One or two things are probably happening for you right now. You are wrapping up your summer program and/or you are getting ready for the fall. It’s not that these two functions are mutually exclusive. Just like we get ready for summer during the program year, we can certainly get ready for the school year during summer programming. I suppose there is a third thing that you could be doing as well—you could be taking a much needed vacation. No matter what you’re doing, the school year is looming and you will have another opportunity to provide a phenomenal program for youth.
This year when you are planning, when you set your goals, share them with everyone. Be open to receiving both input and feedback and crafting those goals to capture what you most want to accomplish during the 2013-2014 school year. Remember setting 1-3 goals is plenty. Usually when we set too many goals we are either setting our program up for failure, or we are confusing goals with a one-time project or item on a task list. Goals should be broad enough to work on all year (sometimes even more than one year) and have clear benchmarks and signposts so you know you are on your way.
Also as you plan for the year, consider all of the logistics of your program and be sure that any revisions that were identified last year when you reviewed forms and procedures with your staff to determine what was working and what wasn’t, have been made and are in place. It will be easier to implement changes at the beginning of the year and doing so will let your staff know that you paid attention to their recommendations.
Another thing you might want to do while planning is to think of at least one thing that you can do in program this year that is unique or different from what you did last year. If you are fortunate enough to have a lot of youth who are returning to your program you know that you have some components that are appealing to them, but one or two new activities can keep them interested and excited as well.
Let us know what you are planning for next year. We would love to highlight it on the C4k website under Frontline Staff. Send us your thoughts–firstname.lastname@example.org