Imagination Chapters FAQ

frequently asked questions


What do Chapters cost?

For the most part, nothing. There is a cost to the Imagination Foundation to support and sustain Chapters, but we currently rely on contributions from other sources to fund our work. Because Chapters can use simple materials (e.g, cardboard, recyclables, etc), there is minimal out-of-pocket cost necessary for Chapter Leaders. (Special tools and materials are provided by our partners for free or at a substantial discount.)

We are a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status, so If you’d like to support our efforts, please visit our Donation Page.


How often and for how long should my Chapter meet?

We recommend 2 hrs/week. However, some Chapters meet every other week. Chapters that meet during the school day often meet-up once per week, but for shorter durations in order to coincide with the school day schedule.


What is the ideal age for participants?

While the majority of our Chapters serve elementary and middle school participants, Chapters run the gamut from Pre-K all the way to high school. Multi-age Chapters are common for those that meet out-of-school, and in the past, some Chapters have paired up with older or younger ‘buddies’ to build in a peer-mentoring component.


What’s the commitment?

-The Imagination Chapters program is a minimum commitment of 8 months (approximately October to June)
-Sessions are ideally 2 hrs/week, or every other week; for in-class Chapters, 1-2 hrs/week
-Creative Play training/onboarding. 6-8 hours, includes readings, activities, a 2-hr online orientation in late summer
-Sharing photos/videos, ideas and stories with the Chapter Leader community through our online platforms, group hangouts, Challenges, etc.
-Regular trainings and group workshops with Team Imagination
-We may ask you to administering a simple survey at different points throughout the year to assess program effectiveness

NOTE: Plan to spend 2-4 hours/month for prep, communicating with Team Imagination, parents, fellow Chapter leaders, and participating in workshops. As projects progress and sessions become more student-driven, planning time will be drastically reduced.


What does a typical session look like?

Sessions can be simple or complex depending on participant age, context, materials or facilitator experience. Simple projects may take two hours to complete; others may take weeks.

Here’s a sample 2-hr session to give you an idea of what a Chapter meeting could look like, but every Chapter is unique and we encourage you to experiment with format.

-Quick group share
-10-minute Creative Problem Solving Warm-Up / ‘What if’ discussion question
-Show a video
-Introduce any new tool/materials
-Announce the project (or let kids decide)
-Brainstorm ideas
-Grab stuff and start building
-10 minute walkaround & feedback
-Tinker some more
-Group share and reflection
-Throw out a Creativity Challenge/Question to consider during the week.
-See you next week!


 

What will I need?

Venue

Try to find a venue that has ample space for storing materials and works in progress.

Do I need a Host Organization?

Yes. You need an organization that’s willing to back you up, e.g., a school, YMCA, NGO, library, etc. that knows what you are up to, and wants to support your efforts. Maybe they’ll provide a venue, or volunteers, or perhaps connect you with children who can benefit from the activities of the Chapter. You’ll need a letter of support from this organization. See below for a sample template host support letter. If you’re having trouble, let us know how we can help you find one.

 

[SAMPLE HOST SUPPORT LETTER FOR NEW CHAPTERS]

(Letterhead Preferred)

Date

Dear Imagination Foundation,

I am writing in support of a proposed Imagination Chapter at _____________________  (name your school/library/museum/community organization here).   Project based learning/Making/STEAM Activities (indicate the most appropriate focus for your organization) has been a focus at our school for five years and I know our students would engage in Imagination activities with enthusiasm (something like this here showing how/why your organization is a good match).   We believe that hosting an Imagination Chapter at our site would enhance our program greatly. 

As host, we will provide an appropriate meeting space to hold regular Chapter meetings and activities.

We look forward to working with you.

Signed,

 

Principal/Director/Head Librarian

 

Materials

Although you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to start an Imagination Chapter, you’ll want a variety of materials for kids to build and create with. Begin collecting over the summer and/or enlist Chapter participants and their families once your Chapter launches in the fall. Check out this Make Magazine article ‘The Hunt for Junk’ to help you get started. Remember: Start with what you have: recyclables and perhaps items that can be donated by community members.

Website

You can create a simple site via Weebly, WordPress and these other platforms, splurge on a Squarespace site (beautiful, but a little pricy), or simply start a Facebook Page for your Chapter. The important thing is to have a place to show off what your Chapter is up to and to communicate with participants, parents and community members. This is also a great place to share your Wish List of materials. (You never know who has a box of balsa wood waiting to be put to good use.)

Google account

We use Google Hangouts for our trainings and monthly workshops. Don’t have a Google account? Check out this helpful guide on How to Make a Google Account.


Can I charge families to participate?

Imagination Chapters is a not-for-profit program and should be free to the kids who participate.  To offset material costs, we recommend contacting local businesses and community organizations for donations of materials and tools, sending out a ‘Wish List’ to parents and volunteers, or doing a fundraising event (perhaps in conjunction with the Global Cardboard Challenge). Remember that highly engaging and impactful sessions can be conducted with simple materials and recyclables.

If you believe you will need to charge dues, please contact us directly to discuss your needs.


What will the year look like?

Throughout the year, Chapter Leaders benefit from ongoing collaboration with other Chapter Leaders, a weekly Imagination newsletter, and programming support from Team Imagination. Below is a glimpse into what this year will look like. Each year is a bit different, celebrating different themes and Creativity Campaigns. But each year has a wealth of opportunities for fun and collaborative creativity!

Fall

Creativity Campaign: Global Cardboard Challenge

Themes: Collaboration/Divergent Thinking; Imagining the world we can build

Webinars & Learning Events: Creating & Working with Cardboard; Creative Play in Action; Divergent Thinking and Generating New Ideas; The Power of Empathy in Creating Social Change

Winter

Creativity Campaign: Inventor’s Challenge

Themes: Invention & Innovation, Growing Grit & Perseverance 

Webinars & Learning Events: Grit & Creativity; Encouraging a Growth Mindset

Spring

Themes: Tinkering, Learning & Play; Becoming a Reflective Thinker & Designer

Webinars & Learning Events: Think Like an Artist & Builder; Year in Review

 


When will new Chapter Leaders be notified?

All candidates will be notified over the summer.


I’m ready to apply. What’s next?

Fill out the Chapter Leader Interest Form and we’ll start the process. Or reach out for some one-on-one time at chapters@imagination.org and we’ll get to know each other. Thank you!