Friday, February 14, 2014

Program Ideas to Increase Male Engagement in PTA

As things start to gear down after the holidays, I would like to remind you how important it is to reach out and engage men in not only what our PTAs are doing but also in what is happening inside our schools. Studies show students perform better when mothers and fathers are both involved in the education of their children. Men and women think differently and bring different perspectives and skills to school and PTA activities. School communities and PTAs thrive when both men and women participate. Yet men remain a largely untapped resource.  Listed below are some ideas that male’s themselves have said would be of interest to them.

  • Building projects: Building projects appealed to men because of the truly hands-on nature of the event/opportunity. Men can actually see the results of their involvement, and they provide skills that might otherwise cost school or PTA hundreds of dollars.
  • Beautification/repair project: The hands-on aspect of cleaning-up, landscaping, painting, refurbishing, and building projects around a school appeals to men and they feel a sense of accomplishment when the project is done.
  • Helping directly with children: Helping directly with children was cited by male respondents as a way to get fathers involved. More often than not, these opportunities would take place at school during the school day, although several could be modified to take place on the weekend or after school. 
  • Bike rodeos: Encouraging bike safety, rules of the road, bike tune-ups, and riding proficiency competitions, bike rodeos make a big splash with both kids and dads.
  • Lunch buddies: Even with hectic schedules, some male respondents said the hook that got them into PTA was their participation in a lunch buddies program. The buddies meet with their children weekly or monthly, mentoring them over lunch.
  • In-class reading: Captivating learning minds with powerful stories written by great authors appealed to many respondents.
  • Career days: Offering expertise on their professions, and career tracks in general, appeals to many men.
  • Dads’ clubs: Several schools indicated that they had a separate meeting for males. Participants indicated that because of the meeting time, camaraderie, and focusing on a “special project,” the clubs worked for men.
  • Barbeques/cookouts: Barbeques are often popular to start or end a school year, when the weather might be more cooperative for outdoor activities. They can be themed to welcome in the year and introduce parents to one another. Respondents suggested field day/picnic-type activities such as sack races, cakewalks, dunk tanks, and musical chairs.
  • School carnivals: Males indicated that they would volunteer for school carnivals; helping with tickets, rides, concessions. Problem solving, public interaction, and seeing accomplishment results were cited as reasons for participation.
  • After parties: Popular with junior high and high school parents, “after parties” are safe, adult-supervised activities after graduations, proms, homecomings, and other school evening events.
  • Talent shows: Helping with staging, programs, lighting, ushering, and preparations were opportunities that male respondents believed would make new male members interested in volunteering for PTA.

Excerpted from National PTA /Male Engagement