In the Good Ol’ Summer Time

June 6th, 2007 by bebersghost

I’m always astonished when I talk to advisors and members of other organizations like USY and FTY – how they talk about the end of the programming year and the summer break. For them vacation seems to include vacation from youth group activities as well.

Remarkably, it happens in many BBYO chapters as well.

If you’ve studied basic physics you probably heard about conservation of momentum – that once things are moving they tend to keep moving. Or put another way, it’s a lot easier to keep something rolling along than to stop it and restart it.

So it goes with chapters as well.

How can you achieve growth and momentum if you stop activities during the summer? Each fall then begins a whole new process of rebuilding and restarting. It’s often weeks or months before you’re back to where you were the previous spring. How crazy is that?

The best chapters look at summer as an opportunity. Event turnouts may get smaller as people travel and go on vacation, but that allows for different kinds of events, perhaps a bit more spontaneity. An event may consist of just an advisor and a few Alephs, but that can turn out great because with a small group it’s often easier to come to a decision and take advantage of cool opportunities that come along. Summer is a great time for campouts, swim parties, and chapter trips near or far. Summer allows you to do things that aren’t possible during weekends, like do factory tours that are only open weekdays.

Summer is a great time to start recruiting for fall, to invite prospectives to join in on some fun and laid-back programs. It’s a great time to work on planning some bigger programs for later in the year – the kind of programs that take time and advance planning.

Best of all, when fall comes around instead of having to struggle to “restart” the chapter, track down members and get them to start showing up again, your chapter will already be operating smoothly – momentum will be your friend instead of your enemy.

So have a great summer, and have a great BBYO summer – not just with summer programs, but with your chapter as well.

One Response to “In the Good Ol’ Summer Time”

  1. Westerner Says:

    After my first international program, it shocked me to learn that I was hard pressed to find one region/council who’s chapters programmed over the summer. Of all of the differences between my home region and the others in the order, the lack of summer programming stuck out the most in my mind. I’m sure there are other regions who program over the summer, but all of the friends I made from DC Council, one of the strongest councils in the order, told me a similar story: They shut down during the summer and so does pretty much every other region they know.

    All of the reasons given to me when I inquired as to why they shut down were pretty worthless; considering that my chapter which is less than half the size of the chapter of one of my friends from DC, we don’t deal with any difficulties with summer programming save the occasional issue of high board being on vacation at the same time; even then we just use a more relaxed event and lower board does a fine job at keeping things alive in such circumstances.

    The benefits of summer programming are immense: Keeping momentum alive, as you said, and providing more events for members and perspectives. Recruitment doesn’t need to halt for half the year; utilizing the summer for recruitment is a fantastic tool.

    Most importantly to myself, summer programming provides more time with my brothers. It didn’t take me long to realize that AZA is something more powerful than I’ve ever been a part of before and possibly will ever be a part of, and I can’t imagine having less time to spend with my brothers than the short four(maybe five if I dream big, right?) years I’m given.

    I don’t understand how regions/councils that are as strong or even stronger than my own simply shut down over the summer: It truly isn’t difficult and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to. I don’t know if summer programming is ever going to be something that becomes more prevelant throughout the order, but it certainly is an incredibly useful asset that I feel a good majority of the international order is missing out on.

    Maybe I’m horribly misinformed, and more people do summer programming than I think. Regardless, I think you bring up an incredibly important point about shutting down for the summer, and as someone who has served as a S’gan during the summer I can say from experience it isn’t a herculean task to get the chapter to operate during the summer. In fact, it isn’t really much different at all than during the winter.

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