After School Staff Engagement Leads To Quality Programming

I have come up with several different new programs and activities that I like to place staff in charge of. It has been my experience that when the staff are more involved in the development of a program, it runs smoother and the staff enjoy their jobs more. Below is a list of programs that you can delegate to your staff. Even though times are still crazy, all of these ideas can be used during COVID-19 or when it is gone. Don’t let the virus and limitations you may have hold you back from allowing your staff to have some creative control of the program. The kids and staff need variety and a fun place to spend their time.

  1. After School Sports Clinics (Leagues): Set up skill clinics on Tuesdays/Thursdays or a time during the week that the kids can focus on skill development and a certain sport. Soccer, Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, etc..When the virus goes away, move into sports leagues. Put the kids on teams and have them play each other. The champion could travel to another program to play their team. Find the staff that loves sports and put them in charge. If you have a soccer player on staff, start with soccer clinics!
  2. Junior Counselors: Once a week have the 4th/5th graders that are interested be Junior Counselors. A Junior Counselor is someone that can help with the day to day of the program. Snack, Rides Out, Cleaning, Reading Buddy to K/1st grader, etc…Delegate a staff to lead this. It could be someone on staff that is on student council or someone that loves leadership or coaching others.
  3. Wacky Wednesday: Have the staff and campers dress up on Wednesdays. Make an incentive to dress up, have games align to the theme, and plan them in advance so the parents know what to expect. Put a staff member in charge that has tons of enthusiasm/creativity. Have them plan out the monthly calendar and themes. If every Wednesday is too much, do it two times a month. You can create your own design, let the staff member have freedom.
  4. Friday FUNday: This will be a chance for the kids to choose what they want to do. Give them a few fun choices and let them decide. Find a staff member that loves to be organized, maybe someone that is a veteran staff. They can program the Friday’s and will be great training for them if they want to be an office manager or site coordinator one day. Save your movies, playground, video games, open gym time for this day. Have the kids look forward to this day of the week!
  5. Staff Social Outings: It is important to have staff bonding time. Find a staff that is great at bringing people together. The staff in charge of this will come up with something to do once or twice a month together after work or on a weekend. Make it creative, cost effective, and fun. Have the person create a calendar of events for the semester. This staff member can also plan fun things into the monthly staff meeting. Games, ice breakers, food, etc…

When the staff are empowered, you will see quality programming inside your program. They are energized and excited to come to work. When they are part of the planning, they feel the pressure of showing up and giving the kids an amazing experience each day. That should never fall just on one person. I have listed this in the Resource Zone in the “Staff Training” section on my website.

“Its not the tools you have faith in, tools are just tools, they work, or they don’t work. It’s the people you have faith in or not.” Steve Jobs

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