Host a Chapter Conference

[h3 underline] Contact Us [/h3]
If you are interested in hosting a Chapter Conference, Megacon, or Debate Night, or have any questions, please feel free to contact us! Just fill out our form here.

[h3 underline] What is a Chapter Conference? [/h3]
A chapter conference (“chaptercon”) is a one day event hosted by a JSA chapter, usually at their school, in which other schools are invited to come and debate. Hosting a chapter conference is a great thing to do with your chapter for several reasons: it brings chapter togetherness, it is good practice for debating, it is a great chapter fundraiser, and it brings publicity to your chapter, helping it grow.

Some alternative ideas to going about a chapter conference are hosting a “megacon” or “debate night”. A megacon is simply a chapter conference in which two or more schools host. This is especially good for smaller chapters who can not host a chapter conference on their own. A debate night is a chapter conference on a friday or saturday night with casual attire, rather than business attire. This is a fun alternative for people who want to do something a little different than the average chaptercon.

[h3 underline] How do I do it? [/h3]

[h4] 1. Venue [/h4]
Acquiring a venue is the first step to hosting a successful chaptercon. Talk to your teacher adviser, your school principal, and anyone who allocates rights to classroom space and weekend use, and work out a date. The date should be at least five to six weeks away, to allow time for proper planning. Be sure to talk to your region’s Vice Mayor to make sure that your date does not conflict with another event.

[h4] 2. Dividing the Work [/h4]
The work for a chapter conference should not solely be left on the Chapter President’s shoulders. Good positions to assign are a Conference Coordinator (in charge of making the agenda and scheduling the day), Director of Debate (in charge of the debate list and debater assignments), Director of Logistics (in charge of directions to the venue, and lunch options), and the Director of Fundraising and Advertising (in charge of creating ides to fundraise for costs and getting information out to other chapters). Assigning responsibilities to members of your chapter makes the workload easier for you, and makes the overall event more successful. Be sure to check every once in a while and make sure everyone is doing their work.

[h4] 3. Theme & Debate List [/h4]
The next step to take is to write the theme and the debate list. The theme is a unifying topic which all of the debates and thought talks will fall into. Once a theme is decided, start writing your debate list. This is where your creativity comes into effect. The more original and interesting the debates at your chapter conference are, the more people will want to come. Be sure to have your debate list approved by your region’s Director(s) of Debate. Once the debate list is approved, have them put it on Debatenet so that people can begin to sign up for the debates.

[h4] 4. Advertising your Minicon [/h4]
Talk to your Vice Mayor and Director(s) of Chapter Conferences about ways to advertise. Get a Chapter President contact list and email or call all of them, inviting their chapters to attend your conference. Create an official Facebook event for the chapter conference by contacting Northeast Governor Frank Kachmar and have all the members of your chapter invite friends from other chapters. Be sure to publicize within your school as well, a minicon is a great way to expand your chapter.

[h4] 5. Fundraiser [/h4]
Having a fundraiser can be extremely beneficial for your chapter. One fundraiser you can have at your chapter conference is a bake sale, which is easy and can bring in a large amount of money for your chapter. Another fundraiser idea is a simple 5 dollars at the door charge. Feel free to come up with an original fundraiser for your chaptercon.

[h4] 6. Final Preparations [/h4]
About a week or two before your conference occurs make sure that your debate list is filled out with debaters and moderators. If it isn’t full, contact your friends and chapter members and try to finish it off. If you still can’t fill all the spots, talk to your Vice Mayor and the Chapter Presidents you contacted to try to get people to debate. Finalize the agenda, and make sure it is easy to read and follow so that people who attend your event will know where to go at what times. Make sure each debate has a classroom to debate in, and the rooms are big enough. Make sure your fundraiser is fully planned out, and anything needed for it is ready to be there.

[h4] 7. Precon [/h4]
The Friday night before the conference, or a couple days before, you should hold a “precon” in which all the officers for the chaptercon get together at someone’s house or another location, and get ready for the next day. Have all the agendas stapled, name tags ready, logistic plans figured out, and someone to open the building in the morning.

[h3] How to Increase Chapter Conference Attendance [/h3]
There are several things which can increase the attendance of your chaptercon, besides just great advertising and an interesting debate list.. You can have a new or exciting special activity. A quiz bowl, mock trial, crisis scenario, master debater, or a new special activity of your own design can really set off the excitement for the conference. You could also have a keynote speaker. A famous public icon in politics, a known face in business, or anyone people might want to hear speak, can easily draw a crowd. Anything else unique that will put a spin on your chaptercon and make it stand out from the crowd will easily make your event highly successful.

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