant’s budget Excel file.

4. Make a contact list of all your officers. This should include full name, email address, and cell phone number.

After you’ve done this, you can talk to your officers about ideas and who help with those activities.

Here are a few ideas for what to do on your summer vacation as a club president/officer:

1. Do an officer retreat. This doesn’t have to be in a far away place. It can be at someone’s house for a few hours. Officer retreats are good for group bonding and making schedule decisions.

2. Do a conference call. If all the officers are far away, conference calls brings everyone together through Skype or a phone. It’s not as effective as an officer retreat when it comes down to group bonding, but at least you can get your schedules and duties down.

3. Create a yearly schedule and email it to your fellow officers. Set a deadline for officers to reply. If they don’t reply in time, call them and ask them. You can download a yearly calendar from Vertex42 (http://www.vertex42.com/calendars/).

4. Meet with officers in groups. Maybe some officers are off vacationing in Hawaii and others are on the opposite end of the state. Make an appointment and meet with several officers at a time or one on one. At each meeting, tell the attending officers what others have said about the activities and duties.