Are there times when you seem to have too many things going on and other times when you feel your council's calendar is empty? One way to help maintain balance within the council is by following a structure of two meetings and three events per month. This model calls for a general council meeting, an officers meeting, and three events - one event each for fraternal/social, faith-based, and service. You can and are encouraged to do more, but as a baseline, this structure should be the minimum activity your council does each month.
This meeting welcomes all members of the council to get together and discuss council business, appropriate funds, and plan for the council's activities. This meeting should be held at a regular time and place so that council members can plan for it. Keep the meeting to 30-45 minutes at most and follow it with some sort of social or faith-based activity such as a council meal, rosary, or Mass.
This meeting gathers all officers to plan for the monthly general council meeting. It should be informal and each officer should give a report of his activities and projects to help prepare an agenda for the general council meeting. This meeting can take place over a meal and should be complete in an hour. Although all officers should be expected to attend, invite any council member wishing to get more involved in the council's work. This is especially true of underclassmen who may have joined and show promise as future leaders of the council. Getting these individuals involved early helps ensure they are trained and practiced in handling council affairs.
To give an example of how the officers meeting relates to the general council meeting, consider the scenario in which the council wants to give a donation to a pro-life charity. At the officers meeting, the officers would discuss how much money the council has in its budget and recalls how much may have been given in previous years. Then they can look at the other pro-life work the council hopes to do and come up with a suggested donation amount. At the general meeting, the officers can present their suggestion and their reasons for the proposed amount. Then the council members can ask questions or bring up other points for discussion before the council votes on the measure. Holding successful officers meetings helps the general council meeting run more smoothly and finish in a timely manner.
Each month, commit to holding at least one fraternal, one faith, and one service event for the council. These events can be either large events that take a lot of planning or simpler events where members just show up. Some of these events may become popular and turn into bimonthly or even weekly events, while others may take place once a semester or once a year. Here are some ideas:
It's important that each council sets aside time to have social events that build fraternity and community. Gather for a meal at the dining hall or sit together at a campus sporting event. More elaborate events include a weekend hiking/camping expedition, a trip to the movies, or a visit to another college council near you.
As men of faith who strive to grow closer with God, promote faith-based events as part of your council activities. Gather for daily Mass as a council, sponsor a weekly or daily rosary on campus, organize a Eucharistic procession, run a council retreat, or plan a pilgrimage to a nearby shrine.
It's important for your council to develop relationships with local charities and individuals who need your assistance. Look at establishing a relationship with a local food pantry or nursing home that your council visits on a weekly basis can be just as powerful as the one or two large fundraisers for groups like Special Olympics or Habitat for Humanity, you organize each year. Partner with other service-oriented campus groups and providing manpower to their events. Work with your chaplain and find out his needs. There may be work at your campus ministry or Newman Center such as painting rooms, raking leaves, or decorating the Church for liturgical seasons.
By adapting a model of two meetings and (at least) three events a month, your council positions itself for success and sustainability. By remaining active and having a diverse programming regimen, you will continue to attract other men to your council and make a difference on campus and in your community.