Poetry and Waving is the post for this week! I have two basic ideas that will help you with programming and customer service. If you have made it this far into 2020 serving kids and families, I send a huge thank you. A majority of my posts involve active games, but you need to have a balance of active and non-active in your programming or play book. I like to call programming a play book, because this is how you will attack the day. Some days call for different plays, it may be because of the cold/rainy weather, it could be you are down a staff member, it could be super nice outside, so many variables.
So lets dive into the first play call, Poetry. Many of your campers may not be gifted athletically, but they may be in writing. Teach them about poetry! I am not good at poetry, I think I remember writing a limerick when I was in school, but that is about it. If you are like me, this doesn’t mean you don’t add this programming into your program because you don’t like it or have no idea on where to begin. First, start with finding a staff member that is good or likes this. If you still can’t find someone, check with your older campers and see if they want to lead it with your guidance to the younger campers. Teach them about all the different kinds of poems that you can create. One website that is a good resource is https://www.poetry4kids.com/poems/. You can find many resources just searching around. Once you have given some guidance and instruction, have the kids choose a style of poem and put it on a Poetree or PoetChristmasTree. That is a play on words if you are still confused! This is a great way to show off the poem to the other campers. If you are using a YMCA, school or church, a great way for other teachers, members, and the community to see their work. This will give them a since of pride. As someone involved in youth programming, getting them practice outside the classroom adds even more value to your After School program if the conversation comes up of “What do you do there?’ or “Should we keep the After School program”. Show your parents, kids, and community that you are more than just playing dodgeball, playground, or tag games!
Waving at your kids, parents, and anyone in your program is the next play call! You may say, I already do this, waving is easy. But do you really practice it? Since we are wearing masks, and it looks like we will continue to do this for a little while longer, you just can’t smile through the mask. Teach your staff how to wave enthusiastically, come up with their own wave, or even find another partner and tag team the wave. Customer service is key right now. With the pandemic, I think about customer service in youth programs as their mental health. Everyone is stressed, your fun wave could change their whole day. Think about that, just you being enthusiastic with your wave could make their day. First impressions make or break you too. You may have someone new trying this out, and this could sell them to your program. Put on a fun costume, use themes, use music as you are putting them into their cars. Create the “Disney” experience without the “Disney” budget!
I hope this post helps! Check the Resource Zone for more fun ideas to make your program 1 percent better.