ISTEP chapter membership is open to students in grades 7-12. It can be a combination of both middle school and high school students or you can have separate chapters. Having chapters in both high school and middle school is encouraged. If you have both, make sure to set up activities to do together. High school members can take the lead by educating middle school members about the latest tobacco prevention news or the middle school members can help with an upcoming high school chapter street marketing activity. It’s totally up to your chapter, but when we partner with others, we can get some pretty amazing results.
ISTEP chapters are commonly formed in a school setting but chapters can be made up of members from a church, scout troop, or any other community setting where 7-12 grade students meet. It is encouraged to establish your chapter at the beginning of the school year, preferably by November. This gives you three months to start your chapter and six months to change the tobacco prevention world through street marketing events and activities among your local community.
Once your chapter has been established, it will be up to your chapter to decide how you’d like your chapter structured. If chapters decide they’d like to be more structured, it’s common to elect a President, Vice President and Secretary. Establishing chapter requirements and rules, keeping meeting minutes and an attendance log is recommended to have a successful, active chapter.
So, you know you want to start an ISTEP Chapter, but now what?
Here is a simple checklist to begin:
- Double check to make sure there isn’t already a chapter in your area by viewing the list of chapters at IowaSTEP.org/chapters
- Find an adult to be your chapter advisor
- Ask two friends to begin your chapter with you (Minimum of three youth is required, and remember, you could collaborate with another group in your area)
- Ask your chapter advisor to register your ISTEP Chapter online at IowaSTEP.org
- Have fun! (Publicize your chapter by doing street marketing events, sharing news through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and inviting press (local newspaper, TV or radio stations) to your events)