Most youth programs have a major event sometime throughout the year. Maybe it is a Fall Weekend, a fundraiser dinner, a conference, a big training or a week long Summer Camp. These experiences are often the pinnacle of the year for volunteers, staff and the youth you work with. It is ‘THE’ event you want youth to attend. Youth leave these events charged up, equipped, and ready for what is next. Yet, programs often fall short in the follow-up. The momentum of these “mountain-top” experiences can do amazing things for your group if you allow them too. Here are a few ideas to keep the momentum going and leverage them in your programs.
Post Event Meetings should be scheduled even before you host you big event. These events help youth continue to form the connections they made at camp, at the conference, or when you went somewhere for the weekend. Challenge them on what they learned while away and what they are doing with the new information. Make sure to invite ALL youth, not just those who were able to attend your event. Make it a celebration!
In leverage the “mountain top” experience you can use it to help recruit new youth and build some hype and energy around your program. Get on social media and like all of the youths videos and pictures of them at camp. Use it to build conversations, tag new youth, and even as promotions. Have a contest for the best recap video, and use that video to promote camp for the next year. That video can also go to youth who were not able to attend and families so that they can stay in the loop.
Using the momentum of these BIG events can also help you to create some changes. We were able to create camp as a “vision” of what we want regular meetings to be. Coming off a first camp with youth, we were able to shift some culture things that needed to change based off the trust, fun, and relationships that were built at camp. Using this trust to make a shift in culture with the positive things in mind can be a great strategy.
Post-event strategies are vital to continue with the momentum and energy created during your event. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with youth, families, volunteers and staff to bring the energy of these BIG experiences into the daily grind of your programs.