FAQs About Sponsoring
How much of a time commitment is Sponsoring going to be?
As a sponsor you will be entirely in control of how active you chapter will be. A DOLLS chapter is require to have one weekly All-Member meeting and the officers are required to meet at minimum twice monthly. Officers are permitted to meet without their sponsors being present. Therefore, at the very least, a sponsor is committing to attending all weekly All-Member meetings which will take place once weekly from September-May. The day chosen for hosting these All-Member meetings is at the discretion of the sponsors and the 5 Main. Additionally, chapters are encouraged to schedule several social events throughout the year. The number and frequency of these events is entirely up to the sponsor, based on her availability. “Events” are a valuable tool in keeping members involved with the club, so sponsors should have an interest in accommodating several of these throughout the school year.
Sponsors are also invited to participate in the annual 5 Main Conference (which is held the first Friday and Saturday of August each year), but this is not a requirement, although most sponsors find attending to be a very helpful asset. At this conference the officers are trained how to run DOLLS, how to fulfill their specific officer positions and time is given for the teams to bond. A special session for sponsors is included in the conference where sponsors will meet with the DOLLS founder and CEO to receive valuable tips on effective sponsoring. This conference is a required event for any student who desires to serve as an officer, but is optional for sponsors.
How many sponsors should there be?
DOLLS Headquarters recommends two sponsors take on the task of sponsoring a chapter together, with one of the sponsors serving the role as Head Sponsor, taking the lead on most operational matters. The Head Sponsor will serve as the primary point of contact for members, officers, DOLLS Headquarters, and parents. This sponsor will be primarily involved with all decisions regarding scheduled event dates and arrangements, facilitating meetings, communication with district administration, and interaction with DOLLS Headquarters. The Assistant Sponsor will serve as support for the Head Sponsor, by being present to chaperone scheduled events and meetings and assisting with communications.
If finding two sponsors on a campus is not possible, understand that many chapters have been very successful under the direction of one highly dedicated sponsor. It is by no means impossible for a teacher to sponsor a DOLLS chapter alone. While many teachers feel more supported knowing that there is another sponsor available to step in if necessary, there have been equally as many sponsors who have really enjoyed the freedom of sponsoring this club on their own.
Potential sponsors should consider their commitments to the other areas of their job (committees, tutoring, etc.), their family schedules, and personal goals when making the decision to either sponsor alone or as a partnership.
How “involved” can I be?
The Equal Access Act & the Establishment Clause demand that clubs like DOLLS must be student initiated and student led. Faculty can only be involved to supervise, monitor, and facilitate. It is common, for liability purposes, or because of state law or local school policy, that a teacher(s) or another school employee(s) is asked to be present during student activities. Districts may require that one or more of their hired campus personnel act as a monitor, or “Adviser,” to DOLLS. Such custodial supervision does not represent endorsement of the group by the school or by the teacher. If a sponsor begins operating in a capacity outside of the roles associated with advising, a chapter is at risk of losing its constitutional right to assemble. Advisers must always be prepared to prove that the students are the driving force behind the perpetuation of their DOLLS chapter.
This does not mean that sponsors are expected to take an “absentee” posture when working with their DOLLS chapter. This misinterpretation of the provisions of the Establishment Clause, made by many administrators and teachers, is detrimental to school districts. Many school districts and administrators tend to get nervous when opening the campus doors to an organization like DOLLS because of its religious affiliation, but this fact does not permit for a modification of the responsibilities a teacher is asked to play when taking on the position of sponsor.
Districts who have adopted a Limited Open Forum insist that a teacher is placed in the custodial role of “sponsor” for the protection of the district. The districts must be able to certify that a supervisory figure remains privy to the activities of the club and can confirm that the club avoids violations of district policy and protocol. It would be impossible for a sponsor to fulfill this duty without being involved with the day-to-day actions of the club. Sponsors of DOLLS are free to operate with their club as intimately as the sponsor of clubs such as Student Council or the Environmental Club are permitted to act. Sponsors should serve as liaisons between the district, DOLLS Headquarters, and their student officers.
However, limitations apply if a sponsor desires to participate in worship or proselytize. If a sponsor felt inclined to express her religious convictions, the law would regard this as a violation of the Establishment Clause because this action could be viewed as an endorsement of a particular religion. Sponsors should not pray, preach, or worship with students, ensuring that their role in the group remains purely custodial.
What kind of training is available for Me?
Sponsors are encouraged to attend the 5 Main Conference each August, where officers and sponsors are better acquainted with the ministry of DOLLS. The primary purpose of Conference is to equip our officers and sponsors with the knowledge and skills to effectively lead their chapters. Likewise, sponsors are also invited to join the officers at the annual 5 Main Boot Camp, a refresher course for running a DOLLS chapter, which takes place in January of each year. DOLLS also provides each sponsor with an official DOLLS Adviser Handbook which is chocked-full of information and
advice to fully prepare our sponsors for taking on this vital role. Finally, a DOLLS Headquarters representative is available to our sponsors at all times to assist with day-to-day problems and concerns.
Can a male teacher sponsor DOLLS?
Male teachers are permitted to sponsor a DOLLS chapter, but certainly a female sponsor is preferred. Due to the sensitive subject matters being discussed during meetings, particular to female teenagers, it can be ineffective or inappropriate for a male teacher to be present during such discussions, inhibiting the group’s ability to engage in authentic conversation. Male teachers should only be considered as a last option.
Do I have to be a Christian to sponsor?
DOLLS does not require that a sponsor follow any particular denomination of belief, nor is she required to personally ascribe to Christianity at all. However, a minimal understanding of the beliefs of Christianity would be helpful in order to guide the student leaders effectively.