Guys, I cannot even believe the words that are coming out of my mouth...
Summer is coming.
Summer is coming!
I found myself, during Spring Break, attempting to organize everything for the summer. In my opinion, the key to a successful summer is organization. What do I mean by this? Basically, my advice is to follow these steps: Choose a theme.
Decide on a Theme
You might be thinking, why Bran Bran? What is the point? Well, in my experience themes are such a great starting point! You have something that can guide your ideas and make them cohesive. This year, all four Clubs in Springfield will be using the theme "Make Your Mark." The summer will focus on empowering members to make a difference in their lives, Club, community, and the world. The programs, activities, field trips, events, etc. relate to this theme in one way or another. For example, there will be two large service projects where members understand the importance of civic engagement. Color Wars competitions will include food and clothing drives. Guest speakers will visit the Clubs to empower members to understand their full potential. members will take field trips to local parks for clean-ups and to soup kitchens.
How do you plan to get members for your program? Have you reached out to schools? Have you created fun marketing materials that can stand out? Have you attended summer program events to show off everything your Club can offer?
What programs do you want to run this summer? What programs will best serve your members? What programs do you HAVE to run? see this handy dandy template to get your program process started!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to start this process now if you haven't already. Places fill up during the summer, get more expensive, etc. Make sure you have some opportunities for members that they won't forget. You could also find some free field trips such as trips to the park, college tours, or utilize any connections you have with your Board.
The summer is such a special time to provide meaningful experiences for members. Outside of traditional programming or activities, Club experiences are often things members will remember for a long time. Below are some examples of what I mean:
Host a weekly event like Color Wars
Color Wars won't work for everyone, but I promise it is one of the most meaningful experiences members have at our Club. They look forward to it every week.
Given my role as Director of Programs and Unit Director, my time and interaction with members is limited. It is important to me to ensure members know they are important and I care about them. Thus, I developed the superhero hour where members get put on my list to hang out in my office for a period of time. They will sit at my table and color, build, play, etc. even though i am not able to fully interact with them as there is still a Club with 225 members I have to manage, just their time in my office is meaningful for them...and me. Use this template if the idea works for you. I laminate it and use an Expo marker to add new members to each day. I will also write CLOSED if there is a day I cannot meet. I get asked several times if members can come in and spend time in the office.
Peer to Peer Mentoring
Often, members desire one on one time. They like attention and who can blame them? Becasue finding quality adult mentors is often difficult, we have developed a program called Peer to Peer Mentoing where older Club members pair up with younger Club members. They particiapte in events, activties, and more. Younger members have an ally and role model while older members have a purpose and a chance to display their leadership abilities. Stay tuned for a blog post soley about Peer to Peer including program plans!
What big events are you hosting this summer? How do you plan to implement them? Are you inviting guests? Use this big event checklist to stay on track! Also, feel free to host a Julius Lott Youth for Unity Day with us on July 14th!
Click here for a sample summer schedule for K-5.
Click here for a sample summer schedule for a traditional Unit.
Click here for a sample area program schedule.
What are you major goals for the summer? What are your staff members' goals? Some goals might be related to:
Average Daily Attendance
Staff Leadership opportunities
Increasing NYOI Scores
Put ideas on paper.
I recently read an article that talked about the creative process. It talked about the importance of putting ideas on paper (actually writing them). It helps you fully participate in the creative process and helps you stay organized!
Start creating your calendars.
Put all important information on your Club calendars. If you don't already have one, you should! You can put field trips, big events, program times, themes, and more. This helps members, staff, and families stay on the same page! Here are some samples from last year!
Click here for a calendar sample done in Publisher
Click here for a sample field trip list
Schools: give schools marketing materials. It is helpful to make links about summer learning loss prevention!
Staff: Make sure staff members are all on the same page about what summer will look like to ensure effective implementation and communication.
Parents: Make sure parents know what it going on and how you are impacting their kids this summer.
Get ready to change the world!