The end is near… or should it be first in planning?
I helped our Student Leaders organize and run a successful Hay Ride this previous weekend. It was a huge success due to some common goals…
Student Leader goals…. everyone has a job (responsibility) that takes place prior and during the event, everyone connected to a new out of their hang out group, everyone felt good about it.
My goals… the Student Leaders would have a win, with some growth opportunities, we could attract new students, we could have a fun safe night, people went away with a smile on their face.
One thing that made this succeed was pre-planning , the event has been running for about 15 years, of which 7 have been under my leadership. We talked about it two months ahead of time at our monthly leadership meetings. We had some time to process and put the right things in place.
But we started with the end in mind.
We took our schedule and worked backwards from everyone leaving to everyone arriving and so on. It was a different approach (tool) for the students to consider, because we have always began and ran it in order of start to finish. Staring at the end will give you a concrete finish and we all know there is a static start time (depending on if your students arrive fashionably late… like mine). It offered our students some open ended questions…
1. what time do we need to be done for rides etc.?
2. What experience do you want to send with them? you know.. happy, connected etc…
3. What will you give them when they leave? Do you have prizes etc.
4. How will you follow up with them, letting them know you are glad they came etc…
I could list several more but you get the point.
I know we will vary the approach and communication in running special events.
We follow up every special event with a debriefing time at our next student leader meeting… this weekend.
I, as the main leader, will facilitate the conversations… some questions I will ask each person is:
1. What was the big win for you?
2. How can we improve next year?
3. I will talk about some tweaks…. for example.. a couple of student leaders didn’t move groups much, we didn’t plan for a dark hayride.. one person (a high schooler) filled out a welcome form and didn’t put his address down.. cant do follow up without an address… how will we deal with that in the future? I will add questions based on the conversations too.
I know our goals was to introduce students to our ministry, to have a big win for the Student Leaders and finally to get students who generally meet in small groups into a large organized event.