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3mama5678

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,
I have heard of studios doing "big brothers and sisters" aka assigning an older student to "mentor" the younger like an older sibling. I think this is nice especially considering theee are a lot of only children these days!
What are your thoughts on this? And if your studio does it can you tell me a little bit more about it?

Thanks!!
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amandafarris03

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Reply with quote  #2 
a studio I danced at in texas did this.  dd13 (she was 8-11 when we were at that studio) had GREAT big sisters and I made sure she was a great "little sister" but then there are those girls/parents that aren't as good and the person they are paired with gets the shaft.  the SO saw a trend and didn't continue it for the last year we were there.  I can see an advantage of pairing NEW PARENTS with a seasoned comp mom though....
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #3 
We did this for a few years but then stopped this year.  What always ends up happening is some kids go all out and others forget or do a crappy job and then there are a lot of hurt feelings.  My DD put so much effort into getting her little sis nice gifts and then she would get to a comp and be told that they forgot; this happened 2 of the 3 competitions.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle
We did this for a few years but then stopped this year.  What always ends up happening is some kids go all out and others forget or do a crappy job and then there are a lot of hurt feelings.  My DD put so much effort into getting her little sis nice gifts and then she would get to a comp and be told that they forgot; this happened 2 of the 3 competitions.


DD11 had this happen to her at two different studios. Just bad luck, I guess, but it still is sad to see your 7-yr-old (at the time) acting gracious over a hastily made card on notebook paper, while some of her mini teammates received candy bouquets or stuffed animals.

On the positive side, she learned that the gift is in the giving. She never stopped wanting to give her big sis gifts or make posters for her. Bless her heart, because I didn't feel the same way (kept that to myself, though!).
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #5 
If you ask me it must be voluntary otherwise it can be a disaster.  Nothing wrong with those who love the idea and want to go all out. But there's also nothing wrong with those who don't want any part of it.  Give people a choice and you avoid the inevitable bad feelings.
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #6 
Our last banquet is tonight. DD18 just finished making matching tshirts for her and her little. She had two bigs when she was younger. They weren't great. And it's not the material stuff, they just weren't very friendly. DD loves being a big. It's not unusual to see her carrying her little around or helping them in the dressing room. We have occasionally forgotten the "stuff", so have they, but I think the relationships are more important than the stuff.
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MiniMom

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ours is voluntary. DD6 never met her big sis. She doesn't realize she missed out on anything (this is our first comp season). I made a half-hearted attempt to try and make an intro, but was never successful. Needless to say since our paths never crossed we never did anything for her big sis either.
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LittleMonkeyMom

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Reply with quote  #8 
We do big & little sisters -- we've done it for several years now & the kids love it.

Our DT pairs kids up & she puts a fair amount of thought into it & matches kids for very specific reasons.  My dd was matched with her little this year because it was the first year her little did a solo & dd has been doing them for several years, so she could give her little a lot of encouragement & advice.  This was dd's first year a big, and she was so excited to go backstage with her little & cheer her on from the wings -- it was very sweet!

The kids exchange a SMALL (like $5 or under) gift at each comp (we attend 4) -- nothing big.  Hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works, Candy, small stuffed animals, etc.  A lot of times the bigs give the littles a picture of the 2 of them together (in an inexpensive frame) for the last comp.  All cute, cheap & fun.  (I love the matching t-shirt idea that someone posted about -- I may steal that for next year!!!)

Overall, I think it works well, but there is definitely an extra effort that goes along with it & not everyone is consistent.  People forget & some bigs are definitely more attentive to their littles than others.  But I think the kids enjoy it & it's fun for them.

I will qualify -- we are a pretty small studio (25-30 competition dancers), which probably makes it easier than at larger places. 

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HTownDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #9 
Our studio has done this as well, we were asked who wanted to participate and like experiences here...you have some girls that put in the effort and others that did not even though they themselves added their names to the participant list.  For the past two years DD has been one of the few that had horrible luck with her "big sister"...always putting the effort and not receiving anything remotely close to even a "good luck" in return.  I've seen it work well with others, but not in our experience. We've decided to opt out from now on.
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elastigal

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Reply with quote  #10 
Our studio did a big buddy/little buddy pairing this past season too. The girl they paired my DD8 with was not the right fit for her. I don't know what they were thinking. While the big buddy is a great girl, DD really likes her, she dances hip hop and my DD dislikes hip hop, she's into ballet/jazz/lyrical, and because the big buddy only dances in that genre we never saw her at competition and we rarely saw her at the studio (she was the helper in the one mini class DD didn't take). So it just didn't work for us. DD ended up spending time with some other older dancers at the comps who dance in her preferred genres and that was way more beneficial to her. So though I think it's a great idea, thought really has to go into the pairing for it to work. Ours was fairly low commitment too, the big/little buddies only bought small ($5) Xmas gifts for the party they had before the holidays and that was it. It more supposed to be a mentor thing than a gift thing.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #11 
I wish we had something like this especially as a new mom. There is such a lack in general communication at the current place that something like this would never be followed through on. Our new place doesn't have a big/little program, but when we went for our trial class, the DT made it a point to pair her with someone who was a regular and help my girl with the new terminology (current place doesn't always use the right technical dance terms so my girl was lost). 
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birdmom

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Reply with quote  #12 
We have buddies. Older teams are paired with younger teams. They get together at the studio a few times a year and they exchange cards.  The older team gives the younger team a gift for the first competition to encourage them. 
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pixxistikk

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Reply with quote  #13 
There are many opportunities that can come out of a Big and Little Sis program...if executed and managed properly. Otherwise, there are too many unfortunate and disappointing ones to count. I would opt out of ours in the future, if given a choice.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #14 
I think they are great if done right but at DD's previous studio, it was a nightmare.  The parents saw it as 1 more thing to spend money on and more work.  All dancers on the team dance 10-20 hours per week.  So I think it's great if it goes along with the studio environment and the matching ups are done well but there's a whole lot of room for hurt feelings.
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ladybug1993

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Reply with quote  #15 
Our studio has done it for a couple years now. Last year worked well as my DD saw her big sis at least once or twice per week at the studio, so they developed a friendship that continued this year. This year my DD was paired with a senior dancer whose schedule was completely different so she never saw her...except at the Christmas party and recital rehearsal. So from experience, it can work if some thought is put to making sure big and lil sis' are partnered where they actually see each other at the studio. Can't develop a friendship with someone you don't ever see.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniMom
Ours is voluntary. DD6 never met her big sis. She doesn't realize she missed out on anything (this is our first comp season). I made a half-hearted attempt to try and make an intro, but was never successful. Needless to say since our paths never crossed we never did anything for her big sis either.


That's disappointing.  Voluntary and people still didn't put their all into it?  I'd guess that's the result of peer pressure (real or imagined).  Not wanting others to think they're cheap/not a team player if they don't do it.  So maybe a big meeting with the understanding that it is voluntary and a public statement that people should only participate if they are going to be able to follow through.. with the assurance that it's understood why it's a commitment some may not be able to make.  Set the expectations from the get go.  Either do it and do it right or don't do it at all.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #17 
Our studio doesn't do this- not because they don't want to support and build the connection between older and younger dancers but because it's contrived and can be a big success or a big disaster by trying to make it happen. When we first came I was hoping we would do it but after 6 (or 7 can't keep straight) I see why we don't. The kids do it on their own! They support each other across all ages. We just don't have to pair them up to have this happen. My girls have a "big sister" that naturally formed several years ago and our entire family adores her:. She doesn't even dance with us anymore but she's still gives them pep talks and comes to support them and loves them. So while I think maybe we felt like we were Missing something at first we've found a much more real relationship.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCKDAD
Our studio doesn't do this- not because they don't want to support and build the connection between older and younger dancers but because it's contrived and can be a big success or a big disaster by trying to make it happen. When we first came I was hoping we would do it but after 6 (or 7 can't keep straight) I see why we don't. The kids do it on their own! They support each other across all ages. We just don't have to pair them up to have this happen. My girls have a "big sister" that naturally formed several years ago and our entire family adores her:. She doesn't even dance with us anymore but she's still gives them pep talks and comes to support them and loves them. So while I think maybe we felt like we were Missing something at first we've found a much more real relationship.


I think when these things develop naturally on their own they are much more important to all involved.  We have never had the program at either studio DS danced at.  The first studio was too cut throat and everyone was too concerned about themselves to bother supporting someone else.  The second studio was smaller and the kids just developed those relationships on their own.  Most of the senior advanced company were also assistants in the younger classes so they made attachments to the kids that carried outside of the studio to comps and such.
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #19 
We do it - but I think *maybe* the age groups are too close?  I think with the first group of littles - they did it with girls who were about 4-5years older.  This seemed to make sense in many ways where girls could help one another out - in fact this year - girls who are 9 - big sis is 14/15 - they worked closely together helping with solos and other things.  Some of the group lost big sisters when they opted out of comp.

This year we have the 9/yo's being big sisters to our mini group (6-8 year olds).  This is a bit more.. well.. hmm.  This age group is hard.  When a 7 year old is nipping on the heels of a 9 year old things can get.. what is the right word.. catty.  Not mentoring at all.  Within classes though - if they are together - its' nice that they can pair up and work on things together.  That works well. 

Our big sister (DD7 big sis is 10) is great. She's very quiet but has a very nice personality.  AND.. when other  team girls were being.. rude.. to my girl, excluding her - my daughters big sis walked right over in the mix, grabbed my daughter's hand and made everything okay.  JUST what you want in a big sis!  I couldn't be more proud the big sis for stepping up.
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