Planning for the first day of the Program Year sets the whole tone for a successful year. Having a form of Rally Day, helps excite interest, promote motivation for families to attend, and create buzz for the year.
Successful “Rally Days” include volunteers, props, registration forms, well displayed possibilities, spreading the word, and excitement. Having volunteers to give directions, hand out registrations, welcome all back, help the newcomer, and share possibilities is a must. We have red balloons attached to clip boards and let people know to look for a balloon to get help. On the clip boards, have room assignments, a map, and other important information. Instruct volunteers on what to say when approached and to look for those who seem lost or confused.
Besides the balloons, we have little treats waiting in the rooms for those coming to the first day. A special snack or small gift is a wonderful way to say, “Welcome, we are so glad you are here.” I have given away bracelets (inexpensive fun option), candy with scripture, or wooden cross necklaces. The idea is to make sure the children come away feeling welcomed, loved, and wanting to return.
A registration form with pertinent contact information, allergies, special needs, and permission for pictures to be taken and used is important. I ask families to fill one form for all the children in their family every year. This enables me to double check and make sure all the information we have on file is correct. E-mails tend to change frequently. A letter explaining curriculum, what to expect, and other information should be given as a “Take Home” sheet for each class, Chapel or program.
Displaying all the options for ministry, Christian Formation, volunteer possibilities and ways to get involved is a must even for those members who are heavily involved. Have fliers for coming dates. Ideally, have a calendar of what is coming so they cna put it on their calendars. Have sign up sheets for different areas of ministry, social groups, and ways for them to get more information. Have special displays for new ministries
As Rally Day approaches, build the excitement! Have a coutdown, give “commercials”, have signs up, and encourage your congregation to invite friends. On Rally Day, remind everyone, it is not too late. Tell their friends and invite people to participate in different things happening. I, also, send all the chidlren who participated in our Vacation Bible School or other Summer Events (usually over 100 children), to come to Rally Day.
To make the day special, have a breakfast or a picnic. Look for ways to turn this day into a celebration of the coming year. The start of the Program year is a time to celebrate!
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