Good Practices for Interesting Meetings
The Chief and tribal officers should keep effective group practices in mind in their planning and appraisal of tribal development. Remember that the basic purpose of Y-Indian Guide Programs is to increase the number of things fathers and children can enjoy doing together during the time when children think their fathers are the greatest. Thus it is important that the tribal meeting be interesting to the young children and that they have ample opportunity to participate. The meeting must be oriented toward the children, not the fathers. Use the following suggestions as a guide for devising interesting meetings:
- Be concerned about all group members, the shy as well as the outgoing.
- Start meetings on time; close them on time. Opening ceremonies should not spill over into program time.
- Aim the ceremonial parts of the meeting at the children. They should do most of the talking during the meetings; it should be fun for them.
- Focus program activities on the interests and capabilities of the children. Be alert to their needs.
- Plan all phases of the tribal meeting carefully; contact families with special responsibilities in advance. It is the Chief’s job to see that the Chief’s talk, reports, stories, games, and so on are chosen beforehand.
- Encourage all; share praise where it is deserved. Recognize the progress of all Princesses.
- Pass responsibility around; Know the individual tribal members’ interests and experiences. Assign tasks carefully.
- Be wary of fathers’ talking too much in tribal meetings; use fathers’ meeting regularly to handle most business.
- Facilitate team discussion and decision making on matters of behavior, program development, and policy for tribe.
- Be warm, supportive, understanding, and flexible. Be more concerned about the feelings and attitudes of tribal members than with the accuracy of tribal ceremonies or procedures.
Hints for keeping your Tribe strong and active
- Meetings start and end on time, and do not go longer than 1 or 1 1/2 hours max.
- Refreshments are served prior to closing ceremony – giving an official ending to the meeting.
- Activities are planned which are understandable to the children.
- Tribe size is kept between 10 to 14 family pairs. Large Tribes become unmanageable in most homes and will have limited sleeping accomodations at cabin campouts.
- The Tribe has a representative at all Nation meetings and maintains contact with the YMCA Director or Indian Agent.
- Dad Meetings are called whenever needed, but at least 3-4 times per year.
- Dads and children sit together during meetings and refreshments.
- A Tribe has at least two tribal activities each month (one being a Tribe meeting and the other an outing).
- Father-Daughter pairs work as a team wherever possible (i.e., crafts, games, skits, etc.).
- Business and planning should be kept to a minimum during Tribe meetings.
- Plan a tribe outing for the entire family at least twice each year.
- Tribe members evaluate their Tribe program and progress as a group regularly.
- The Tribe has varied activities. For example, Tribe meetings may include cooking, 1st Aid Instruction, Scavenger Hunts, and Gift Making. Tribe outings may include trips to parks, museums, tours, movies, sporting events and Nation Events. Tribe projects may include service projects, scrap books, photo albums, tribe banners and tribal property. The Tribe may also participate in other YMCA programs such as swim lessons, gymnastics, youth sports, or day and resident camping.
- Members develop an enthusiasm, esprit de corps and pride for the Tribe.
- The Tribe accepts and appreciates each member. All members feel needed and important.
- Leadership is shared by all fathers in the Tribe.
Typical Tribe Meeting Outline
Chief calls meeting to order by asking one of the children to beat on the Tribal Drum once for each daughter present. Talking should stop. Song or Invocation. Flag salute (if flag is available). Opening Ceremony (from Chief’s Manual).
Chief’s Talk. Chief welcomes group and may tell a story about the season, some special event, or day coming up.
Tally keeper takes roll and reads minutes of previous meeting. Wampum Bearer collects Wampum Each Little Princess shares what they did to earn their Wampum. Wampum Bag is passed around.
Chief asks for Scout reports from each daughter on a father-daughter project, outing, trip or other activity they have done since the last tribe meeting. Use of a talking stick is recommended as each daughter shares his/her Scout report.
Business meeting. Cover only essential items that are of interest to Little Princesses. This may include announcements by the Chief of any upcoming Tribe or Nation Event, YMCA News, etc. Other items should be covered at a Dad Meeting.
Review plan for the next Tribe meeting: When? Where? Who will plan program? Who will tell story? Assign projects.
Program activities (Storytelling, games, special tribal projects, crafts, etc., that stress the father and the daughter participating together).
7:50 Light refreshments.
8:00 Story and/or songs
8:10 Closing Ceremony (from Chief’s Manual).
8:15 Head for home.
Wampum is money collected from the children in a tribe. The amount is set by the tribe and is used for special treats, to defray craft costs, or for anything else the tribe would like to use it for. The children should earn the money by doing helpful or special things at home. Each daughter should be prepared to tell other tribe members what he/she did to earn the wampum.
Conducting a Tribe Meeting
Tribal meeting are rotated between fathers homes with each father hosting their share of the meetings through the year. fathers and children should be dressed in their tribal vests. If the planned activity will involve getting dirty, let people know in advance so they can dress appropriately.
Step one starts at least a week before your meeting. Even though your meeting is already on every ones calendar, you should prepare invitations for your meeting and deliver them to each house at least a week in advance.
Your invitations should include the place, time, phone number, and directions to get there. The children usually prefer to make hand made invitations versus store bought. Also, you can dress up your invitations to match the planned theme. Sign them with your Indian Names and put your “street names” in parenthesis.
One or two nights before your meeting you should make reminder calls to each person and sent out a reminder email note if they have email.
Be prepared for your meeting. People will need a place to sit [consider putting children on the floor in front of their fathers] for the meeting. If there is a craft planned it should be already set up. Refreshments should be ready so that no time is lost to preparation.
Start your meeting promptly. The Chief will have the meetings host daughter call the meeting to a start by 12 beats of a drum [or other prop if you don’t have a tribal drum]. Everyone should be in place and seated by the end on the last of 12 drum beats.
The Chief will call the meeting to order by the tribes name and the Pathfinder will read a devotional or conduct a silent prayer.
The Chief will ask all to stand and hold hands in an unbroken circle for reading of repeating of the pledge, aims, and slogan.
The Chief calls for the Longhouse Reps report. At a minimum the Longhouse Rep should take attendance.
The Chief call for the Wampum Bearer to make his collection. Each daughter should tell of something they did with their father since the last meeting as they pass their wampum to the Wampum Bearer. The Wampum Bearer praises each daughter and accepts the wampum into his wampum bag. [Wampum is used by the tribe for a tribal event or donated by the tribe to favorite charity].
The Chief calls for “Scouting Reports”. If any daughter has earned an award with their father, they are allowed to tell the tribe what they did. The Tally keeper should either present an award at that time or recognize the daughter and father for the achieving the award and present it at the next meeting [if they don’t have the award on hand].
The Chief call for the Pathfinder to present a story. Choose a story that involves a moral. Usually we make it an Indian story in an Indian setting. The story should be short and read by the father. See the tribal manual for more details. In a pinch, tell the story of the headband with some embellishment of needed or sing the “Pals Forever” or “Friends Always” song.
After the story the host will usually have the tribe make some sort of Indian craft or play a game. If a craft is planned, both the father and daughter should make a craft so that the daughter can observe the father and share ideas. If a game is planned, both the daughter and father should participate, possibly as a team. Remember that you are trying to place the father and daughter in a level situation where the fathers size and experience doesn’t give them advantage over their daughter. They should learn and do the activity together. Also, always cut off a game before the children get bored at it. This will help them to look forward to doing it again on another day.
Refreshment brake should be next and should last only about fifteen minutes. This is a good time for everyone to talk about their experience doing the craft or game.
The meeting should end with the Chief calling the tribe to come together into a circle. This is a good time to recognize and praise anyone who did something special during the meeting. also, the chief should thank the host. The meeting is called to an end by performing the closing ritual described in your manual:
“And now [point to ground], May the Great Spirit [point to sky], or all Great Spirits [both arms open to sky], be with you now [point to person across from you], and forever [pretend to shoot an arrow into the sky].
End the meeting promptly and get everyone on their way quickly.
Father Roles in Tribes (roles in Bold are minimum recommendation)
One of the best ways to manage a team is to delegate specific and clear roles for each member and have everyone focused on a common objective. Listed below are suggested roles for your tribe. The common objective should be to realize the Indian Guides Aims. It is imperative that fathers volunteer for the key roles as not to overload the chief with 100% of the duties. Having the roles filled is the key to basic succession planning in your tribe and ensures the tribe continues beyond any one person departure.
Chief: The Chiefs biggest responsibility is to demonstrate leadership to the children of the tribe. Children commonly view the chief as being a teacher. The Chief conducts the tribal meetings and presides over the fathers meetings. The chief also: Attends Nation and Federation meetings to provide feedback about tribe activities; Brings information to the tribe from meetings; Votes on selection of nation events; And participates in planning and management of the nation. The chief might also head up a special event or project, or input new ideas and improvements to the program.
Medicine Man: Carries out the Chiefs duties whenever he/she cannot be present. Attends nation and federation meetings. Is in training for next years chief position.
Longhouse Representative: Keeps attendance records of meetings and events. Maintains the tribe calendar and reminds tribe of upcoming events and points out the positive aspects of each event to muster maximum tribe participation. Encourages members to pursue awards, coordinates getting attendance and earned awards from the federation and presents them ceremoniously at a tribal gathering. This person also maintains the “White Buffalo” point records and is responsible for sending in reports.
Wampum Bearer: Coordinates and manages all tribal wampum and any activities where money must be collected and accounted.
Linesman: Provides communications to/from tribe. Makes reminder calls for nation and federation events. Encourages attendance and points out positive aspects or each event to muster maximum tribe participation. Collects and reports head counts for events when advance counts are needed.
Pathfinder: Prepares devotions and stories for the tribe in an effort to enhance the father/daughter experience. Searches out community service activities for the tribe to be involved in.
Historian: Takes notes at meetings and creates and maintains a written and photographic record of the tribes activities. Might prepare articles for the federation newsletter to share interesting tribal experiences. Encourages members to pursue the “Sand Painter” award.
All: Each father will host their share of the tribal meetings at their house (or other meeting place). This responsibility includes planning the meeting, sending out invitations, making reminder calls, hosting the meeting with the Chief, and providing refreshments.
Also, maximize the father/daughter experience. Make the time you spend together count as you live, learn, play, and make memories together. Review the Indian Guides aims often and conduct your activities such that the aims are achieved.
Conducting the first Dad’s PlanningMeeting
The first fathers meeting should be focused on division of roles between each of the fathers and establishing the initial calendar plan for tribe meetings. If you are a new tribe, you should start thinking about a name for your tribe. You might want to chose the tribe name at your first tribe meeting so that the children can be involved and have some input to names and voting.
Step one is to set up a one hour meeting at one persons home or a local meeting place where no distraction will be occurring.
Call each person and give them the time, place, directions, and duration of the meeting. Be sure to say it is a fathers only meeting. You don’t want the kids to be bored at their first meeting, nor do you want them to think that meetings consists of fathers in one room and kids in another. Also, tell people that the meeting will start promptly on time and end in one hour.
The leader should be at the meeting early to assure everything is set up. Start the meeting on time! have the refreshments served for consumption during the meeting if possible to avoid any breaks.
(First 5 minutes) Start with an invocation of some kind. My favorite is:
Thank you for deciding to join the YMCA Adventure Princesses Program.
We are we here? We are here to:
- Show our children our love for them.
- Know our children better
- Teach them leadership through example
- Build self esteem
- Teach them teamwork
- Teach them about the family of community
- Share with them the history and wisdom of the Native Indian culture
- Share with them the wisdom of our culture
- Teach them values of our culture
- Have fun with your daughter
As you go on through the program you will become “Friends Forever” with your daughters. This program is designed to build a lifelong relationship with your children by removing you from your high level of authority role and placing you at your daughter’s level. You will be doing things side by side with your children: Learning, playing, creating, singing, exploring, and adventuring.
Please take this responsibility seriously, your children are at the age where they watch everything you do. Make this time special and of the highest quality. You and your children will be making memories that will last forever.
(Next 15 minutes) Pass out printed sheets of the father roles and go over each at a summary level. It is time for each father to choose a role. I usually start by asking if anyone has any special skills that might make them well suited for a particular role. We are all born special skills and we shouldn’t miss out a an opportunity to match up people with their natural skills. If that doesn’t fill all of the role, you can put names in a hat and choose.
(Next 20 minutes) When the roles are all assigned, pass out the calendar sheets and let each father choose when they will host a meeting. Remind them that some meetings are near holidays, some fathers might prefer to host a meeting with a theme that represents a favorite holiday or time of the year. Plan at least three months out and more if time permits. End the calendar planning with a confirmation of who is hosting the first meeting so everyone will know. Also, get with that person and give them tips on how to conduct the first tribe meeting. This meeting can set the tone for the rest of the year.
(Next 10 minutes) Take questions and perform a closing.
FACTORS THAT BUILD A STRONG TRIBE
In order to insure a strong TRIBE, these few simple rules should be followed:
- Both Father and Daughter should make invitations and deliver them 3 to 5 days in advance of the tribe meeting.
- If games are played at the meeting, chose games that both father and daughter can participate in together.
- Keep craft projects simple . . . within the abilities of the little Indians.
- Stay with a “project” until it is completed. Do it well, and keep it for the children.
- Father-daughter teams should arrive on time for each meeting. The tribal meeting night should be an unbroken date between father and daughter. There are only 9 or 10 of these nights for the year.
- Should absence be necessary due to an emergency such as illness, the chief should be notified as soon as possible.
- Each Princess should have permission before speaking.
- Father and daughter should sit together during meetings. This promotes togetherness and minimizes any disturbances from the children.
- All children should remain in the area of the house where the meeting is held and not be allowed to enter other rooms of the home.
- If an outdoor meeting is planned and it rains… you should still do something special. Plan for an alternate activity.
- Involve as many people as possible in tribe duties.
- Plan Extra and Special Events and Activities.
- More kid talk – Less father talk
- Have a costume (Regalia) for each member and encourage them to wear it at tribal and federation event ceremonies.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL TRIBE
- ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THIS PROGRAM IS FOR DEVELOPING A STRONG PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP.
- ENTHUSIASTIC PARENT PARTICIPATION AT ALL TIMES.
- ACCURATE, TIMELY AND CONSISTENT COMMUNICATIONS TO ALL TRIBAL MEMBERS.
- ALLOW CHILDREN TO FREELY EXPRESS THEIR IDEAS AS TO THE CHOOSING OF TRIBAL ACTIVITIES AND FIELD TRIPS.
- BE PROMPT WITH MEETING TIMES BEGINNING WITH A WELCOMING CEREMONY AND END WITH A CLOSING CEREMONY.
- BE ORGANIZED AND TO THE POINT TO MAINTAIN INTEREST.
- ALWAYS RESPECT EACH OTHERS TIME AND IDEAS.
- OPENLY DISCUSS ANY AND ALL CONCERNS.
- RELAX AND HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CHILD.
- THE SECRET!!! YOU AND YOUR CHILD WILL GET FROM THE PROGRAM WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT !!!!!