Our school does its best to provide affordable access to training for everyone. From school gear, donation-based gear work shops, donated memberships from generous students, and affordable drop-in options for classes, we have kept our prices low for members and occasional students alike.
Still, to earn patches at our school, a student needs to be a full member. That is, they pay our monthly membership dues. Our memberships, if one attends each and every class we offer, only pays roughly $1.50/hr for high quality instruction! Regardless, we understand that $60/mth can be more than some can afford. Life happens, and some months are extremely tight. We never want to make students choose between life's necessities and the community and enrichment that martial arts training can provide.
One of the programs we have developed and implemented for a while now is the Work Trade Program (WTP). The WTP provides limited slots to students who cannot afford the monthly membership but have ambition to train. In this program, students request each month they are needing work trade, and sign up for chores/tasks the school assigns. Every skill level and experience level has something to offer in these task lists. Students take initiative themselves to sign up for chores, complete them, and record their completion and in doing so earn the right to full membership.
The way it works is as described below:
1. A student signs up via having a conversation with an instructor. Loch has the ultimate say on who is allowed in, and how many slots we have that month.
2. An approved student then provides their email so they may be added to our WTP document. In there, the rules for how things work, sign ups for chores, and instructions are included. Students are expected to read this document in full and understand how it operates and ask questions if help is needed.
3. Work Trade (WT) students sign up for chores. They must sign up for an appropriate amount of chores for the month (this will be determined between the instructor and the student collaboratively) in advance. Chores are usually posted at the end of the month prior to the new month starting. Some months will be busier chore-wise than others--for example, if a Festival of Heroes event needs a work-day in the month of October WT students might sign up for that in addition to the normal deep-cleaning tasks. Whether 1 student or 3 students are signed up for that month, all of the monthly deep cleaning chores are expected to be completed.
4. WT students sign up when chores are posted, or on the first of the month, the same time most students pay dues. Once a student has signed up, it is up to them to complete the chores within that month's timeframe. These chores can be done before or after classes, or coordinated with instructors on non-class days. When WT students sign up, they are considered probationary members and are allowed to train as if they have paid dues on the condition they intend to complete their chores that month.
5. As chores are completed, students go back to the document and record the date of their completion and change the font color to blue per the instructions on the document. This is done for each chore.
6. When all chores are completed in full, WT students send a message to Krys letting her know they have been completed. At that time, their attendance will be changed and they will receive Membership credit for that current month on the attendance roster.
Students are welcomed to train as normal as if they were paid members from the time they are approved and sign up for chores. If students fail to complete the tasks they sign up for or fail to record them by the end of the month, a warning will be given. Should students fail to complete assigned tasks chronically, they may and will be removed from the WTP. In practice we have never needed to do this; we have found a healthy and vibrant community of motivated workers that understand the value of what we're offering as much as we appreciate the effort they put into continuing their training at our school.
We love this system as it helps out our tiny school and helps give back to our community. If you find yourself in a serious financial bind temporarily as a student with us, do not hesitate to inform an instructor and see what can be done to assist you.