Ask the Experts: Booster Club Relations

Q: My booster club is getting a bit out of control. How do you rein in yours? I am grateful for all that they do, but I don’t want them to think that they wield influence at the studio.

A: We have a booster club—we call it the parents’ committee. Our office manager serves as the studio liaison with the booster club to make sure that no one parent is trying to take charge. I try to stay out of the booster club when it comes to fundraising decisions, but my office manager keeps me informed on what the committee’s plans are, and I do have the final say on everything that involves my dancers and my studio.

As studio owners and teachers, we depend on our parents to help out. I rely on my parents’ aid when it comes to costumes and props, but I keep a staff member ultimately in charge of these jobs. Years ago, I had a difficult parent who tried to take control—she would speak to the other parents on my behalf, even though I was never consulted. Naturally, this caused problems with other parent volunteers. After I had a meeting with her, she quit the booster club. The following year, she took her daughter to another studio. Lesson learned? Don’t let that sort of mentality fester. You need to be on the lookout for power-hungry volunteers. To put things in perspective for my parents, I tell them when they sign up to volunteer that they are not only supporting the studio but also their children by doing so.

I do make sure my volunteer parents know how much I appreciate them. But they are also aware that in my studio, a parent’s influence on his or her child’s dance studio achievements stops at the door.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

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