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Sitting on Big Bucks [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Aug. 13, 1995

If you are one of the 125 million kids who have read The Babysitters Club books, there is some good news for you. The Babysitters Club Movie opens Friday at theaters nationwide.

There’s still more good news: You and your friends can take the cue from Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and other girls who make up the Stoneybrook baby-sitter gang, and start your own baby sitters club.

More than 1,000 clubs have already popped up around the country, says Scholastic Inc., the publisher of the BSC series. Most of the chapters have four to seven members between 11 and 13 years old, and most members have been baby-sitting for one or two years.

“If the members are responsible, arrive on time, and take good care of the kids, they can make some money,” says Ann M. Martin, author of the popular books.

Martin did a lot of baby-sitting when she was growing up in Princeton, N.J. And she never got away from working with kids.

After college, she worked as a fourth-grade teacher. Then she became an editor of children’s books at Scholastic, Inc. Since she started writing this time in 1985, Martin has written more than 90 best-selling BSC series books and several BSC special editions and mysteries.

She also has written 62 tales for another series, the BSC Little Sister books.

How does she keep the stories so fresh? “Often, III get ideas from kids who write to me,” she says. “Sometimes the ideas are really good and they become stories.”

Although Martin didn’t write the screenplay for the movie, she did review the script and help pick the cast members. Melanie Mayron and stars seven young actresses who play your favorite baby sitters directed the film.

In the movie, Kristy’s dad shows up after being away for seven years. She deals with that while the Club starts a summer camp.

“It’s a really sweet movie,” Martin says. “It” a lot of humor and a lot of emotion. The movie really captures the spirit of The Baby-sitters Club.”

MARTIN’S TRICKS OF THE TRADE

• Choose officers: A club means teamwork and it helps if each person is assigned specific duties.

• Collect dues: This money will cover transportation, printing fliers and business cards, and snacks for the meetings.

• Establish fees: Pick an hourly rate that everyone will charge.

• Maintain a checklist: Write down the names of all the people you baby-sit for, their phone numbers and their kids’ names, ages and birthdays.

• Keep an appointment book: So no one in the club ever misses a baby-sitting job.

• Advertise: Print fliers about your service and have members distribute them at their doctors’ offices, the dentist, supermarket and children’s stores.

• Record your earnings: It’s fun to see the profits roll in!

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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