by Tammy Echevarria, Upper Dublin Township Parks & Recreation
As one season comes to an end and the next approaches, we have the opportunity to take a look at what can be changed or modified in our lives. The same is the case in our programs and events. Sometimes the old “tried and true” actually becomes, “tired and tested.” The start of each program planning season leaves opportunities to make necessary or desired adjustments.
Program facelifts should be refreshing. The process may seem daunting at first. The most important first step is to take one step at a time. Take an honest look at the program and its history. There are many layers to what may be necessary, desired or imagined. All of these factors must be considered.
A program facelift should be considered based on a variety of factors, including, longevity, attendance, timing, budget, staffing, location and interest, just to name a few. Remove the idea of, “it’s the way it’s always been done” from your evaluation.
First, create a program grid. Example could be:
Next, consider the factors that cannot be changed. Incorporate them in your plan.
Then, take a look at the program’s history and incorporate that info into your grid. Some programs need an immediate overhaul, based on success. Instead of scrapping a new program based on low attendance, review the above factors and see if one or a combination need or can be adjusted. An older program, with declining attendance or interest (including staff interest), may need something as simple as a new theme, then plan from there. How about a location change? Sponsorship opportunity? Volunteers? Accessibility? Transportation?
In your comment box, indicate any comments, concerns, changes, etc. that have been suggested. Can a facet of it be considered? What value does it have? Does it bring “new life” to the program? Who is making the suggestion?
Finally, identify what can be or possibly even what should be changed. Do not spend a lot of time evaluating aspects that do not affect the content of the program, such as, logos, giveaways, etc. Concentrate your efforts on the core of your success.
An example of an event we gave a facelift to, The Storybook Eggstravanza. An indoor springtime event offered for 30+ years on the Friday evening prior to Palm Sunday. It became increasingly difficult to staff, numbers declined slightly, budget increased and frankly the title no longer “made sense” to the current staff. We changed the title to The Bunny Hop and took the “show on the road.” The program now takes place on a Saturday afternoon and participants drive around the area (with the guidance of maps and clues) to 10 local parks and partners. At each location they receive a prize. Numbers were higher than ever, sponsors came to us, instead of us going to them, neighborhood parks were visited, that may not have been known and staff became energized again!
Take a look and see what possibilities are waiting for your next program season!